Of ANY Holiday!!!
Years ago, I bought the first Chrysler Sebring. At that time (in 1995) Sebrings only came in a hardtop. I remember the first day I saw that car, I was in love. For four days straight, I passed by the dealership and admired it. On day 4, I bought it. To date, this was the proudest car purchase I've ever made. I have loved each car I've ever bought, but this one was special.
As does sometimes happen, Special Things need attention. My beauty broke down one Saturday after a wonderfully exquisite Metaphysical Experience. To say that the breakdown almost ruined my Meta Exp isn't far from the truth, but I let it go and realized that Chrysler could and would fix my baby. (That special trauma is another post. ha ha)
My sweet friend John loaned me his aging Blazer: Studly. Now Studly was a wee bit long in the tooth and as fate would have it, it's fuel gage was broken. (Mine gage is broken some days at this time in my life. ha ha) John said "Just remember that there is about 1/3 of a tank of fuel and soon you will need to refuel." Forewarned and oblivious, I simply "Drove Ole Studly Down" to past the fumes and he rebelled. There I was zipping down I-95 in my work suit and tie, and thinking, without a care in the world, when Studly decided to give me a care. Sputtering and spitting Studly fainted and I coasted to the side of the freeway. Now, this is where God appears. Or at least in my new found instant love of praying. I promised a testicle (one is squished already), my next trick (read piece of ass), all sorts of things. And what do you know, when I turned the key, the engine came back to life. I breathed a sigh of thanks (a pitiful little sigh compared to the fervent prayers) and headed up the next off-ramp. Or so I thought. Those prayers of thanksgiving were short-lived as Studly completely gave up the ghost. Studly said "No Fuel, No Travel," and ground to a stop.
So there I was, one broken down Chrysler, and one empty Blazer. And back then, I don't even think I had a cell phone to call for help. Of course I got out and opened the hood of the Blazer. Now exactly what I thought I'd see, or better still, what I'd DO if indeed I did see something was way beyond my thinking ability in that moment. But I'm a MAN, we OPEN THE HOOD. So open it I did. And what do you think I saw.... An engine. Yippee. An engine.
Now I am part Irish. We have pride. (Read stubborn ignorance, but Pride sounds so much nicer.) So there I stood, looking at the engine. Occasionally, I'd try to start the engine, but Studly wasn't having any of that. So after several trips from the ignition to the exposed engine, I kept thinking why doesn't someone stop and ask me if I need help. I mean here I am in a suit and tie and OBVIOUSLY in need of rescuing, but that Irish pride kept my arms at my sides. I would never flagged down a driver for help. Heaven forbid.
So there I was at the exit of I-95 that is littered with BMW's and Benz' etc as this is the exit for Aventura. But Studly and I were invisible to the well to do. (Now I wonder if I would have stopped if the Chrysler hadn't been broken down. That's what I wonder now...)
After what seemed like at least 40 days and 40 nights an older land yacht of a Cadillac stopped. Inside was a black man with no less than a month of newspapers and equally as much mail, and bags from drive throughs and grocery stores, and STUFF, all filling up the car. He asked me what the problem was. Ashamedly, I told him I was quite sure I was out of gas. He then asked if I needed help. I looked at him and his car and thought a lot of things, few of which were positive, but fool that I ain't, I knew I needed gas and even though I can be a Tiny Teapot with a handle and spout, I can't produce gas. So I said "Yes Sir."
He pulled the Land Yacht ahead of me, got out and approached the truck and checked under the hood (he did see a few things that HE recognized. ha ha) I tried the ignition for him and he agreed, no gas, and no need to flood the engine trying. He offered to take me to get some gas.
