About a month ago, I finally sat down and did my income tax alone for the first time since I married D. To my delight, it took me less time to complete it then the amount of time I spent worrying about completing it. To my even bigger delight, I was getting a healthy chunk o' change back from the government. And my first thought? Wonder where I'll be needing that money...
Does that happen to you? A pile of money mysteriously heads your way, followed by circumstances that will immediately suck up said money. You know: emergencies, home repair, car repair...Oh, were we speaking of car trouble? Let's do.
So, I go on a road trip two weeks ago and my car dies in front of an antique shop in The Big Middle of Nowhere. Timing: the sun was going down, and the sidewalks were rolling up on this small town. Antique owner stays with me way past closing and lets me use her phone. To add layers of misery to this story, my cell phone died. And it took all its phone number memory with it. (And who memorizes phone numbers anymore?) Local men can't start my car, so we call in the big guns: AAA, who sends Johnny the Tow Truck Driver my way. He relocates me and my car to a town known for its kolaches and German food, but not Hertz or Avis outlets. It is glaringly apparent that my car will be living in Kolache Land for a while. No problem, says Johnny the TTD, he has a rental car I can rent. And the angels sang and the heavens parted. Because I just went through Worst Case Scenario on a road trip alone, and all my needs were met by amazingly wonderful people. In a town the size of your thumbnail. I'm full of faith that this will all turn out OK.
Larry the Car Repairman in Kolache Land stays in contact with me several times daily for the 10 days it takes to get my vehicle fixed. My car even got to go on a vacation to a Waco dealership on Johnny's Tow Truck when the problem was more complicated then first anticipated. Everyone was kind, professional, and on the ball. I got the call to come get it after school yesterday. I was not at all, not one little bit, surprised to learn that the repair bill was exactly the amount of my tax refund. Two roads diverge in the woods and I...decided to take the road that says "Be thankful you have the money to fix it."
Loyal friend and fellow teacher J hears that I'll be making the Car Retrieval Trip as soon as the final bell rings, and says she'd like to go with me. It would be fun, she says. A true friend is someone who has just spent 8 hours teaching small children, but is willing to make an additional 5 hour round trip to get a car. And call it "fun". Well, guess what? She was right: it was mucho fun. (Throwing in the espanol because we made a pit stop at El Chico in Waco on the way home. Sour cream chicken enchiladas, you are also my friend after lo, these many years.)
Let's take a screeching right turn onto that subject of friends. A gal from the galaxy of the internet had been commenting on my blog posts for a long time. I don't know her, or anything about her, except I can tell she has a sweet spirit through her comments. One day I put up a post about my hairstylists with Too Much Information, and she recognized them as HER hairstylists. We started comparing notes via blogland to discover: we live in the same town and went to the same church! Small world afterall? You bet. We met up for coffee yesterday at "our" neighborhood Starbucks, both ordering tall skinny decaf cinnamon dolche lattes. We had a great time comparing shared friends and blogs we enjoyed reading.
Sometimes, those wrong turns and unexpected happenings? They take you to exactly where you are supposed to be. And bless you enormously. Taking those roads less traveled by? They can make all the difference in happiness.