An axe handle bouncing off your head and hitting the dashboard will make you realize maybe some promises shouldn't be kept, or even made.
And the sight of an anvil flying through the air, regardless of the circumstances, is just plain amazing, if not downright cool.
Sunday's ice storm pealed what is likely the death-knell for my beloved pickup, Little Red. A patch of ice on N.C. 242 decided that 30 or so miles per hour was still too fast, and sent the truck spinning, twisting, turning and bouncing nose-first into a canal.
I did like I was supposed to when the skid started-I gently steered into it. I never touched the brakes. I applied a tiny amount of power here and there, but it was all to no avail.
Little Red had a date with destiny, and that destiny was in a fast-flowing half-frozen canal.
I had promised to do a blacksmith program Sunday afternoon, despite the threatening weather. Elsewise I'd never have left home, not being a big fan of bad-weather driving.
This was not Little Red's first bad storm-I'd been driving her but a few days when last year's big ice storm hit.
Still, she came through it nicely, and Little Red was, for a while, content to run back and forth between Elizabethtown and home everyday, with plenty of side trips to wherever the news called and I had to answer.
When Miss Rhonda needed a new vehicle this summer, I started driving her old one, putting Little Red on standby.
Little Red seemed to tolerate commuting, but she was most comfortable playing or working around the house.
I have never really been a fan of small trucks, but I admit there were places that my S-10 could go much easier than either of the full-sized cargo-carriers at home.
Where Old Blue's weight made her cumbersome across a fresh-cut cornfield full of doves, Little Red could scoot nicely down roads little better than a deer trail.
The back was just large enough for the blacksmithing gear to be tucked in tightly, and one could carry a prodigious amount of fishing gear in the bed.
And on top of that, my beloved wife was one of not a few women who considered Little Red "cute."
While I am not a fan of "cute" vehicles, I had grown to love my little truck.
Even when I slid out the door into the waist-deep water of that icy cold canal, and saw a half-ton of coal, iron and tools scattered on both sides of said canal, I still loved my little truck.
While I gathered what I could find of my scattered and shattered gear, I was pondering the sad fate of my little truck, her tail stuck nearly straight up into the air, a most undignified position for any lady, even one as temperamental as Little Red.
A passerby-whose name I never got, but whom I must thank again, right here-called 911. Had he been a few minutes sooner, I fear our vehicles would have met, and I wouldn't be writing these words right now.
It's interesting to me how circumstances can cause people not to recognize someone. Fire and rescue volunteers from Ammon Fire Department were there within minutes, and they couldn't begin to associate this homeless-looking fellow with the man from the newspaper.
Again, I missed most of their names, but they were both helpful and solicitous, and I thank them. The heater in that fire truck was a grand thing.
Trooper Scott Floyd was another who didn't recognize me, but even before he realized we'd met at a dozen or more similar wrecks, he was the type of trooper all should strive to be (and most are). He was courteous, professional and genuinely concerned about the fact I was wet, frozen and stranded.
The third band of my personal heroes that day were Lee Reason and his crew from Ace Towing. Through all kinds of complicated machinations involving a four-wheel drive, hooks, chains, cables, a wrecker, and brute strength, they hauled Little Red out of the canal to the side of the road.
"Might not be so bad," Lee said. "See if it'll start," Roy offered.
After we broke the bent hood open, she cranked immediately, but with a grinding noise like all the V6 engines in the world howling in anguish. The tormented wail was solved with a few turns of a screwdriver.
Then Lee presented me with the big question:
"What do you want to do with it?"
I thought, briefly, of those sad wrecks lying in rusting heaps in wrecker-yards, reminders of other roads and storms where vehicles went spinning into a ditch, often with less happy results than my own.
She deserved something better than that, a more honorable finish.
"I reckon I'll drive her home," I said. And I did.
When I could finally see her in daylight-my aching head, good leg, bad leg, and bad shoulder, all swollen and stiff-I realized, sadly, that Little Red had probably made her last run.
No more flying down the highway to cover a wreck. No more fishing trips. No more Saturday errands, with Biscuit's head hanging out the window. No more using a screwdriver to get a cassette out of the player, since one can only listen to "I am a man of constant sorrow" so many times.
And hopefully, no more anvils flying through the air.
Alas, Little Red, I knew ye well. You will be missed, but I fear you have gone to your last wreck.