You’d think this story is about me. It’s not. It’s all about David.
Sometimes nice people ask me when I’m going to write a book. And I’m never sure. I’m not confident as to what my voice would be — what I’d be trying to say. But I know this: any story that David is the unwitting main character is worthy of a novel.
Let’s start off this way: we drive three hours to a fabulous cabin in Champion, PA. We’ll be joined later in the day by our friends Estee and Yakov. The sky is overcast (foreshadow much) and Yael and I decide to run out to pick up the final round of groceries while David kashers the kitchen. The nearest grocery store is supposed to be 25 minutes away (sideote: I know America is big but I never expected to be somewhere where a Walmart can’t be found in under 13 minutes). I haphazardly put the store into the GPS and off we go. Except that there is no cell phone reception in a place where there is no Walmart (a lesson learned the hard way) and immediately we are flying solo. No worries, how hard will it be to find a store? We’ll drive straight and something will pop up.
Nothing pops up.
Then we find Milford, PA (pop. 1,014) and we’ve struck small-town gold. Or at least we find what passes as a grocery store: a Dollar Tree. And the rain starts. And our tire pops. We load up on pretty much any food item that they sell and run out through the torrential rain to the car. We check the tire and think, well, maybe if drive really slowly 25 minutes on a hilly 1 lane highway will be fine. After 30 seconds we realize that is not true. We pull into a school hoping to wait out the rain and find cell phone reception. Instead, we meet the world’s nicest man, Jay. And his two daughters — Scout and Addie (named, I’m assuming, after characters in To Kill a Mockingbird). They’re homeschooled. And live on a farm. And have chores to do in the barn everyday. And have just won the State competition on a Historical Performance and are heading to Nationals. Yael is in heaven (“These are friends I have in my imagination.”). The girls stand in the rain and chat.
It’s mother’s day so I’ll just toss out a piece of motherly wisdom I’ve never actually heard said by an actual person: keep clean underwear on because if you’re in a car accident you want to look presentable. I’d like to apply that adage to my car. My poor car that just sustained a road trip with 5 kids for 3 hours is looking a little worse for the wear. Wrappers, bottles, stuff… is everywhere. And we have no idea where the tire is. We run into the school (remember the pouring rain…) to thumb through the 600 page manual to find where the tire is. It is under the car (remember the pouring rain) and can only be accessed by turning some lugnut in the car by the kids’ seats (remember the gross mess). So off we run in the rain for Yael to continue her cultural encounter and for Jay to change the tire and for me to surreptitiously try to collect all wrappers and throw them away. My fingers are dirty, we’re wet, it’s hilarious. We have cell phone reception and David is on the line to say to me: “but did you pick up the oil?”
There are moments in life that are too surreal to capture appropriately, but I’d like to try and help you visualize this moment. It is RAINING. We are in the middle of NOWHERE. Our tire is POPPED. We have spotty cell phone reception. And the message transmitted by your loving husband is “Did you pick up the oil?”
ps. we didn’t pick up oil. It wasn’t on our list. Even if it was on our list we couldn’t access the list because we didn’t have reception so I couldn’t look up my list.
pps. in David’s defense, he’s like, “well you sounded happy.”
ppps. David picked up oil when we got home.
pppps. Happy Mother’s Day.
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