And still it rains. After a welcome break, with sunshine, today dawned dismal and damp, with rain threatening all day. Along with the general unpleasantness, it made everything muddy and slippery, and therein lies my tale.
My house was built in 1922 (some records say 1926, but I won’t quibble over four years). One of it’s less attractive features is a skinny driveway with a slight jog in it right by the electronic gate. There’s also a curb on the right side, by the house, and a stiff lip on the left by the grassy strip between my driveway and my neighbor’s. It’s never bothered me, but several of my friends are reluctant to drive up it, and I have one or two for whom attempting the feat is such a disaster I simply cook lunch for them when we want to visit.
Today I had lunch with a friend who can do the driveway, with some trepidation, but won’t go beyond the gate. For reasons too complicated to explain that makes it easier for her to pull into my neighbors’ drive to get me—they don’t mind, but their driveway is unpaved gravel. Today I got into the car and she put my walker in the trunk and came to get into the driver’s seat. I saw a brief flash of her and then nothing. I waited, thinking she’d gone back to close the trunk or some such. But it was too long, and I began to fear she’d fallen (she is a lady of some age, as am I). I began to review options, but there weren’t many.
The best seemed to be getting out of the car to check, making my way around it by holding on, and then calling 911. Helping her up was not something I could accomplish—one of those times when I wanted to roll things back to three years ago or so to when I was spry. As I considered that, she got into the car. She had indeed fallen and struggled to get up without putting pressure on her knee, surgically replaced about a year ago. When I told her my plan, she said, “The last thing I want is for you to have gotten out of the car.”
Tonight, my Wednesday dinner pal, Betty, and I went to dinner. We’ve been doing that for years. When we first started, I used to pick her up, but for a long time now, she’s picked me up. She drives in and out of the driveway with concentration but no problems. When we came home tonight, I watched her back out so that I could close the electronic gate when she was gone. But she didn’t go. She backed, and then came forward, backed and came forward, finally came forward and was apparently stuck. I could see that the headlights were at an angle. Nothing happened for a long time.
Once again, I railed against my lack of mobility. I watched and worried, finally saw Jordan go down the porch steps to help. Still nothing happened for what seemed an eternity. Then, finally, slowly, the car inched forward. With my mind that instantly goes to the worst disaster, I decided she had busted a tire on that concrete lip. But no, the car slowly righted itself and began to back up.
It turned out Jordan drove it out to the street. Betty had gotten one tire over the lip and into the mud between the two driveways. Every time she tried to accelerate, the tire couldn’t get any traction in the mud. Our neighbor came out (Betty nearly hit his car, don’t know if he knows that), put something under that wheel, and between him and Jordan they got the car back in the driveway.
Jordan came in saying, “We’ve got to get another light out there. I couldn’t see anything, and I know what’s there.”
All’s well that ends well. Everyone is safe and unhurt tonight, no cars are damaged, and the worst is that my lunch friend’s raincoat needs to go to the cleaners. But we will be putting another light in the driveway. Blessings on Jordan and Jim Carmical, our good neighbor.