Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Old Vans and Angels, Part One

If you drive old beat up cars like us, you better be a prayerful person. It also helps to have AAA. I have more stories about car troubles and angels sent to help me than you can imagine.

This is my favorite. It's also my longest, so I'll break it up over three posts:

The story begins five and a half years ago, back when I had 7 kids, newborn to thirteen. We were on our way home from St. Louis and had stopped to visit family in Indianapolis. Our plan was to visit for the day, spend the night, and head back to Michigan the next day.

I left the kids with my cousin Sherry while I ran to the mall to visit my cousin Mike, the eye doctor. Hey, I'm not one to pass up on a free eye exam from a family member! So, anyway, Mikey tells me that he was just checking weather.com and they were predicting a big ice storm, set to hit Indy about midnight and I should rethink my travel plans.

Well, Mike loads me up with new contact lenses and supplies and I head back to the house. When I walk in, Sherry exclaims, "Maureen! Your dad just called. He's watching the Weather Channel and they're predicting a big ice storm to start here around midnight. They say it's going to shut the whole city down for at least a day."

So, Sherry and I turn on the local news and get the same scoop. Ice storm. Midnight. City will come to a standstill.

I figured we could just ride it out and spend an extra day visiting, but Teen Son was frantic. He had a Squires meeting the next day and he, as an officer, absolutely couldn't miss it. (Squires, if you don't already know, are like Junior Knights of Columbus.)

Okay, I'm giving you a lot of background here, but bear with me. The good part is coming soon.

It's 9 PM and it's a four hour drive to Lansing. I figured I could pull it off with enough caffeine. I wolfed down a piece of pizza and threw all our stuff in the van. Quite literally. There was no time to pack neatly. I threw in the kids too and we took off, only stopping to fill up the gas tank and purchase a 24-ounce cup of fake cappuccino.

About 11 PM we were approaching Fort Wayne and I was feeling good. I looked around and all the kids were sleeping peacefully. More importantly I was wide awake and figured I'd have no trouble driving until 1 AM. Little did I know what was about to happen.

My car started making a horrible, loud squealing noise. Really loud. I was starting to get frantic, when suddenly the noise stopped and it sounded like something dropped out of the bottom of the van. I thought, "Oh well, whatever it was is gone now and everything is hunky dory." Yeah right.

All the warning lights came on and buzzers were buzzing all around me. Smoke began poring out from under my hood. This is where the prayer part comes in. I was praying a prayer of desperation. "Please don't let my car be on fire. Please don't my car be on fire. Please don't let my car be on fire. Dear Jesus, you put these children in my care don't take them now!"

I looked up and there was an exit right in front of me . I took it, figuring that there would be a gas station right there. Wrong. There was nothing. It was a deserted highway. I took the next exit. And there my car died. With smoke poring out. And with me praying, "Please, please, Jesus, don't let my car be on fire. Please help me."

To be continued . . .

1 comment:

Linda B. said...

Even though I have heard this story before, I look forward to reading it. You are a good story teller.