Friday, September 16, 2011

A Flat Out Adventure

     I was anxious to get home to Colorado after helping my parents move to a new home in Wisconsin. I was alone and tired from the long drive all the way into the barren northeast corner of Colorado. It was nearing ten o’clock at night. My only company was my CD collection. Darkness surrounded me not revealing anything and barely any cars traveled the route in either direction.
     I had driven all day long. Not wanting to spend the night at a hotel, I felt determined enough to continue and complete the 19 hour trip. As I cruised along at the 75 mile per hour speed limit, suddenly the car wavered back and forth with furious intent. I immediately slowed trying to grasp what had happened. Then it dawned on me that I must have a flat tire. 
     I groaned. It was a very warm night on the Colorado plains and it had been a long time since I’d attempted to change a tire. Plus it was on the driver’s side, the highway side, and it was difficult to get far off the road in this section. 
    I sat there for a bit trying to calm down after getting the wobbly car off to the right side as far as I could. I drove a GMC Jimmy and had the seat in back folded down. I looked back to where my full size spare tire sat underneath all the many things I brought home with me that Mom and Dad didn’t want anymore. That included a small electric organ that was completely covering the tire. How was I going to get at the tire? I cried a little with my head in my hands, elbows on the steering wheel, then prayed a lot. 
      Knowing that wallowing in my dilemma was doing no good, I got out and opened the back end. I began pulling and moving things trying to make my way to the tire. A semi truck barreled past me rocking the car with its wind gust. I prayed more. Lord, I need help! I need an angel! 
     I hadn’t gotten very far with making my way to the spare, when a pick-up truck slowed down and pulled off the highway in front of my vehicle. I looked around in the darkness, fear growing, as the pick-up backed up, then pulled alongside of me since no traffic was coming. 
     I had my hand on the metal pipe for the jack and gripped it tighter.
     “Hi,” an older woman said from the passenger window of the truck. Relief flooded my being. “Can you use some help?”
     I was so thankful to see friendly faces. The woman and her husband had just left a church dinner and were heading back to their ranch. 
     I had an innner chuckle for the angels that just arrived. 
     They parked behind my car, headlights lighting up the situation. I had my puny scissor jack pulled out and handed it toward the big barrel of a man. The strong ranch owner took one look at it, shook his head and walked back to his truck without a word. He removed a large hydraulic jack from the back end. In no time at all, he had the car raised up, the tire pulled out from under the organ, all while I visited with this sweet woman. In what seemed an instant, he was finished.
     My gratitude was overwhelming. Knowing I would have been out there in the dark for a very long time trying to change that tire unable to see anything past the darkness off the side of the road. The man finished up, was putting his jack back in his truck when I remembered I had some special prints from my mom. She is an amazing artist and had lots of extra copies of her beautiful scenes originally painted then made into prints. Mom sent me home with a box full. I had four different scenes. I asked them to wait, I had something for them and I jumped into the back end. Reaching into the box amidst the piles of other things now in disarray, with the addition of a shredded tire. 
    The man said, “No that’s alright. You don’t have to give us anything.” 
     I insisted. My heart pounded knowing what I could give them in thanks if I could just gain access to it.
     Finding the large flat box, I reached in as quickly as I could so they wouldn’t leave without a proper thank you and pulled out the first one I could get my fingers on within the well packed cardboard container. 
     I rushed back to their truck, handed it to the wife explaining that my mother had done these.  I had extra and I wanted them to have something for saving me. The woman held it up in the light of their headlights. Something similar to a look of shock seemed to appear on her face. 
     Her husband was still trying to say no, looking back and forth between us women, when we noticed that a tear had formed in the woman’s eye and began to run down her cheek. Then he looked at the print noting the scene depicted. He stopped his declining, put a huge smile on his face and said, “My wife collects pheasants. They're all over in our house.”
     I had, by divine intervention pulled out the print of a winter scene and pheasants in a field. It could have been the print of the ducks, the deer, the eagle, but no, it was the pheasants. We parted with hugs and thanks on both sides. The man waited for me to get back in my car and drive away. They followed me for several miles to make sure I was on my way safely. Tears ran down my own face as I waved them away at an exit knowing they would have to back-track to get to their own exit.
     The kindness of this ranching couple in the plains of Colorado, during the darkest of night, will never be forgotten. I don't believe so much in coincidence, but I definitely believe in God-cidence. Providence. Who knew that a gift of pheasants could be such a ministry in two directions. Angels apparently come in all shapes and sizes.

Pheasants on the highway!