Triple A to The Rescue
I walked out the door on time today. That is always a challenge for me.
I was still late to my meeting.
The car wouldn’t start!
A dead battery was suspected, so my husband drove me to my destination.
Then, when I got home I made a call to old and trusted friend,
They saved the day again.
Thank goodness I could call you when I needed you.
I owe you a lot, Triple A.
How Triple A First Came into My Life
Back in late ’80s, I was a single mom living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One day, I had one of those mornings that began with a very bad start. I had an early morning appointment at the hospital for an outpatient surgical procedure. When I got outside to leave, I discovered that my car had a flat tire. A friend was scheduled to bring me home from the hospital, but that friend was at work and would not be able to help me with the flat tire. I had no idea what to do. I couldn’t change the tire. Everyone I knew was working.
So, knowing full well there was absolutely nothing he could do about the situation, I called my dad. He lived over three hundred miles away. But, he was the one I called and cried into the phone, “Daddy, my tire is flat and I have to be at the hospital in half an hour. I don’t know what to do.”
Daddy knew just what to do. He called Triple A, signed me up for a membership, and sent them out to the house to fix my tire. He then paid my membership for the next year because he didn’t want me stranded with no one to help me. It was good to have someone to call when I had trouble with that old car of mine.
Triple A to The Rescue Again
In 1991, I was shocked one day when I received a telephone call at work from my old high school sweetheart. He said he had recently gone through a divorce and wondered if I’d like to go to lunch. It had been thirty years since we had dated, but he had always held a special place in my heart because he was such a dear, kind, and giving friend and sweetheart. In the thirty years since we had dated, we both had married others, but through friends, we always knew something of each other’s lives.
Back in 1991, I had been single for ten years and had finally become quite independent, but I also still drove a very old Ford Fairmont, so I always kept up my trusty Triple A membership.
Jim, newly divorced, driving the old car that he was left with after his divorce, drove forty miles from Pueblo, Colorado, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to take me, his old love from back in the early 60’s, to lunch. I guess he was pretty nervous about the trip, and about taking me out again after all those years, so he drove up the highway with his lights on even though it was was broad daylight.
At noon, Jim picked me up at my house and off we went for lunch at the Olive Garden. We had a delightful time at lunch catching up on the past thirty years. He hadn’t changed a bit. He was still that kind, loving, giving, successful, funny, and charming person I had adored as a teenager.
After a long lunch, we headed out to his car so he could take me back home. That is when he discovered the battery to his car was dead. He’d neglected to turn off his car lights and they had remained on during our long lunch. The poor guy looked like he was going to die when he realized his car battery was totally dead on his first date with a woman he hadn’t seen for thirty years.
“No problem,” I said. “I have Triple A.” We’ll just go over to the mall and find a phone and call them to come and help.” (Those were the days before cell phones!) So, that’s what we did. Soon, Triple A came to the rescue.
Later, Jim, with that twinkle in his eye, would always tell everyone that on that day he decided for sure he was going to marry me. “She had Triple A. I thought that would be a good thing to have.”
Thanks Triple A for always coming to the rescue, and for landing me a man!
The photo: Jim and Sally, 1992
To Whom Do You Call When You Need A Friend?
As I reminisced about how the courtship between my husband and myself began with Triple A, I also started thinking of my dear daddy and how he was always there for me for so many years when I needed him.
My father and I in 1945
I then thought about the time seventeen years ago, when I got the call that he needed me. In 2001 and 2002 for about six months, from June or July until the next March, my father had really gone down hill physically once shingles attacked his aging body the summer before his death. I had gone over earlier that summer and that was when I had to have
talk with him.
You know the talk that takes place between adult children and their parents when suddenly one feels like the parent instead of the child. Daddy was in so much pain from the shingles. He had diabetes, and he wouldn’t eat. He was miserable. My poor mother was getting nowhere with him. He was stubborn, and he was not being cooperative. Finally, I told him I was taking him to the hospital if he didn’t eat. He must have believed me because he started drinking his Ensure. He knew I was as stubborn as he was. I’d learned that trait from the best of them. He knew I’d take him to the hospital if I felt it was necessary, and he didn’t want to go.
When my husband and I went over for Christmas later that year, I was shocked at how frail he had become since my last visit that had occurred just before school had started that fall. When we left for home at Christmas, I told my dear daddy “I’ll try to be back over during Spring Break.”
In March of 2002, my mother called on a Thursday and asked, “Are you on Spring Break?” “No, Mother, not until next week.” “She said, “The doctor just put your father in the hospital and he’s asking for you. He wants you to come. You’re the one he’s asking for.”
