GOD TAKES CARE OF STUPID PEOPLE
My sister, Barbara, was here for me when my husband died and I wanted to reciprocate.
The funeral was to be on Friday at the same church where Jay and I were married.
That was 5 hours away from where I live now, so I had to go by car or I had the brilliant idea to fly there.
Mt. Holly is just a short distance from Charlotte, so I could fly to the airport there, but that idea scared me.
I have never flown alone, plus to fly into the Charlotte airport was terrifying.
Then I had the idea to fly to Greenville, SC and drive over with my brother, Bill.
I went to the website where I have air miles. A flight to Charlotte costs 30,000 air miles each way.
A flight to Greenville only costs 12,000 air miles each way. This seemed like the logical thing to do.
When I looked at the flight schedules, all the flights to Greenville had a layover in Charlotte. What?
(I later thought I should have booked the Greenville flight and just not traveled on after the layover in
Charlotte, but then again I would have to deal with the terror of the Charlotte airport.) Now I must drive.
Since the funeral was on Friday, my son wanted to take off work and drive me over, but it is a busy
time for him right now and I didn't want him to do that. So I had to weigh which was the scariest----
fly into Charlotte or drive there alone? Both were extremely scary, but I chose to drive.
At the last minute I learned the church was providing food for the family prior to the service, so I needed
to be there at noon if I wanted to eat and visit with the family. I left home at 7:05 and headed out hoping
I could make it in the 5 hours it takes everyone else. It rained off and on the whole way until about the
last 20 miles.
I have discovered that if you drive the speed limit, you have the road to yourself most of the time because the "hot dogs" (as Jay always called them) traveled in bunches or packs. They might catch up to you,
but would soon pass you and disappear.
I was being very brave until I got to the mountains on I-40. The clouds were actually hanging lower
than the mountains. It was a desolate and dreary-looking section of highway with no exits or even
hardly a place to pull over on the side of the road and oh, my, at all the trucks. That is when I started
saying to myself, "This is the stupidest thing you have ever done. What if something goes wrong? You can
be stranded on this mountain and no one will ever find you." When I looked down at my dashboard the
light was on that I had a low tire. (My car does that a lot, but it just makes it more terrifying when it did
The mountains seemed to go on forever and ever. I tried to call my brother, but every time his
phone would be ready to ring, the bluetooth in my car would go black. I tried Betty's number and it did
the same. (I learned later they had been trying to get me and couldn't.) When I finally made it off the big
mountains, Betty called me on her cell, but when I tried to answer it went black again. However, I tried
calling her back and it went through. Whew!
When I got to the church, my legs were shaking until I could hardly walk. But I felt better because I
was with Barbara and all my siblings and their spouses and even my precious niece, Jetta. The food
was delicious and the service was great. Bill, Betty and Jetta sang and James sang and Sylvia
played the electric keyboard. It was like a family reunion. We remained after the service and visited
until around 5:00 or 5:30. Now the second scary thing to do---stay in a motel alone.
Here is another stupid thing I did. When I was searching for a motel online the night before,
I entered "motels near Mt. Holly, NC." There was one in Belmont, which I knew was close to Mt Holly,
so I booked it. But when I looked at the confirmation, it said, "Belmont, NJ." What? I am not going to
New Jersey!!!!!!! I had to cancel that one and then booked one in Gastonia (again avoiding Charlotte).
I had been up and going for over eleven hours, so I was exhausted and on shaky legs still when I
pulled up to the motel. I didn't want another trek out to the vehicle to get my things so I lugged them in
as I went. When I got to the registration desk, there was a sign, "I have stepped away for a few minutes
and will return shortly." That shortly turned into I would guess 15 minutes which felt more like another
hour. When I finally got to my room I collapsed!
I awoke to sunlight and knew I had that long drive again, so I threw my stuff together and headed out.
It was foggy and there was a light mist on the windshield, so I thought, Oh, no, not another day in the rain.
But that didn't last very long. I looked down and realized my gas tank was getting low and I didn't want to
be on that long mountain and out of gas, so I began looking for a station. Every exit would have the blue
sign, but nothing posted for a gas station. The mountains were beginning to rise again, but I kept trekking.
I would see a sign for only one lone gas station, but nothing was visible from the highway, so I went on.
I finally decided I couldn't keep going when I saw a sign for 2 gas stations. They were not visible, but I
decided I must stop anyway even if I have to drive a few miles away from the highway. Thankfully, it was
only a short piece just where the highway was no longer visible, but I stopped. As I was filling the tank,
I remembered that I had not eaten since noon the day before. I wasn't hungry, but I thought I had better
get something. I went inside and purchased a blueberry muffin and a Cheerwine.
When I started back out of the station, I couldn't remember if I had come in from the left or from the right
but thankfully I went the correct way and got back on the highway. Now my problem was.....how to eat and drive. I was able to get the wrapper off and the muffin was fresh and very tasty, but I was dropping crumbs
everywhere. I wanted to enjoy this muffin, but this was just wolfing, so after two bites, I put it aside to have
with a cup of coffee later.
I was nervously getting ready to start up that long mountain when I remembered I had forgotten to call Bill and Betty before leaving like I had promised. I had the bluetooth dial the number and thankfully Bill answered. I asked them to pray for me again as a traversed this scary mountain. I just love my brother's prayers. He knows exactly what to say and can speak to any situation and you can feel and know you are in the presence of God almighty. He prayed for my vehicle to be surrounded by angels. He prayed that my car would perform the way the manufacture intended for it to perform, etc.
There was such a sweet, settled peace that only comes from God that filled up my car and me. Then and there I realized that God really cares for me even when I do stupid things. When I saw the Tennessee state
line there was such a difference. I realized why the other mountains were so scary....they are high on both
sides of the road and you can hardly see any sky. When you get to the Tennessee mountains it is as if the sky opens up and you can see daylight again. I love the Tennessee mountains . . . HOME! When I started seeing the signs for Cleveland, don't tell anyone, but I stayed ahead of the pack . . . they were in my rear view mirror.
WOULD I DO THIS AGAIN? . . . IF MY SISTER NEEDS ME . . . IN A HEARTBEAT!