Late last night, I posted this on Facebook:
Wow! Exciting night, but not what I planned. Dark, cold solitude. An angel disguised as a CSU freshman boy. A tow truck that never showed up. A son who did. Another tow truck that finally showed up. Home now. Just ate. Going to sleep.
This morning, I thought it needed an explanation, but once I started writing, it became apparent my explanation would make a better blog post than a Facebook post. Here’s what happened:
Last night, I was stranded on Colorado State Highway 287 between mile markers 383 and 384 or between Virginia Dale, Colorado, and the Wyoming border in my son’s broken down 4-Runner. Blake was on his way to meet Clay and Kyle at hunting camp when his truck’s engine seized or something. He called me to help him. So I delayed my plans to meet my friend, Maddie, for a glass of wine, drove the 60+ miles in Kyle’s car to meet Blake, gave it to him to continue on to camp and said I’d wait with the 4-Runner until the tow truck came, which was only supposed to be about an hour. I had knitting with me, so wouldn’t be bored.
Lesson 1: One must always carry yarn in case of emergencies.
About a half-hour into my wait a couple of different guys stopped to ask if I needed help. Without rolling down my window, I told them a tow was on its way; I was fine, thank you very much. An hour came and went and then another 30 minutes and another. I was praying a lot at this point, asking God to send help. And I took inventory of the potential self-defense weapons I had on hand, which consisted of a mini Leatherman tool complete with a two-inch blade and a couple of knitting needles. Either might inflict a serious flesh wound, but in all reality, I’d likely only rouse the ire of my imagined assailant and create a necessity to test my running speed. Given that speed is moderate at best, I began making contingency plans.
The plans included donning all of the reflective, flashy bike-commuting gear I carry in my messenger bag and walking up the highway in search of cell coverage (oh, did I mention I didn’t have cell coverage?). But leaving the 4-Runner, the last place anyone (Blake) saw me alive, didn’t seem like a good idea. I tried to rationalize that at some point, someone would notice I hadn’t made it back to Fort Collins and would send the State Patrol to search for me. I also was trying to come to terms with spending the night in the truck and wishing my knitting project was much larger than a six-inch swatch.
As I was ruminating, one of the guys who had stopped by earlier came back (which made me really nervous) and said through the still-closed window, “Ma’am, I’ve been to Laramie, had dinner and am on my way back to Fort Collins and you’re still here. I promise I won’t hurt you. Can I help?” Understanding my options were limited by this time, I threw all caution to the wind, opened the door and asked if he had cell coverage. Thankfully, he did.
Lesson 2: Verizon has better coverage than AT&T.
I called the towing company and talked to a nasty woman who was mad because I wasn’t where I said I was and that I wouldn’t answer my phone. In my excited, half-frozen state of mind, I told her I was exactly where I said I was–in the middle of nowhere in the dark and cold with no cell coverage, so of course I couldn’t answer the phone. She shouted back that I was not at mile marker 323. She was right; I wasn’t. The insurance company’s road-side assistance clerk I spoke with on the phone entered the wrong mile marker into the system. The towing company was looking for me in Laporte! Once I made that clear to the nasty woman, I asked if the tow truck would come get me where I actually was. She said “no, the tow’s been cancelled. You’ll have to call your insurance company again,” at which point I’m sure I loudly guffawed in disbelief. THEN she told me not to throw an attitude at her. She had no idea that my attitude wasn’t even close to warmed up yet. What a fine example of customer service. NOT! I hung up with the nasty woman and called the insurance company back to schedule another tow. Of course, it wouldn’t be there for at least another hour.
Lesson 3: Always have the road-side assistance clerk repeat back to you exactly where she thinks you are.
Phoning Chad was next on my to-do list; I wanted him to relieve Ryan, the nice CSU boy that stopped to help me and who was adamant that he wasn’t’ leaving me until Chad or the tow truck arrived. So I hung out with Ryan for about 45 minutes and was very thankful for the heat in his big Dodge truck. (I’m going to contact him today so I can give him some money and reimburse him for all the diesel fuel he used idling with the heater running.)
In the midst of our conversation, Ryan said it was weird how he even came across me. Apparently, he had had a rough week at school so decided to go small game hunting up the Poudre Canyon to get some fresh air and exercise. On his way back to town, he suddenly thought of a friend of his who attends school in Laramie and decided to go visit him. He was on his up there when he stopped the first time. He almost stayed in Laramie for the night, but felt he shouldn’t for some reason. He was on his way back to Fort Collins when he drove by me again. (Hmmm. I can hear God saying, “How much help to I need to send? And how many times do I need to send it?”)
Once Chad arrived on scene, Ryan left. In a short while, the tow truck finally came–from Laramie, not Fort Collins–and took the 4-Runner to Houska Automotive where it’s awaiting an analysis of the problem. Just before midnight, Chad and I made it home safe and sound.
This morning I opened the Bible passage website from which I try to gather perspective each morning and this is what I read: But you are a chosen people…God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9.
Lesson 4: God answers prayers in the coolest ways, but sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zone to realize them.