About Me

I feel the wanderlust and the call of the open highway. Which is good, because I drive cars for a living. But I'm a writer, and someday hope to once again make my living using my writing skills.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


As I drove across the Florida panhandle today, I was assaulted by pouring rain and furious thunder.  And of course, the lightning that goes with it.  I had been warned by the weatherman to expect tornadoes in the area, just like the ones that had done so much damage in Mississippi just days before.  I could feel the wind pushing and shoving at the van I was driving, and it was much more than worrisome.  I was getting very scared, very fast.

I said a prayer without closing my eyes, and just then my cell phone rang.  It was my boss Riff, and his typical nasty mood was far from an answer to my prayers.  "What are you doing, loser?"

"Driving this van to Mississippi for you."

"Whoa now, you're not doing it for me.  Don't go acting like you're doing me some big favor.  No sir, you are moving that van for our client."

"OK, whatever you say."

"Hey now, cream puff!  I don't think I like the tone of your voice."

"Riff, I am in terrible weather, and I need to keep both hands on the wheel.  Talk to you later."  And then I hung up before he had a chance to say another word.  Moments later, the phone rang again, and I answered,  "Look Riff, you--"

"Nope, not Riff," the voice interrupted me.  It was the voice of Pastor Rex, my old friend and spiritual adviser.  "Just me, your old buddy Rex."

"Pastor and Pirate."

He chuckled.  "At your service.  Just had a gut feeling that I should call you."

"Your timing is great.  I am driving in some pretty nasty weather, and playing hopscotch with tornadoes."

"Are you in the panhandle?"

"Yes sir, and to be honest I'm feeling nervous."

"No need," he said to me.  "God is your co-pilot.  He is watching over you, shrouding you in the hedge of protection.  He will get you safely to your destination."

I smiled, feeling a sense of calm.  "Thanks.  You're right."

"I know I'm right.  By the way, I really liked your blog about going to see GOD'S NOT DEAD."

"I loved that movie."

"And I loved the experience you had with the man outside the theater after the movie." 

"God does work in mysterious ways."

"He does indeed."  We spoke for a few minutes, then I excused myself so I could keep both hands on the wheel. 

I was getting low on gas, and I needed to use the restroom.  I got off at the next exit with a truck stop, and pulled up to the pumps.  When I stepped out of the van, a gust of wind hit me that felt like it would knock me over.  I slid my credit card into the slot in the pump, then removed the handle. 

I heard a girl's voice as I pumped the gas.  "Excuse me, sir?"

I turned to her slowly, not knowing what to expect.  "How can I help you?" I asked, anticipating the worst.

She was an older woman dressed as a young girl.  Her blonde hair was in pigtails, and her little girl's dress was worn and tattered.  "Have you seen my dog?" she asked me.

"No, sorry."

"His name is Toto, and we need to get home to Kansas.  I've lost my way, I'm looking for the yellow brick road."

She was clearly one of what I call Bill's people.  The odd folks around the USA who always seem to find me and engage me with their zaniness.  "Sorry, I can't help you."

"Sure you can, if you only believe it.  If you have the brains, the heart, the courage, why then anything is possible."

I nodded.  "I guess you have a point."

"Of course I do, don't be ridiculous."  A strong gust of wind picked up trash and paper and spun them around in a small funnel.  The girl looked terrified and screamed.  Then she ran away yelling, "Uncle Henry, Auntie Em, it's a twister, it's a twister!"

You may call this extremely bizarre behavior.  But for me, another blog just wrote itself.

Monday, April 21, 2014


I have grown to love some cars very much.  The Cadillac, for example.  It is so comfortable and so state of the art that it nearly drives itself.  Not many people I drive for have them, but I'm always glad when they do.  Soft seats, great stereo, and you don't feel a single bump in the road.  My favorite customer who drives one is sweet old Mrs. Sherman.

Every December I drive her car from Maryland down to Florida.  And then in May I drive it back up to Maryland, just like clockwork.  This year, she called me the first week of April and said she needed it to go up early.  I told her to call my boss Riff to make the formal arrangements and payment.  The day before I was set to pick up at her lovely home in southwest Florida, she called me.  "Hello?  Hello?"

