Last week my brother Dwight and I had a grand time visiting our older brother and his wife in Ohio (more on that later this week.) On the return drive as fall foliage bedazzled us through the mountains of West Virginia, our lovely road trip took a scary turn.
Driving my brother’s spiffy car up a hill on busy Interstate 64E with an 18-wheeler truck barreling down in the right lane beside us, and another truck barreling behind us (I was trying to get around them) suddenly the car engine cut out – there was no power in the gas pedal, at all.
Did I mention we were going up a hill in the mountains of WV?
After coasting behind the big truck on our right (without getting creamed) we miraculously managed to pull over onto an off ramp with enough room for other cars to pass.
Whew! Still alive!! Life is a Gift!!
It just so happens…
The off-ramp was for the city of Beckley, WV. (Keep in mind there are vast stretches of nothing but mountains between towns in this region of WV.)
Within a half hour Triple A came and towed us 5 or so miles to Bailey’s Auto Shop in Beckley.
The folks at Bailey’s could not have been nicer. We were a bit rattled (profuse prayers of thanksgiving offered while waiting for tow truck.) Their warm welcome calmed us down. Within 20 minutes they diagnosed the problem: the engine was totally kaput.
Evidently an engine replacement requires a great deal of attention vs. a quick fix.
Checking in with Stephanie at our Williamsburg car dealership (thankfully my brother’s original warranty still works, plus he fortuitously purchased an extended version, too) it turned out a local car dealership in Beckley (located 1 mile up the road from Bailey’s) was available to facilitate warranty repairs.
Bailey’s Auto Repair (Beckley, WV)
Arranging another tow (thank you Joe @ Triple A!) we made it to the car dealership just before closing on a Friday evening where Pam in the Service Department received us with gracious assistance. She offered us cold bottled waters, started the ball rolling so we could rent a car the next day, and, since it was getting late, she called around (it took several tries) to find hotel rooms – not an easy thing on a weekend when 80,000 folks from around the world descend upon this West Virginia city of 18,000 for an annual Bridge Jumping event.
When Billy, one of Pam’s colleagues, dropped us off at the hotel, my brother and I laughed – there stood one of our parents’ favorite chain restaurants, literally in the parking lot. We had not eaten lunch, so didn’t waste much time settling in (and settling down) before heading over for a celebratory supper. We toasted life and the memories of how tasty morsels from this chain made our Papa so happy.
Life is a Gift!
As Virginia (the person) has posted here before (Crash Smash Bamboozled) each day as we go along our ways we never know when our lives may be whisked away. Looking back on what happened (especially as we drove by 64E Milepost 123.4 on our way home in the rental car) it seems rather miraculous we weren’t crushed to bits.
It’s all a matter of perspective. Sure, lots of headache-inducing details still to be sorted (Dwight’s car is in a repair shop 5 hours from our home), but life is a gift and we are thankful to be alive.
We are also grateful for the many ‘just so happenings’ of God’s grace and all the people who helped us. The folks at Bailey’s didn’t charge us a dime for their diagnostics (in Williamsburg it costs $90 for a mechanic to just open the car hood!) That kind gesture touched our hearts tremendously along with friendly help we experienced from Pam, Stephanie, Billy, Joe, Hannah (our v. nice waitress Friday night @ Outback who gave us a discount when we told her what happened), the rental car folks @ Enterprise and other friendly folks we encountered at our hotel…
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is God’s gift, that’s why we call it the present.” Joan Rivers
Virginia : )
“I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)