Needless to say, as soon as I could wrap up the finals I was grading, I made my way to his bedside which was six hours away. He passed away on the next Monday, which happened to be the first day of Spring Break. I’ve always believed that my father hung on as his life was slipping away so that I wouldn’t have to take off from work to be at his bedside.
He was like that. He had a heart that looked out for others. He was one of the most giving persons I ever knew. I always knew I could count on my father. He could be generous to a fault when he saw a need. I remember as he was dying in the hospital that he heard one of the nurses telling how she had cancer and was working because she needed the insurance. We thought my father was asleep while the nurse talked to us about hospice. When she left the room, my father spoke to my mother, “Mother, make sure you find out that nurse’s name and write her a check.”
I think the self confidence that others have always said I have comes from my father’s influence in my life. He taught me so much about life. I think it was his love and knowing he would be there for me and that he was very proud of me that caused me to have the confidence to accomplish whatever goals I have reached in my life. He was always my best champion.
The above photo of my father, my mother, and I was taken in 1987 when I was awarded my first college degree, a BS in Business Administration. Later I would earn a BA in English and a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language. My father was always my best champion and the one who always inspired me to reach the goals I had for myself.
Whenever I call Triple A for any reason, I think of my father and his gift of calling Triple A to help me when I needed a tire changed on a day that was already stressed filled, and on a day when I couldn’t find anyone to help me change a tire. Beyond making that call, my father then paid a membership for a continued source of help for one year when I never would have had the money to pay the membership myself.
I think one the most important gifts my father ever gave me was a belief in myself when it came to solving life’s problems and dealing with hard things along the way. It was from him that I learned to “keep my head together” while I went into “problem solving mode.” He always told me, “you have a good head on your shoulders.”
He was that one that I knew would be there for me no matter what. In that helping, thankfully, he wasn’t one to rescue me. He didn’t open up his checkbook and help me out of tight spots. He was a generous man, but also was a wise man that knew I would figure out how to make it on my own and would be stronger and better for it. His belief in me was the impetus that gave me confidence throughout the entire time he was on this earth. His belief in me is still carried in that special place in my heart that is reserved for a daughter's love for her daddy. I knew he was proud of me, and that he knew he meant the world to me.
I think he would be one of my best blog readers. He loved to write. He loved a good story. He was a great storyteller. I learned to love reading and writing from him. I wish I had told him more often how much he meant to me.
After my father’s death, my mother gave me all the cards and letters I’d sent him over the years. He’d kept them all. He even had saved my elementary school report cards. He showed me just by saving all those things how much he loved me.
One other thing about my dad, he taught me to be tough when I needed to be. He taught me to stand up for myself.
He knew life would not be fair. He’d seen me through a great betrayal, and I think he knew I would have more great betrayals in my life. I think of him when I think of these words from a song called: You’ve Got A Friend,
People can be so cold,
They’ll hurt and desert you. Well they’ll take your soul if you let them,
Yeah, but don’t you let them.
He always encouraged me to be my own person and to think for myself. He challenged me to be thinker and not a follower. He taught me not to let others treat me with disrespect.
He also taught me about grace because I saw him live it out in the declining years of his life.
My dad has been gone for many years now, but just by pulling out my Triple A card today when the car wouldn’t start, I am reminded again of the many of the gifts he gave me.
And, now, thanks to me making that call to Triple A on that first date the second time around with my husband, I have another of the dearest men to call.
Jim, my dear high school sweetheart from long ago, has always shown me a special kind of love. This poor man gets so many calls from me. Whenever, I need him, I call. He is always there. Always. My once strong self-confidence was rocked to the core after the death of my daughter nearly a decade ago. Suffering from PTSD that is common to survivors of suicide, I have sometimes been racked by anxiety. Only my husband knows how much I suffer, and only my husband can calm me down when I need calming down the most.
He is the one I call out to in the middle of the night, or when I am driving down the road, or sitting next to in the living room. He is the one I call when I need him to talk me through my times of anxiety and stress. He is the calm, kind, voice of reason. No one knows how many times he has sat with me in the middle of the night when I have had an anxiety attack or when my heart has gone into wild arrhythmia and is racing at 150 beats a minutes and won’t slow down.
Thankfully, in the years since my daughter’s death, anxiety has nearly completely disappeared in my life, only to be replaced by new concerns that we both have to address. Still, Jim is always there when I call day or night.
I don’t know what I would do without his kindness, his wisdom, his support, his love. I don’t know what I’d do if he weren’t there for me. He is the friend that knows me better than anyone knows me. He is the one that is straight with me in a firm and loving way. He is the one to whom I call, and he has never let me down. Thank you Jim for being there. I love you.
And, thank you Daddy, for being there for me too, and for getting me that first Triple A card.
To whom do you call when you need a friend?