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The Manhole

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Back in the ‘80s, before the days of cell phones that you can use as cameras, I drove my car into a manhole. It was Halloween and I was dressed in costume as Lady Godiva. I was living in Black Hawk in the mountains of Colorado. It was a very fun small town, where everyone knew everyone else’s business, of course, and I was taking a medical class in Denver. It was a long commute and my old beat-up station wagon was not fit for the long haul through the canyon. Nor was it safe in the snow. My friend Paul, who long since passed away, used to let me use his jeep to take on school days and I’d take him the wagon to use while I was gone. This particular Halloween we were all dressing up at school. I was looking forward to it.

That morning, as I was driving the car from Black Hawk into Central City (just up the hill) to get the jeep, I did not notice the open manhole when I arrived and I drove right into it, head first. There were no road cones around it. The whole town, including Paul (who worked as a gunslinger in one of the great Central City bars), heard the noise it created and they all came out of their place of employment to see what happened. And they saw that it was me. In a manhole. With my car. “Are we having a bad day Caroline? You on your way to school?” Paul saw what all the commotion was about. Thankful that no one was taking pictures for the weekly paper, I meagerly asked Paul if he would still loan me the jeep. “Of course,” he said. Thanks to Paul, I never missed school. The incident with the manhole was the talk of the town for a while. Everyone got a good laugh out of it. Well, someone did get a picture, of me, my costume, my car, and the manhole. It made the paper after all.


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