Racing down the one straight-stretch road of any distance in these mountains, racing against the school-bus schedule to get my friend home in time to greet her daughter, my friend noted the smell and smoke coming from my car.
I had just put in a quart of transmission fluid that morning, hoping against hope somehow that I could continue to limp along.
Alas, it was not to be.
We bought some time cranking up the heat and slowing down – but not much.
Get to the corner of 84! Melissa cried.
We’re not going to make it! I've got to pull over now! I responded.
But just then we crested a small rise and there was the corner of 84. I put the car in neutral and we coasted in to the parking space in front of the house there. Without a word, Melissa hopped out of the car, ran into the house and came back 2 seconds later with keys to the van in hand. Off we flew to get Maggie, arrange for a tow, pick up Melissa’s car and drive back to the house at the corner of 220 and 84 and sit down for a visit with Carlton & Patsy, owners of the van.
Where I live, when your car starts to go, you do all you can to get to the house of someone you know – so that you can run into their house unannounced, say “car keys” with no further explanation and without remark be given the keys. Because where I live, you see, the one being asked knows all they need to because they know the one asking. A stranger would get a ride, but a neighbor gets the keys.
The more car-astute among you will correctly note that I said I put transmission fluid in the car. What I didn’t say is that I put it in the radiator. Sigh. That’s right: I put transmission fluid in the radiator. Poor car, you deserved better.