“Do you hear that sound?”
Oldest looks at me while turning down the radio. “That high-pitched whine?”
I nod and check the gages. Nothing strange.
“Pull over and I’ll check the fluids.”
I find a spot to stop and pop the hood so my thirteen-year-old son can check the car. “Everything seems okay.”
“We’ll have dad check it when we get home.” I’ve come to expect maintenance with a car nearing 300,000 miles. At this point we just want to see how long we can keep it going.
We continue on our way. Fifteen miles from home the battery light comes on, Then the needle on the battery gage plummets toward empty.
Oldest looks worried. “I bet it’s the alternator.”
“Call your dad and let him know that he might have to come get us.”
The conversation is limited and Oldest hangs up with a tense look on his face.
“How long do we have without the alternator?”
“He doesn’t know.”
I pretend that everything is fine, ignoring the tightness in the steering wheel when I change lanes. I chat up Oldest, attempting to keep him from constantly checking my gages.
The exit to our house comes into view. We make it up to the intersection and everything dies. Oldest helps me wrench the steering wheel to the right where a gravel turnoff sits empty.
Oldest pops the hood and jumps back as boiling radiator fluid spurts out of it’s reservoir. We start calling home but no one answers.
Oldest is pacing. “Why aren’t they picking up?”
“They must be in the back pasture.”
Fifteen minutes later, we finally reach Hubs. Oldest and I sit in the trunk of the SUV singing Bottles of Beer on the Wall waiting for Hubs to retrieve us.
Four hours and two trips to the auto parts store later, Hubs has fixed the car on the side of the road. He reports that we suffered more than one catastrophic failure under the hood but all is well.
Me? I’m just thankful for the three good Samaritans that stopped to see if we needed help.
It’s a true relief when you realize the large man walking toward you wearing an enormous horse’s head is not attempting to rob you but is offering you his services as a mechanic.
We politely declined.