The Middle Years: Father’s Day

Worship Service for Father’s Day 2017


Reading: Accident, Mass Ave.

By Jill McDonough


I stopped at a red light on Mass. Ave.

in Boston, a couple blocks away

from the bridge, and a woman in a beat-up

old Buick backed into me. Like, cranked her wheel,

rammed right into my side. I drove a Chevy

pickup truck. It being Boston, I got out

of the car yelling, swearing at this woman,

a little woman, whose first language was not English.

But she lived and drove in Boston, too, so she knew,

we both knew, that the thing to do

is get out of the car, slam the door

as hard as you f…king can and yell things like What the f…k

were you thinking? You f…king blind? What the f…k

is going on? Jesus Christ! So we swore

at each other with perfect posture, unnaturally angled

chins. I threw my arms around, sudden

jerking motions with my whole arms, the backs

of my hands toward where she had hit my truck.


But she hadn’t hit my truck. She hit

the tire; no damage done. Her car

was fine, too. We saw this while

we were yelling, and then we were stuck.

The next line in our little drama should have been

Look at this f…king dent! I’m not paying for this

s…t. I’m calling the cops, lady. Maybe we’d throw in a

You’re in big trouble, sister, or I just hope for your sake

there’s nothing wrong with my f…king suspension, that

sort of thing. But there was no f…king dent. There

was nothing else for us to do. So I

stopped yelling, and she looked at the tire she’d

backed into, her little eyebrows pursed

and worried. She was clearly in the wrong, I was enormous,

and I’d been acting as if I’d like to hit her. So I said


Well, there’s nothing wrong with my car, nothing wrong

with your car . . . are you OK? She nodded, and started

to cry, so I put my arms around her and I held her, middle

of the street, Mass. Ave., Boston, a couple blocks from the bridge.

I hugged her, and I said We were scared, weren’t we?

and she nodded and we laughed.


Jill McDonough, “Accident, Mass. Ave.” from Where You Live. Copyright © 2012 by Jill McDonough.