"Hi, Mrs. Sherman."

"Who is this calling?"

"It's me, Bill Thomas, your favorite driver."

"Oh Bill," she said, sounding relieved.  "I am so glad you called, I was just about to call you."

"How can I help you?"

"Well, I had an idea.  My son is driving me to the airport in Sarasota tomorrow to fly back to my Maryland home, and I wondered if you might meet us there.  Then you could take my car and get on the road, while we get on a plane and fly, fly away."

This would work out especially well for me.  I would not have to drive nearly as far south, and I could turn in my rental car at the Sarasota airport and just wait for them to arrive.  "Absolutely, no problem."

"Is it a problem?"

"No ma'am, I will be happy to accommodate you."

"That's what I love about you, Bill.  You always think of me."

"See you in the morning."

"OK, I will see you in the morning.  Can you be there by 11am?"

"I sure will."

"Yes, I know you will."

The next day, I got up extra early and I arrived in Sarasota at 9:30am.  As I pulled into the entrance to the airport, my cell phone rang.  "This is Bill."

"Bill?  Is this Bill?"

"Yes, hello Mrs. Sherman."

"Bill, I just had an idea.  What if you meet my son and I at the airport today and then you can take off from there.  Would that work out for you?"

I smiled.  "I am pulling into the Sarasota airport right now."

"Oh Bill, you are a mind reader.  You continue to surprise and fascinate me."

"I will be waiting for you here at 11am when you arrive."

"OK, but we won't be arriving there until 11am."

"That's not a problem, I'll wait."  I hung up.

About fifteen minutes before she was set to arrive, I grabbed a wheelchair and went out to the curb.  While she can get around fine with a cane, I knew that she used a wheelchair at the airport to get on and off the plane.  It's a long way from the ticket counter to the gate for an elderly lady.

Just a few minutes after 11am, I saw her Cadillac pull up to the curb.  I opened her door and she said,  "Oh Bill, you are wonderful.  How did you know that I'd need a wheelchair?"

"I picked you up here once before, and they rolled you out in a wheelchair."

"Yes, but that must have been five years ago.  How could you possibly know I would need one again this trip?"

I shrugged.  "Lucky guess."

Her son got out and introduced himself.  He got two small carry on bags out of the back seat, but Mrs. Sherman began to fret over wanting to take more luggage with her.  Her son reminded her that I was going to deliver it with the car, so they didn't have to worry with much themselves while traveling.  "But, but..." she sputtered.  "But when Bill takes off, I don't know when I'll ever see him or my car again."

"I'll be there in three days, first thing in the morning."

"Bill, I brought you something.  I know how you love my baking, so I made you a batch of cookies."  She pulled out a huge freezer bag stuffed with cookies.  "They are black licorice cookies, with gumdrops and jawbreakers baked right into them.  Yummy."

"Thanks so much."

"You are most welcome.  Now, when will you be delivering the car to me?"  Her son rolled his eyes, lovingly.

"Three days from now, first thing in the morning."

"Oh good, I will make my world famous black licorice waffles for you."

I got into the car and started driving north.  I noticed that the odometer only had 200 more miles on it since I had dropped it off in Florida back in December.  Don't ask me how I remember, I just do.  My cell phone rang, and it was Mrs. Sherman.

"Hello, Bill?"

"Yes ma'am."

"It's Mrs. Sherman.  I just wanted to let you know that I am at the airport now, and you can come and pick up my car whenever you're ready."

"Well, I am driving your car north on Interstate 75 right now."

"Oh my, aren't you clever.  Thank you, Bill."

She is quite a lady.  97 years old and still going strong.  She keeps on rolling and never stops, just like the Eveready bunny.  Or the Terminator.  She's the Shermanator, and I admire her a lot.  I snuggled back into the comfy seats, and turned on the Sirius radio.  Have I mentioned how much I enjoy driving a Cadillac?