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A nightmare pays me a scary visit every Halloween

Richard Carter | 10/12/2012, 4:17 p.m.
Colony Records was my place for original Black R&B

Back in town a few hours later-following a pleasant, productive day in the Motor City-I called my office as usual for messages. What I heard in the next minute or so made my whole life flash before my eyes.

"Oh, Dick," came my secretary's excited greeting, "your wife was worried sick. She called as soon as she heard, and I told her it was alright. That you weren't on the plane."

"What are you talking about?" I gasped.

"You haven't heard about the commuter airline crash?" she said.

"Crash? A commuter plane crashed?" I blurted out.

"It sure did," she replied. "The same flight you were originally going to take. The one you usually take. Plunged through the ice in Lake Erie about nine minutes after takeoff. Nine dead. Seven passengers and two crew. No survivors."

For one of the few times in my life, I was speechless. I was dumbfounded. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for what I was hearing.

"Dick, are you still there?' she said.

"Yes, I'm here. But I can't believe it."

When I got home, my wife burst into tears as I walked in the door. The next thing I knew, I was also crying. We both knew that someone up there liked me on that day.

The following day, the plane crash was a huge story in the newspapers of both cities. People at the office couldn't stop talking about it. The women gave me big hugs and the men gave me hearty handshakes.

Even now, all these years later, I have a hard time believing it. How close I came. And I think about this every year. Not on Jan. 28 for some reason. But on, or around, Oct. 31. Halloween. Fright night. And I've never figured out why.

For some reason, it's become an annual nightmare for me-proving that truth can be stranger than fiction. Happy Halloween, y'all.