I’ve been thinking (and DS2 would say that’s a dangerous thing for me to do) that most of the chapters I write are about the bad times and there have been good times, too. The other day, I was listening to the Sabbath School discussion group on Pine Knoll and Jonathan Gallagher said something like, “A story without conflict isn’t very interesting.” That isn’t a direct quote but just the gist. It made me feel better. Now back to my tale of woe…
It was early 1998 and here I was, “stove up” as my mother would say. I couldn’t do much of anything without sitting down and resting between activities. I did manage to drive us to church the last Sabbath DD would be home. Several people expressed their sympathy for my condition but one person took it upon himself to do more than just talk.
Remember the “Captain“? He believes in action, not just words. He told me if we would meet him on the appointed day, he would see to it that we got to the airport on time. What a relief! We decided when and where and then we went home to spend a quiet Sabbath afternoon. I thanked the Lord for providing a kind person to help me in my Time of Need.
The dreaded day came. I wasn’t ready for DD to leave but it had to be. She was packed and loaded before I knew what was happening. All I had to do was put myself in the car and we were off.
As planned, we met the Captain several miles north of town at a little store with a minuscule parking area. That was where I left my car for most of the day.
DD sat in the back seat of the Captain’s roomy car and I was in the passenger’s seat in the front. The Captain is a big man and he drives a big car. It was much more comfortable that when we went car-shopping.
There wasn’t any lag in the conversation. DD and I didn’t have to do any more than respond to questions and comments. The time passed quickly and we were at the airport much too soon.
This was in the days of simple flying. There was no searching of luggage or a thorough search of the person. She checked her bags (at no extra charge) and we were able to go clear to the gate with her. I was close to being flat broke but I managed to give her $5. The Captain took some money out of his pocket and peeled off a $20 and handed it to her. When I said I would pay him back, he said nothing doing—it was a gift.
We sat down to wait for the boarding call and it was all I could do to keep from dissolving in a puddle of tears. When it came, I hugged DD and she went to stand in line. I couldn’t keep from crying any longer. I didn’t wail but I felt like it. Fortunately, the Captain has a wife and four daughters (and two sons) so he wasn’t embarrassed by my display of emotion.
I watched as DD walked out of sight and we stayed until the plane taxied out of sight to the runway.
On the way back to the car, I did some more crying. It seemed I had an endless supply of tears. I knew I looked awful. I’m not a person who cries attractively. My nose turns red. My eyes get puffy. My mouth assumes an odd shape. I sniffle and snort. But I didn’t care. My little girl was all grown up and off on her own.
It’s kind of tricky getting away from the airport and out to the Interstate but the Captain drives everything from tractors to buses and 18-wheelers so it was no problem for him. We were soon underway.
We’d had to leave early in the day and there had been no time to eat before DD’s flight. He suggested Shoney’s for breakfast. That was fine with me. At the time, I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian and Shoney’s breakfast bar had all sorts of food I could eat. My appetite had come back with a vengeance and I was ready.
The breakfast bar was still set up and I loaded my plate with grits, eggs, hash browns, and biscuits (with butter and jelly, of course). I had a smaller plate with some fruit. My beverage of choice was hot tea. I’d been an iced tea drinker until my sister-in-law told me how good hot tea was. I tried it and I liked it. At home, I drank it with honey and milk but at Shoney’s it was sugar and milk.
I was still feeling down because of DD’s leaving and the Captain was doing his best to try to cheer me up. He said something funny and I couldn’t keep from smiling.
It was then I realized we weren’t the only ones from our neck of the woods in the restaurant. A woman I knew from town was at the next table. She came over and gave me a look and said, “Hi, Tommie! What are you two doing here?” That’s when I thought it might look a little like what it wasn’t. We explained that, since I had been sick so recently, the Captain had taken DD to the airport and, as her mother, I had come along. For some reason, I felt a little guilty like I’d been caught but it was all the truth.
We finished our breakfast and took to the road again. My little car was where I’d left it and I got in and drove home. He would never hear of my paying him back or even helping with the gas. He was (and still is) a Good Samaritan.
Much too soon, I had to go back to work. It was kind of a relief to get away from the empty house, though.
To get enough energy to get going in the morning, I would fix my usual cuppa tea. I preferred Earl Grey. I loved the flavor of the bergamot orange oil. Since there wasn’t enough “oomph” in a regular cup of tea, I’d make a “two-bagger”. That would eventually run out, though, and I started a new habit of drinking a Sundrop or two later in the day.
I’d been under a great deal of stress. There was some reorganization going on and there were two in my department I had to lay off. There were other headaches that came with my job but those times were the worst.
One day, I got my usual Sundrop and popped the top. I took a swig and doubled over in pain. Now what??