Today was the funeral of my dear friends’ father. I’d known this man all of my adult life, from the age of 18 on, and his two sons are like brothers to me. I went to high school with his son, Warren, and his eldest, Jeff, is husband to my best friend Karen. After my husband’s MRI this morning, and then a hair cut for him (the first real once since his brain surgery in October) we came home and changed for the funeral in NJ, about a two hour drive from where we live here in Maryland.
After we’d crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge and were cruising comfortably down I-295, the car felt a little funny down below. My husband pulled over to check out the situation and came back inside to announce that the front driver’s side tire was dangerously low. Luckily, he remembered that a TA Truck Stop was about 10 miles up the road.
I said a quick prayer to one of my favorite saints, St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, and soon we were pulling into the truck stop. We headed directly for the air machine only to find that it was out of order. Luckily though, one of the burly-looking guys walking by told us to head over to the shop and he’d take a look at our tire.
I don’t know if it was the timing, our funeral attire, or the fact that we were just something different from the usual array of 18-wheelers and truckers that this shop attends to, but suddenly, we were surrounded by said truckers, one who looked just like Willie Nelson, only 200 pounds heavier. My husband got out and he and one of the mechanics were feeling around to find whatever it was that punctured our tire, but nothing was going. Water was suggested by my husband, and as it was poured over the tire in hopes of showing an air bubble somewhere, still nothing was happening. Someone mentioned it being Friday the 13th, but that date never held any credence with me.
I’ve never been the kind of woman that stands in the background while the ‘men’ work, unless I think they know what they’re doing or it looks really boring, so I was right up there in my Jones New York black slacks, with my black coat and my beautiful scarf. And it wasn’t until it was pronounced that there was no leak to be seen, when I noticed the tiniest of air bubbles and asked “what’s that?”
And sure enough, there was a small pinhole of a leak bubbling through the film of water. At that point, 4 pairs of eyes turned to me and one of the guys said, “damn, girl, you got good eyes.” The Willie Nelson heavyweight sipped his Starbucks while nodding in agreement and my husband looked at me with what I could only assume was pride. So I winked at him.
My husband looks good. And he had a haircut, so he looked especially good.
I didn’t mean to say that out loud.
Quickly, the tire was plugged and inflated and we were on our way again. And once we had gotten up to cruising speed, my husband took my hand and told me that was a pretty good catch on my part to find that little hole.
The full military funeral was quiet and respectful, with a 6-gun salute and the whole works. When taps were played, I almost cried. But then I got to thinking that this man lived a full and long life. He was in so much pain but he’s not anymore. He is at peace and his spirit is at rest.
I would have loved to to visit with them all afternoon, but my husband was tired besides, we can head back tomorrow morning.
Until tomorrow, my friends . . .