By Emily Lundy
This may be public information, but if it is not, I’ll tell it. Not every woman, normal in all ways with good vision and no discernible sickness, wants to drive a car. Some do not ever learn; others may wait until midlife to learn and really enjoy it.
I was born to drive but had little opportunity as girls in my “time” seldom had their own cars as teens. I drove the family car and would not have thought of making jokes or slurs about this auto, not even the Edsel we had for a year which I backed into a tree and dented the ugly trunk top. Or maybe it was that long grey and blue Nash Dad found at a bargain.
But even though I often drove, I was above the maintenance of a car. That was a man’s job, his natural expertise. I would pay extra today to have an attendant put gas in my car and clean my windshield. If the day is cold and windy, and I need to go somewhere but have to get fuel first, I don’t go anywhere.
Magic is supposed to keep gas in the tank. I’ve run out so many times now while in lonely places, I know I have to check the tank reading first. This started the day after I left my house in a car on “empty” and went too low to move not once, but twice. Unbelievable, inexcusable.
One morning one of my daughters and I drove to Canton to check on a four-legged tub. Between Bethel and any sign Canton might be near, I lost driving power. I was able to pull off Highway 19. My cell phone had no power. We saw few other cars and not many abodes on mostly pastureland.
The daughter put the hazard lights on and raised the hood of the car. I had a paper cup of diet-cola and began walking for the nearest dwelling with hope of using a phone. I walked north a few yards while my co-driver stayed in the car. Here coming toward me was a pickup with two people inside. They passed me, then turned around and came to check out our problem. The couple, man and wife, plus big black dog said they’d take me to Canton, get gas, and bring me back.
Of course I was apprehensive, not thinking carefully, and I took money from my daughter, crawled into the front seat with the driver, the wife. We began chatting immediately. But then she swung into a turn and started back toward Athens. My daughter said she whispered “Bye, Mama” as we rode by her.
We three rode to a building a mile south where a gas can awaited us. Then back we went toward Canton without my use of some tricks I was going to use if I had to – pass out, fake or not a convulsion, and more.
The couple talked to me all the way to the gas station. We laughed some. The man took my $5, filled the portable tank, and we were back to my car in no time. I tried to give them money I still had, but the man angered and said I could repay by helping someone else along the way.
With relief, the daughter and I went on to Canton, ate lunch with the money no one wanted, and started home. I was thinking erroneously $5 of gas was five gallons and knew my car had good gas mileage.
Soon we were in Malakoff. I drove through the commercial lane of the bank I use, and the car went dead, from lack of fuel. My daughter was getting hysterical.
I told the woman in the car behind me that I wouldn’t be moving. She did not want to push me out of the lane.
I went into a service station nearby and used the phone to call my husband to come get me. The owner of this station heard my message and told two young men to go push my car out of its lane and into a parking lot. Shortly my husband was there to rescue us. It didn’t seem the right time to tell him about not making it to Canton the first try.