Sunday, July 31, 2005

Another Case of WHAT Were You Thinking!

We live in a country setting. We've got 80 acres, all wooded, and live next to hundreds and hundreds of acres of wooded state-owned property. There are small pockets of private property peppered throughout, 20 acres here, 40 there, even 2 acres. Our road is a dirt road, but it's right off from a major road. Not super secluded or anything. The major road is actually a state highway, 2 lanes heading East and 2 West, with a turn lane in the middle, so it's a large road & it gets a lot of traffic.

Our road is a nice straight, beautiful shot off the highway. Lined with wild flowers and lots of trees. From the highway to our driveway is mostly a nice, graveled dirt surface. Past our driveway is a covered tube over a creek, and then the road not-so-gradually deteriorates into a two-tracker, then into just a dirt track. Years and years ago, it was a main road... back when the only thing driving on it was a horse and wagon. But now, it is most definitely not meant for mainstream travel. For some reason, though, that road, er, that two-tracker, just calls out to some folks. It calls, "hey, dummy, c'mon and try me." And they listen. They ignore the "No Outlet" sign. They listen, like this:

It's a beautiful Summer day, hot, but not too hot. Mid-afternoon, driving my big, white Envoy. 4-Wheel drive, you betcha. I'm a quite overweight woman around 30+ years of age (old enough to know better), and I've got my 5-year-old son with me. He is utterly adorable and has the biggest blue eyes in the world. My son and I have just come from the airport, where we've dropped off Daddy (who is leaving for a couple of months because he was called up for duty, as he's in the Navy). We're both feeling kinda sad, so I decide to do some muddin' just to cheer us up! Yeeha! What, that mud hole is no problem for me and my big SUV.

What in the hell was she thinking??!!! No cell phone and no money on her. Just her and her young son. And, as I was to discover, no one, I repeat NO ONE, she can call to help get her Envoy unstuck. She lives in a town nearby, and her in-laws live there, but she refused to call them. I think she thought they'd get angry with her. (Maybe it was their Envoy!) She hemmed and hawed, and just didn't know who to call. And here I sit with a Chevy pickup in the driveway. I think she thought if she stood there long enough, I'd pull her out. Ain't gonna happen, sweetie. I explained that both my husband and I decided long ago, after more than a couple of very bad experiences, never to pull anyone out of that mud hole again. Ever. I said our truck was new enough not to want to wreck it on pulling out every fool that walked up our driveway, no offense. My helpful young son mentioned our tractor, at which the young mother's eyes lit right up, but after darting the evil eye at my son, I explained to her that our tractor wasn't purchased for pulling out stuck vehicles either. I further explained that this decision was based not only on our desire to keep our property in fine condition, but also in light of today's litigious society, we just don't tow anyone. I also explained that my husband, who has to work a midnight shift, was currently sleeping, and I wasn't waking him.

I gave her a couple of suggestions as to who to finally call, and she eventually got a towing company to agree to pull her out. Not very many of them will handle an off-road call. I think it cost her a bundle, though. The guy told her minimum $85 and that was if she wasn't very far into the mud. I'm guessing it cost her about $200, because that foolish woman was way, way into that humongous mud hole. The tow truck driver had to wade through mud for sure, and dig into it to get to her undercarriage, because she had mud past her bumper.

One look at that mud hole, and I would have turned around. She should have. No phone and no money, and no one to call anyway, after a hot more than half-mile walk back to our house. Her son heard her tell the tow truck driver that they would start walking back to their vehicle and meet him there, and he became very upset. They were both dripping in muddy sweat when they came up to my door, and he didn't want to walk back... and I didn't blame him! We gave them a ride back to their Envoy, which was the least we could do. I have to admit, I felt so bad not helping her, especially with her husband in the Navy. But, after living here for about 20 years, not pulling anyone out is an unbreakable family rule.

I wish I had a buck for every person, drunk, stoned or just plain foolish, that's come up on my porch in their muddy footwear asking to use my phone.

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