There is a curse on the women in my family. My Grandmother told me about it, so it must be true. Every month she would remind me of the dreaded curse of the 11th. “Tomorrow is the 11th. Remember, anything can happen”, she would warn. Her belief was that on the 11th of every month something “big” happens. Occasionally it might be something good, but she made sure I knew that was a rare thing. These big things could be anything from someone dying to a natural disaster. My Grandmother also had some strange ideas about the “rapture” and was sure it would take place on the 11th.
I have come to understand that Grandmother had very unique ideas. Most of them were not based in reality or fact. Her ideas about God and religion were the most bizarre. My friend came up the term, GAG. It means “Gospel According to Grandmother.” If I mention one of Grandmother’s ideas, she will smile and say GAG. Even though I know these ideas are illogical and foolish, I still have those old tapes playing in my head.
Yesterday was January 11th. It was a beautiful day. My friend and I decided to go to lunch at one of our favorite restaurants near the beach. We also decided that since we would be so close to be the beach, it would be a shame not to go for a quick walk. We were minutes away from the beach when I stopped at a red light. I noticed that my car was unusually quiet. I realized the engine had shut off. I turned the key only to hear a whining and popping noise. The car would not start.
I did the usual thing. I waited a minute and tried it again. I did that a couple of times before looking at my friend and agreeing it wasn’t going to start without help. We were in the middle of a busy road and even though my flashers were on, cars came up behind me and started blowing their horns. Even the sound of angry horns did not make my car start. Soon a couple of kind men came and pushed the car to the side street for us.
I made the appropriate calls for emergency roadside assistance. The first rescuer came with jumper cables and attempted to start the car to no avail. He determined that I needed a tow truck. That was a determination I made long before he showed up. I made another call for a tow truck. They told me it would be close to an hour so we decided to walk across the street for some food. The tow truck showed up much sooner than we expected. We asked for our food in to go boxes. We found it very difficult to eat while riding in the cab in of the big tow truck. I imagine it was much like the early settlers riding in covered wagons with the rough ride, bumps, and wind blowing everything around. The truck was not one my friends would have on the “sexy” list. You can read more about that idea here.
I remember looking in the mirror and seeing my beautiful little car perched on the bed of the truck much like a sick person lying on a stretcher in an ambulance. I wish we could have ridden inside her but it seems the law doesn’t believe that is safe. As I looked at her, I heard my Grandmother’s words. “It is the 11th of the month. You should have expected something like this.” My mind started to wander.
I wondered if this was some message from the universe that I should go out, find a full time job, and give up this silly notion of going back to college. Every time I have thought about returning to school, life has happened. Was this going to be just one more time? I told my friend what was going on in my head. She helps me stay focused on logic and reality. I remembered her sermon last Sunday about life getting in the way when you are doing what you are supposed to do. Anne Lamott says, ““When God is going to do something wonderful, He or She always starts with a hardship; when God is going to do something amazing, He or She starts with an impossibility. ” ― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
My car is in the shop and I won’t know the exact extent of the repairs needed until then. The suspected diagnosis is a timing belt and water pump with the estimate somewhere around $1000. The dealership did give me a loaner car much to my delight. I looked at the car this morning and found that it is a Dodge Journey. When I saw the name Journey on the back of the car, I smiled and thanked God for reminding me that life really is just a journey. On this journey called life sometimes we walk, sometimes we run, sometimes we fall, and sometimes we ride on the back of a tow truck.