“Have a safe trip!” “Be safe!” “Drive carefully!” … all are well wishes uttered so often we’ve become inured to the hearing of them. But no matter how casually (even mindlessly perhaps) bestowed, each is a prayer for the protection of the traveler though the traveler may not have heard it or realized it was such. One sometimes wonders if these good wishes are effective. And how would one know? Is my safe return from Boston due to a blessing wished upon me by someone and the subsequent granting of that request by the angels? What if I had chosen a different airline? Driven a different route from the airport to home?
Would the outcome of my adventures of yesterday been different if Don had not mumbled “safe travels” from deep beneath the comforter in the darkened bedroom? As it was, just two hours east of home I found myself with a flat tire … 6:30 in the morning … black as midnight … pouring rain … narrow country road … no cell phone service … lug nuts screwed on so tight I couldn’t break them loose.
Still, I was blessed. Homes along that stretch of highway are few — and far far between. But had I made it a short few miles further there would have been none at all. The dog who protected the house I approached sniffed curiously at my leg but didn’t bark. Is that why his mistress allowed me to come inside and make a long-distance call on her phone? The Good Samaritan who drove past, then turned around and came back, was running late. Still, he showed me how to bounce on the lug wrench to loosen the nuts, changed the tire, added air to the spare to make sure it was properly inflated, gave me clear directions to the nearest (near being a relative term mind you) tire store, then sent me on my way. He only asked that I be a Good Samaritan when given the chance.
I had set out to make a loop of nearly a thousand miles. (It is my belief that if a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step it is incumbent upon one to make that first step wearing a cute pair of shoes. It always surprises me how cute shoes / boots can boost one’s confidence. So, yes, I was wearing a pretty darned cute pair of boots with my jeans.) Instead, by the time I eased on down to the tire store and spent half my retirement savings on a full set of tires (I will save my opinion of all-wheel drive vehicles for a different rant on another day), I could not have completed my loop in the time I had allotted. I turned the Volvo to the west and headed home.
After days like this Don is inclined to fuss about my mishaps. He worries. Okay, I’ll admit this was an expensive one, but I’ve thought abut it and I don’t see how any of my adventures were caused by an action I initiated. I agree that perhaps I could have reacted differently to an event once it was initiated by an outside force. But honestly, THEY’VE NOT BEEN MY FAULT! Is my option to limit my driving to the interstates? Only during daylight hours? In good weather? Not me.
I will continue to venture out whenever I need to. And, even if only from habit, I will continue to wish all my travelers a safe journey. I will say “Be nice … make your angels happy to be of service.”