owl in winter

owl in winter

Sunday, December 27, 2009

It All Started So Well

It did. It all started so well. Even with the rain. Even with the falling temperatures. Even with the dimming sunlight. My oldest son's girlfriend, Kelcey, was with us, all aglow at the idea of having a big family Christmas, bless her heart. It was supposed to be perfect. The gaily wrapped presents were packed. I had packed the cheesecake and raspberry topping, we were ready to rumble for the familial Christmas Eve at my parents' house.

To begin with, you may have seen my quasi-rant on http://www.facebook.com/ about my family's Christmas Eve misadventure. After I posted it, as common sense would have it, I thought better of having done so but it was too late. Out there, for all the world to see. And I really wished I had not done it. It just seemed like the wrong thing to do, at least on that medium, which is all about sound bites anyway and the whole story probably never gets told. So, I felt guilty afterward and wished I could retract the whole thing.

The story is: As with every Christmas Eve, we venture over the highway and through the burgs to my parents' house, which is probably 75 miles from my front door. Right about the time we hit Mansfield, Mo, approximately 20 miles from destination point zero, the oil light came on and approximately one second after that, the knocking started. What the crap? I have been a pretty attentive car owner, yes indeed. I check my oil. I perform routine maintenance, or at least my mechanic does; point is, I'm on it.

Well, so we're knocking to beat the band. We pull off the highway, drive the car up to Lazy Lee's convenience store, and I am thinking, well, my brother lives not far from here, maybe we can get that far and hitch a ride with him to our parents' house, the car wildly knocking the whole time. So, we limp the five or so blocks over there. Nobody home.

The rain keeps pouring, the temperatures keep slipping.

We limp my Xterra back to Lazy Lee's where I go in to find a phone. "Is there a phone here?" I ask the clerk. She's not in a very good mood, this being Christmas Eve and she has to work. I'm sure she has other obligations and other interests at that moment and she probably is not real thrilled about having to work when she has so much to do. "No," she says without looking at me. She's looking beyond me to the next person in line.

Christmas Eve. No room at the inn.

I say, "Look, my car just blew its motor, I'm from Springfield, I need to use a phone. Have you got a phone?"

She hands her blackberry over to me, and I find I can't read the numbers on it because they are so small and the flourescent lights are glaring on it, and my aging eyes can't see squat sometimes, so she ends up having to dial for me and I call my parents. "We'll be right there," my mother says. I ask the clerk what I owe her for using her personal phone and she shakes her head and says, "nothing." Merry Christmas to you, unknown clerk at Lazy Lee's in Mansfield, Mo. There are angels everywhere, you know it?

Some 25 minutes later, my 75-yr old father pulls up. The man who's been my hero since I was born, here yet again, to rescue his now middle-aged daughter from yet another fiasco. Oh, the stories we could tell. But won't.

Long story short now because it's probably boring at this point - my car was towed to Springfield by my sister's fiance. I'll get it repaired, I hope, this week. The verdict seems to be that I must have run over something that punctured my oil line because the car still starts right up, and there was really no reason for the oil light to come on and then all go to crap in one instant unless I had indeed hit something. So, Christmas Eve, sitting at Lazy Lee's in the dark, rain pelting, all of us in my car with the windows all fogged over and just sitting there wondering how it would all turn out, waiting on my father, I remember turning to Kelcey and saying, "Are you sure you want to take any more road trips with us?" to which she laughed and said all was fine. We had a wonderful Christmas Eve at my parents' house and all's well that ends well. And it has ended pretty well. We live to tell the story, right?
We do indeed, and, here's my dad.
See ya.

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