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.

Morning view in Ravenswood, West Virginia

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!!

view of 64E Milepost 123.4 (waiting for tow)

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!

@ the Virginia Welcome Center (Alleghany Highlands)

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

grace, peace & gifts

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)

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30 Responses to LIFE IS A GIFT!

  1. TMH says:

    Great story to revive one’s faith in people *and* guardian angels.

    • Virginia says:

      Amen, Tim! Our guardian angels clocked some serious overtime. Still a bit overwhelmed at the kindness of strangers who helped us, always a challenge to pass such kindnesses on… Blessings! 🚙🌟🤗🌟🚙

  2. JOY journal says:

    You know the old joke about something being uphill both ways. I never realized that could be true until moving to WV. 🙂

    • Virginia says:

      Nora, so true! WV hills go up, down, up again, down again – uphill both ways! Whereabouts are you in WV? (I thought you were in Appalachian mts in VA.) Blessings! 🌟🍂🚙🍂🌟

  3. Carol-Jo says:

    Thank God that you are home and safe. Thanks for your blog…love you guys.

    • Virginia says:

      We are (very grateful & glad) to be home safe & sound. Much love to you, Carol-Jo – & thanks for your prayers in the middle of everything!!! Hugs! 🍂🚙🤗🚙🍂

  4. Debbie says:

    Such a scary thing to have happen when you’re away from home — glad you two were together to lean on each other … and on God! Also glad you’re safe and sound!

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you, Debbie. My brother & I are so glad we were together. Dwight had planned to make the trip on his own, but the week before it worked out I could go with him (to help with driving, etc.) We’re so grateful to be ok & for the kindness of strangers. Blessings & gratitude! 🌟🍂🚙💜🌟

  5. BECKY s. HOWARD says:

    what a ‘gift” also in words..!

    • Virginia says:

      Thank you, Becky. I have maintained that life is a gift for many years (& in many blogs here) but some days it’s giftier than others.. (thanks be to God!) Blessings! 🍂🌟🍂

  6. That is terrifying! Glad you made it our safely.

  7. Garfield Hug says:

    What a lovely adventure!

    • Virginia says:

      Thanks, GH. We almost (for a brief minute) wanted to see the bridge jumping event, but we’re glad to get on our way home to traverse the mountains before dark. Blessings! 🌟🍂🚙🍂🌟

      • Garfield Hug says:

        Blessings indeed as God will always protect you! Sorry if I was not clear…lovely adventure for you being with family taking in the gorgeous sights and NOT for the car issue. I am glad all is good and life is a blessing and precious💕💕🤗🤗

      • Virginia says:

        Amen, GH! We are glad for the gift of life, preciousness & all (!!) but we’re also glad Dwight’s warranty covers everything (looks like it could take up to two months to fix.) Blessings & BIG HUGS!!! 🚙💜🤗🚙💜

  8. Michelle says:

    How scary! Isn’t God amazing, though? I pray everything gets settled quickly and not too expensive. 🙏

  9. Scarlett79 says:

    Just got back from a road trip to VA and drove through WV. Know exactly what you mean about those mountains. Unfortunately the leaves were not turning yet, but it is still breathtaking. As far as car accidents go, got up one Saturday morning to go have my hair done for a wedding me and the husband were attending that evening (February 7, 1981) and the next thing I know my sister who is also a nurse (she was my nurse) was waking me up telling me I had been in a very serious car accident, traumatic brain injury (coma) and it was now March 21st…Paralyzed on the left side, had to re-learn how to walk and use my hands and I was only 21 years young and a newlywed. Be happy 🙂 Life is short ❤ Blessings you had your angel's with you that day ❤

    • Virginia says:

      Scarlett, wow – life is a gift! So glad you came through that terrifying experience without permanent paralysis! Our guardian angels clocked some serious overtime – we are grateful there was no accident & for the kindness of strangers. We saw beautiful leaves in parts of WV, but once we reached the mountains of VA colorful fall trees were few & far between. Blessings & big hugs!!! 🌟🍂🚙🍂🌟

  10. Scarlett79 says:

    Thanks for reminding Mz. Virginia…Life is short, be happy 🙂

  11. My Carmel says:

    Indeed! Life is a gift! ❤

  12. jonicaggiano says:

    Wow great post. It is wonderful when people show up and are incredibly kind when you need it the most. This is a great example of God taking care of us too. Love ❤️ Joni

  13. Pingback: #ADVENT: Altered (“Altar’d”) States | Roses in the Rubble

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