Another gray sky and the lightest of snow flurries today. Not too cold, though.
Yesterday's BIG DAY south of town encompassed our final gift shopping push during the morning, a nice lunch, the successful installation of a permanent cap for Myladlove's tooth in the afternoon, followed by a bit more gift shopping to pick up a few extra items.
Our adventure began as we were heading home. Myladyove thought she'd like to have a cappuccino to sip during the drive.
"How about a peppermint milkshake instead? I suggested.
Myladylove agreed that sounded even better. I took a route that would pass by a dairy store before we hopped onto the Interstate. Along the way we stopped to fill the Jeep's tank with gas. Then I started to pull out from the gas station—WHOA! NO BRAKES! The brake pedal went straight to the floor.
Using the handbrake and a lot of care, I managed to get us into a big parking lot across the street. Now what? It was after 7:00 p.m., dark, cold, and we were twenty-some miles from home in a broken down vehicle filled with Christmas packages.
Myladylove has always been employed in banking or financial sales, and in recent years has served as a financial officer for an auto retailer who owns about a dozen dealerships in the area. She wanted the mechanics at the store where she works to do the repairs. That was a dozen miles farther north than our cottage—though it was obvious, one way or the other, the Jeep had to go to a garage. I felt I could possibly make it that far using the handbrake, but no matter which route I chose, I'd have to pass through most of the downtown…I'd have to be really careful.
I decided I at least needed a rear guard for such a journey—someone to add an extra layer of rearward protection, and also to serve as an escape hatch should the undertaking prove too perilous and we had to park the Jeep and call a tow truck. Too, there was the matter of getting home from the garage after we dropped the car off. I called fellow-father-in-law Rich (his son, my daughter) who answered straightaway and agreed without hesitation to do whatever necessary to help work things out and see us safely home. This even though Rich lives in a small town several miles south of where we now sat stranded, and the opposite direction from where we needed to go.
How do you put a value on such things? Friends are simply priceless.
About the time Rich arrived to act as escort, Myladylove decided to call one of her company's vice presidents to say we might drop the Jeep off at one the other network dealerships should we decide we couldn't make it to her home store.
"Why don't you take it to Recon?" the fellow asked, referring to the big facility where all used vehicles the company takes in, though trade-ins at it's new-car dealerships, are first checked, and put in tip-top mechanical shape before being offered for sale. The best part was that this Recon operation was only a couple of miles away, down a road with few lights or stop signs, and not all that much traffic late on a weeknight. "You'll need a car to get home in, right?" the V.P. added. "I'll call and they'll have a one waiting, plus I'll tell them to look at your Jeep first thing in the morning—and repair it as soon as they can. Keep the loaner until yours gets fixed."
And so we made the much shorter driver, Rich following. There Myladylove found a nearly new Hyundai Santa Fe waiting. We loaded our bags into the borrowed vehicle, thanked Rich profusely, and set out home.
Call it providence or luck, if you will—but I believe it was God's protection. As it turns out, a brake line had ruptured, apparently when I stopped at the gas station's pump. It's almost too scary to contemplate what could have happened if we'd have been on the Interstate, zipping along at 70 mph…or if Myladylove had been driving the icy backroads to work this morning.
What could have ended in tragedy became barely an inconvenience. I'm so thankful for our safety, and grateful for those acts of friendship and genuine Christmas spirit so warmly extended.