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22 July 2005

Don't Drive Faster Than Your Guardian Dragonfly

Patt Harris models her dragonfly blouse following her morning escort to safety.

By Al Harris
News Bureau

"Don't drive faster than your guardian angel can fly," goes the old saying, which apparently pertains to dragonflies as well as angels.

My wife Patt recounted how a dragonfly helped avert a car accident this morning when she decided to drive slower than the posted speed limit to avoid hitting the golden-winged Anisoptera, which insistently remained in front of her Crown Vic as she traveled down Church Avenue toward Mountain Street.

"When I turned onto Church, the dragonfly swooped down and centered itself above the hood of my car as if it were guided by laser," she said. "Dragonflies being one of my favorite insects, I was not about to go fast enough to hit it. It was bizarre; it moved with the car and stopped and hovered in sync with the motion of the car -- it was like having a living, flying hood ornament.

"This was one of the most beautiful dragonflies I've seen -- it was a big, fat adult with at least a three-inch wingspan with gold-shimmering wings. I was totally engrossed in its unusual behavior as I slowly made my way down Church, and it was a good thing, too. A woman driving a full-sized van and talking on a cell phone ran the stop sign — really just zoomed on across without slowing a bit — at the intersection of Church and Mountain. Had it not been for this dragonfly, I almost certainly would have been right there in the middle of the intersection," she said.

The near-mishap did not interfere with the insect's escort duties.

"That dragonfly remained with me, in front of the car, all the way down Church and then right on to the Wal-Mart parking lot," she said. Total distance from the beginning of escort duty to the parking lot was about three miles.

"After I parked, I opened my door and the dragonfly turned and hovered right in front of my face. My father was a pilot, and I've seen pilots waggle their wings as a signal to one another. The dragonfly waggled its wings as if saying good-bye.

"I turned to head toward Wal-Mart and spotted a couple of people who had been watching me and that dragonfly intently, so there were at least two witnesses to the end of the story. Had they known the whole story they would have been even more surprised," she said.

"Someone who doesn't know me — I don't tell stories at all — might chuckle and say, yeah, right, that's a good story but that's all it is. It doesn't matter if they believe it -- I know I was escorted to safety by a dragonfly."

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