Adriana Zoder: Thanks to those kind people on the trail

Mar. 08, 2014 @ 11:38 PM

Spring may still be a month away, but, just like the tourists, we take advantage of every sunny day sandwiched between cloudy, rainy days. One sunny February day, I took my children and their bikes to the Gatlinburg Trail.

I did not think I demonstrated courage with this activity until somebody on the trail made the comment that I was a “brave little mommy” to do “all this” by myself. If taking two children and their bikes on a hiking trail makes me brave, I wonder what we would call Martha Ogle by today’s standards.

Mrs. Ogle brought her seven children across the mountain to settle in the “Promised Land” described by her deceased husband. Tough? Strong–willed?

I’m afraid some people might even call her “crazy.”

While the comment that I was brave made me feel good, does it say anything about how soft we have become as a nation? How much we treasure our conveniences and creature comforts? Would that explain the American obesity rate to an extent? I digress.

It turns out, I did need courage that afternoon, as my daughter wiped out going downhill, on the way back. I suppose the helmet helped a bit, but only a bit. She went down face first. The areas above and below her lips got skinned. Both her lips were bleeding.

Thankfully and, I would say, providentially, the accident happened just as we crossed paths with a family who worked in the medical field. She was a nurse and he used to serve as a medic in the Navy. He produced bottled water and a full medical kit out of his backpack. He cleaned my daughter’s mouth area, stopped the bleeding, and applied Neosporin. He assessed she would not need stitches.

The accident happened 10 feet in front of me. My son, biking a bit ahead of us, did not see it. He disappeared out of sight around the bend.

While comforting my daughter, I wondered out loud about how far my son would have gotten by now. “We sent our teenage son to get him to come back here,” they replied.

I did not know how to thank them, besides saying “thank you” several times. So I am writing here, in the off chance they might read this column. They were in the right place, at the right time. They came prepared, too.

I travel with a small medical kit in the car, but not on the trail. That day, I learned a big lesson. Even if I don’t need it, somebody else might.

The other people who helped me that day, and to whom I also would like to extend my gratitude, are a couple from Crossville. They saw the accident happen. Since they were going in the same direction, they helped push my daughter’s small bike while I carried her.

The husband towered over the small bicycle. You know how hard it is to walk hunched over a small bike, especially if you are a tall person. Yet he did it with grace and a smile. The wife and I talked about what they experience as empty nesters.

That day, I took heart that there are still good people in the world, willing to help and encourage somebody in need. For that, I am truly grateful.

Adriana Zoder, a Gatlinburg resident, is a writer and homeschooling mom. She and her husband have two children. She maintains the award-winning blog www.homeschoolways.com. Her book, “101 Tips for Preschool at Home,” is available on Amazon.