Friday, December 18, 2009

Face the Predestination

Every now and again, I drive down Old Harford Rd and pass the scene where a county police, on his way to work in October, was killed on his motorcycle. Officer Jeffrey Neral was cruising along southbound when a woman, 26 years of age, pulled out of a church parking lot on his right and cut him off. Despite the heroic efforts of paramedics, he died a short time later.

And every time I drive that stretch of road now, I think about what he was thinking as he rode along that day. Getting to work...what sort of calls would he have that night...what's for dinner...somebody's birthday coming up...Ravens play today...leaves are changing and it's so pretty outside...and then, nothing.

On Wednesday around lunchtime, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry was embroiled in some sort of domestic dispute with his girlfriend. She got in a pickup truck and raced off down the road, but not before Chris jumped into the bed of the pickup. And then, as the police report put it, at some point he came out of the truck bed and struck the roadway. He lived until Thursday morning and died at dawn at 26 years of age.

Chris Henry was a troubled soul in earlier days who had been arrested almost ten times over the years for various offenses, but he had seemingly turned things around this season. It was reported that he came to training camp in the best condition ever, had worked hard all season long and had done well, only to have his season end in November when he broke his arm during a game with the Ravens. His life has ended here in December in a tragic traffic accident.

Officer Neral upheld the law for 17 years in Baltimore County with an unblemished service record, only to have his life end in a tragic traffic accident.

Chris Henry. Jeffrey Neral. Both dead in the same autumn, although neither of them ought to have been considered to be in the autumn of their lives. It comes for us all, sometimes with no warning - quite often with no warning - and if we take anything from these two losses, we might surmise that fate doesn't care who you are or how much fame or money you have. Please be careful this holiday season. I don't want to lose you too.

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