I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
Brandon got a new (used) car this past week. His 1990 Volvo was, literally, falling apart as he drove it.
“The exhaust system is held on with a coat hanger,” he told me once.
“The whole dashboard is lit up with warning lights,” he told me another time.
“I don’t think that’s a good thing,” I responded helpfully.
He found a good car with very low mileage on Craigslist. Bobby drove down to look at it and test drive it. He gave it two thumbs up. So, finally, Brandon consummated the deal on Wednesday. On Thursday I heard via the grapevine that he had driven his old not-so-trusty Volvo to work again. That night we got a call from him.
“Can I talk to Dad?” he asked, in a not-warm-fuzzy way. I can hear in their voices when they are unhappy. Brandon was short, curt, almost abrasive.
It turns out that he had a flat tire. As the story unfolded over the next two days, it turns out that the tire had cracked from the inside of the sidewall. His new (used) car with low mileage had probably been sitting undriven for some time, hence the brittle tire.
It was a bump in the road. We had extra tires here that were the right size. Bobby had him fixed up with little extra expense.
Deirdre came home from college Wednesday night so that she could attend an open house on Thursday at the school she is attending next year. She was alternately brave and terrified. She wouldn’t know anybody there. She wouldn’t know where to go. She worried and fretted over the whole thing before finally asking me to go with her. “That way I won’t just chicken out and sit in the car,” she told me.
She forwarded me the emails regarding the open house. “Transfer Student Open House” they proclaimed. “11 AM to 4 PM” read the time for the event. There was no detailed schedule, but the promise of campus tours, light refreshments, and the opportunity to meet others in your program all were boldly advertised.
Deirdre had a doctor’s appointment at 11 AM, then came home for lunch before we headed down to the Open House. It was about 1:30 PM when we arrived at the registration table.
“Are you here for the Open House?” a gentleman wearing a suit asked us.
“Yes,” we told him.
“And what is your intended major?” he asked.
Deirdre told him that she had been accepted into their nursing program, at which he blanched, then turned to a young woman beside him. “Take them immediately to Room 324,” he told her, before telling us with a politician’s smile, “You can register after the talk.”
“The talk,” as it turned out, had begun at 1 PM. We heard the last 3 minutes which could be encapsulated in the words, “Does anyone have any questions?”
“Well, that was a total waste of time,” Deirdre said, as we walked back to main hall for the Open House. We walked through the rows of tables set up by different student organizations and services. Whenever Deirdre stopped to talk with any of them, and they asked her what her major was going to be, she got the same response, “Whoa! That’s the hardest program at the school!” We also missed the last campus tour, which had left the Student Union at 2 PM.
By the time Deirdre got home, she was incredibly discouraged. “I missed out on the information session for my major and learned that I’m in the hardest course of study at the school,” she moaned. “It would have been better if I hadn’t gone at all.”
It was a bump in the road. “So what?” I tried to tell her. “You knew the nursing program was going to be hard, and you got see a little more of the campus.” She would have none of it though.
The last thing that happened was when we took Deirdre over to a neighboring town to meet her ride back to college. Fin drove. He just got his learner’s permit and loves to drive. As we pulled into a parking spot at the meeting place, suddenly the car lurched forward with sickening crunch.
Fin turned white as a ghost. “My foot slipped,” he said in a hoarse whisper.
I got out to assess the damages. He had pulled the front of the car over the little cement stopper that marks parking places in some lots. I had him back the car off it, didn’t immediately see anything gravely wrong, and turned my attention to seeing Deirdre off the school. Once she was safely settled with her ride, we went back to the car.
“I don’t want to drive,” he said, still a little pale and shaken.
I drove home. The car didn’t make any horrendous noises, nothing was leaking out of it, and it seemed to drive fine, so I told Fin that all was well.
When Bobby looked at it, of course he was more thorough in his assessment. “He broke the cowling,” he said. “Were there any pieces on the ground?” There was a pause, and then, “How did it happen again?”
This was not just a lurch in a parking lot, but a bump in the road. Still, it wasn’t the end of the world.
However, that doesn’t change the reality of peace and grace; therefore, we can really, even now, rejoice in God.
This morning, as Bobby and I sat to pray for our children and our day, he sighed. “I wish things weren’t so hard for the kids,” he said.
“It’s called life,” I told him. “It’s called growing up. They’ll be okay.”
“I know,” he said. “I just wish it were easier.”
Inspiration for this post came from today’s Daily Prompt: Third from the Top. “Head to “Blogs I Follow” in the Reader. Scroll down to the third post in the list. Take the third sentence in the post, and work it into your own.”
The third blog from the top in my reader was called “Stand and Rejoice” from Dena-Logia. The third line from it is set aside in my post.