Friday, April 17, 2009

"You Will Entertain Angels Unaware"

I've done a lot of highly self-destructive, dangerous, and downright stupid things in my life. Most occurred when I was in my twenties, when I thought I was immortal. When I think back on that time, I am sometimes amazed that I am still alive.

One time in particular sticks out to me. I lived in Eastern Pennsylvania and thought nothing of driving the twelve to fourteen hours back to Michigan. Alone. I traveled Interstate 80, which goes through the mountains of central PA. It's not as remote as driving through parts of Canada or the deserts in the American West, but the exits are few and far between.

This particular trip, I left Wednesday morning to arrive home in time for Thanksgiving. I was somewhere in the middle of the state when my car died. I was able to pull onto the shoulder and just sat there for a while. I had no idea how far the next exit was or how far back the last one I passed was. It was the dark ages, when cell phones were called car phones and came in bags and were a luxury for mere mortals like me.

I don't remember how long I sat there, trying to figure out what I should do. There weren't a lot of cars going by and none of them stopped.

Finally, a semi-truck slowed down, and pulled into the breakdown lane in front of me. The driver, a tall, skinny older gentleman, walked back to my car. Even then, I was a Death Hag and wondered if I was meeting my first serial killer.

His name was Floyd, and he offered to drive me to the next exit. I was hesitant, but then my sense of immortality kicked in and I figured I could outrun him after getting in a good punch, if need be. Floyd was no spring chicken.

When I climbed up into the cab of his truck, I saw he had a Bible and a statue of Jesus on the dashboard. That didn't soothe me much; lots of serial killers think they're getting directions from straight from the Big Guy.

Floyd wasn't like that, though. He said he had daughters and he would have worried sick if one of them broke down on Route 80 and no one stopped to help. We chatted while he drove me to the next exit, which was several miles away. He even offered to wait with me while my rescue ride came.

He wouldn't take any money, and refused to give me his address so I could send him a thank you note. Before he climbed back into his rig, he shook my hand and said, "God Bless, Lisa."


judemiller1 said...

Wow! I remember those days when, if my car broke down, I hitched a ride to a phone or let some guy who stopped along the way help me, or out in the country, walked to the nearest house to use their phone. No worries. Nowadays, I worry more, although I still don't have a cell phone...which I probably should just to carry in the car?

Nadine said...

I know lots of people who say they'd never have a cell phone. I say it's plain nuts NOT to have one. The pay as you go kind are cheap, no monthly bill, but if you're stuck somewhere you have a lifeline. Totally worth the small investment.

Nadine said...

And Lisa, thank goodness Floyd came along before the serial killer.

Ronni said...

Back in that long lost summer of 1967, my friend John and I decided to drive from Vancouver to Toronto. Of course the car broke down, and we had to hitchhike most of the way. One elderly farmer picked us up in an ancient truck, and asked us, "Are you some of them hoopers that smoke that LDO?"

Lisa said...

Judy, I had a pay-as-you-go one that was twenty dollars and twenty dollars to reload. It was for safety purposes only. Well worth the investment, JUST IN CASE.