There is a stretch of I-95 between Richmond and Washington, D.C. that is always bad or worse with heavy levels of traffic. And frequent accidents only make it worse. I try to avoid the area whenever possible, and yet at times in my travels it is unavoidable.
Just a few weeks ago, I was on my way up north taking a car from Ft. Lauderdale to Baltimore. The only logical path was to go straight up I-95, and so I knew that I'd have to deal with the traffic, and said a little prayer that it wouldn't be as bad as usual.
About 30 miles north of Richmond,I got a call and answered my cell. "This is Bill."
"Hello, Bill," said the familiar voice of Mrs. Sherman. "And how are you this fine day?"
"Fine and dandy, Mrs. Sherman."
"Bill I just tried a delicious new food called Quiche. It's like a little pie, but has ham and eggs and cheese in it. Do you like pie, Bill?"
"Yes I do."
"Blueberry pie is still my all time favorite. Are you watching TV right now, Bill?"
"Uh, no ma'am, I'm driving a car."
"Oh good, that reminds me, I will need you to drive my car for me again very soon."
"Just call my boss."
"I'm sorry, I don't understand."
"Call my boss Riff, he'll arrange everything."
"Bill, when you come, I will make you a pie."
"That's very nice of you."
"Would you prefer peach or pecan pie? I would offer to make you a Quiche,
only I don't know how to make Quiche."
Very suddenly, my front left tire blew and I yelled "Mrs. Sherman, I gotta go!" I threw the phone down and grabbed the steering wheel with both hands. The car was skidding from side to side and became very hard to control. There were a lot of other cars around me, some of them weaving to switch lanes, and I was trying to avoid hitting them. I slowly tapped the brakes, and made my way over to the shoulder of the road.
After coming to a stop and parking, I got out to examine the tire. It was shredded, way beyond repair, and I knew this would mean putting the spare on. It was a warm day, sunshine brightly shining, and I knew it was going to be a hot and sweaty assignment. So I got into the trunk and pulled out a jack and the spare tire.
The lug nuts were on very tight, and I knew it was not going to be an easy job. I got started, and a few people honked at me as they drove by. I was well out of their way, so I guess it was just their way of saying hello. Some guys yelled something indistinguishable at me as they zipped past. The heat of the day was making me sweat profusely as I worked, and the sweat drops dripped into my eyes and stung. I heard another vehicle coming towards me, honking in rhythmic pattern, and I turned just in time to see an object flying towards my head.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up, very groggy and with blurred vision. It took me a minute to realize that I was in a hospital room. I looked up and focused, trying hard to recall what was the last thing I could remember. I felt a hand brush through my hair, and turned to see the love of my life, Karen Robbins, standing over me.
"What in the world are you doing here?"
"Apparently some redneck good old boys were passing you on the side of the road while you were changing a tire, and they threw a full can of oil at your head, and bonk, you were out cold. There were a couple of eyewitnesses, and they called in to report it. A Road ranger found you and called an ambulance."
"What are you doing here, though? Am I imagining this?"
Karen took my hand and squeezed it tightly. "They went through your wallet and found my name and phone number. So they called me last night and told me you were in bad condition."
"Wait, how long have I been here?"
"Two days. You were under pretty deep. The good news is that you're going
to be OK."
"I can't believe that you came all the way here from Indianapolis."
"You are a sweet man, and I'd go anywhere for you."
"The feeling is more than mutual."
"Bill, you need to face facts, I will always come running when you need me."
At that moment, I felt very fortunate to have such a friend who would have come
all that way just for me.
Maybe it's time to accept that there are a lot of people who love me, and that I should
do everything I can to return the kindness to others that I meet.
But in that moment, all I wanted to do was rest.
I feel fast asleep with Karen still holding my hand and smiling down at me.