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The wind bit into her exposed skin as Dena huddled against her broken down car on the side of the interstate. Dusk was closing in and she knew it would be dark soon. How could she have forgotten to charge her phone before starting the drive home for Thanksgiving?
Mom is going to kill me, she thought ruefully, but with no phone and no car, she had no choice but to try to get someone to stop and help her. Maybe she’d luck out and another kid going home from college would stop and pick her up. Or maybe a nice truck driver. They were the ones to help you on the road, her dad always said.
Okay, if no one was coming down the road, she was going to get back inside her car and wait where it was at least a little warmer. Maybe the OnStar thing would work. She got in and pressed it again and again, but nothing. No disembodied voice asking how they could help her. Her luggage was in the trunk of the little Dodge Dart and maybe she’d get it out and put some more layers of clothes on to try to stay warm. She didn’t have another coat, but more jeans and socks and a big sweater, at least.
Darkness was rapidly closing in when she heard rumbling sounds behind her. Peering out the frosted over back window she saw a huge semi bearing down on her. The noise must have been the truck downshifting as the driver tried to stop after seeing her car. Too late to get out and make a run for it, she just prayed that the air brakes caught and the massive machine stopped before slamming into her car. Head down, trying to remember the long ago prayers from when she was a little girl, “Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…”
Oh, thank you, Jesus, the truck swung around her car and pulled onto the shoulder just in front with an awful squeal. Dena’s heart was still pounding and her mouth was nearly dry, not noticing a tall, broad-shouldered man get out of the cab, a knit cap pulled low over longish brown hair as he stalked toward her car. She was still in a daze when the loud rapping on her window brought her into the present.
Dena opened the door a crack to peer out and his lips tilted up a little. “Can I help you with anything, miss?”
“Oh, thank goodness you stopped,” was all she could muster as her eyes filled with tears.
“Yep, seems like good luck all around, doesn’t it? Come on into my truck and warm up a little and I’ll see what’s going on with your car.” His big hand tugged on hers a little until she finally got her body to move. She was almost stiff with the cold and the remnants of fear from seeing the truck bearing down on her. And now, relief — or something — was making her light-headed.
“My name is Dena,” she managed as he guided her toward the cab of the truck. She noticed it was white and had some sort of telephone number and Jones Trucking on the side.
“Nice to meet you, Dena,” he smiled, again with the slight uptilt. “Most folks call me Jonesy, but my name is Bill. Now get on in there and warm up a little.”
It seemed like she barely had time to settle back against the luxurious padded seat and feel her toes and fingers start to thaw before he was climbing back up beside her. Then she felt the truck lurch forward before it moved onto the highway.
JP is our youngest grandson who turned five in September. He and his mom and dad lived with us while they were building their house a year ago. Though they’ve moved into their new house now, we still get to pick him up from preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays and spend the afternoon with him. Next year he’ll be in kindergarten all day. He’s so full of fun and remarkably wise for his years!
When our sweet Inga died early on Halloween, I didn’t want to tell JP and spoil his holiday, so Tuesday we picked him up and went by his house before trick or treating. We waited until he was over at our house yesterday to break the news.
Me: Remember how I told you last week that Inga was really sick and she was 14 and that was old for a dog? Well, she died the other day and now she’s in heaven with Tank.
JP: But Chief is 14 and he didn’t die. (Our other dog.)
Me: I know, but he isn’t sick like Inga was. Dogs live to different ages.
JP: Did you see her die or did she just disappear? (Their dog, Tank, died while they were on vacation so by the time they got home, Tank had disappeared!)
Me: No, honey, she didn’t disappear. She died during the night but when we got up in the morning it was just her body left and her spirit went to be in heaven with Tank.
JP: NANA, WHAT HAPPENED TO HER HEAD??
Me: What? (Then I realized what I had said.) Oh, no, honey, ALL of her was there and Papa and I wrapped her in a soft blanket and took her to the vet.
JP: Nana, I’m sad that Inga died.
Me: Me, too, baby. Me, too.
Then we shared a hug and thank goodness he was satisfied with my answers because I was running out of explanations he could understand. And smiling about it makes me feel better 🙂