He closed the hood, and I locked up Studly. After much rearranging of articles in the car, he offered me a ride. We introduced ourselves and set off on our journey. Of course, this is the place where it should be simple. But NOT in my life. I crave adventure and God, Nature, Fate seems to oblige. At this time in my life, I banked with a credit union, which had a branch two exits ahead and 2 miles off the exit. I sheepishly told him about the banking situation and he said "Don't Worry." So two exits and two miles later, we arrive at the ATM. During our ride there, he told me of his wife throwing him out for excessive drinking and how they would get into awful rows. And he also told me of how ALL of it was his fault and while he knew it took two to have a row, he shouldered all of the blame as he had taken advantage of her kindness for far too long. The man quietly wept as he relayed the story. Tender as it is now, at that moment, I was leery of the man. Here he was helping me, but he was living in this Land Yacht and not painting a very pretty picture of himself. And while he was remorseful and tearful, his emotions were very raw and fresh and wavering. He was repentant in one minute and defiant in the next and I really didn't think he was about to make any drastic changes anytime soon.
Bless him, he drove me to the ATM and I took out $40. Not a lot, but I didn't have a lot. Chrysler had already told me an estimate that had me very worried. So all those $40 were coming at a price. We then drove to a gas station, where he extracted an old anti-freeze bottle from the trunk and told me we would use this as a gas can. I was unsure, but he told me he knew what to do. So he filled it with gas, I paid the attendant and off we went to find Studly.
Now Studly was two exits back, but that's on the Freeway. So you have to go three exits and make a round-about and reenter the freeway and THEN the next exit is Studly. All the while he drove without ever a minute of hesitation. By the time we arrived back at Studly, the sun was sinking low in the sky. He told me to pop the hood. I did so. He opened something under the hood, pour a few drops in, closed whatever it was, then poured almost all of the remainder of gas into the gas tank. He told me to wait a minute or two and then try it. Studly coughed and gasped but didn't crank. He returned to the hood, opened said things, poured a few more drops in and then I was to try again. This time Studly roared to life. He closed the hood, and prepared to leave. I offered him $20 and after a moment's hesitation, he accepted. He told me that it wasn't necessary, but was very thankful as he really could use the money. (Truthfully, even at this point I was still a little unsure of him. He was a big brute and had confessed to being an ogre to his wife and friends.) He took the $20, threw the anti-freeze bottle in the trunk of the Land Yacht and bid me farewell.
He pulled onto the exit ramp, exited the freeway and disappeared. I sat there a minute or two and then proceeded to the next gas station to give Studly a little more fuel with that remaining bucks I had on me.
As I reentered the freeway and made my way home, I was overcome with waves of emotions. I hadn't been smart enough to remember the fuel, I had been to proud to flag down help, I had been fearful of the unknown....
Once I was able to stop flogging myself and settled into a quite conversation with God, I was able to realize that with all of the things that had happened in the last few days, I had experienced so many facets of God. I had a wonderful and awesome Metaphysical Experience. I had allowed my friend to loan me his Studly. (This is quite important. For a person who is independent (ME), allowing a friend to help isn't my strongest characteristic. I NEED to be the knight in shining armor.) After breaking down on the exit ramp to one of the richest and most elegant of areas, it was a homeless black man who was, in his own words, a "bad drunk" who came along to help me. And help me he did. And at the end, I was able to help him by giving him $20 whole bucks. Then my tears came. In that whole cycle, God was present. Taken singularly, each item was important. But taken as a whole, the reminder that A TRUE SPIRIT was always present was so clear to me.
Often I have told friends and family about how an angel appeared when I needed him. An angel not unlike Clarence in "A Wonderful Life." An angel who uniquely taught me lessons that I might not have recognized any other way than just the way they happened. And one wonderful thing I've noticed about this great experience called Life, the Angel is so rarely ever the ones I envision, but that "Not Likely" Angel who simply appears out of nowhere, for no apparent reason and without an ulterior motive, who is the Real Angel that is sent by the ever-present God.
God Bless this Angel who stopped to help and bless me to be that Angel to some other stranger every time I can.
This is MY Christmas Story and I'm clinging the Wondrousness that it IS!!!
Peace exists when we let it! G/B