i plead guilty to being one in the former group but as we bowed our head this thanksgiving day the wife and i have reason to send extra thanks along with our thrice annual, formal prayer of thanskgiving.
on the friday before thanksgiving, we were on our way to my sister's house for an extended holiday. zipping along at the newly posted 75 mph and thinking, as we cleared Gatesville, we'd be there soon. traffic on i-45 was as you might expect on a friday evening just past six. the sun had set. moving into the left lane to go around a semi, of a sudden there began and awful noise, instantly raising my antennae. the truck was covered by a tarp; i thought maybe what I was hearing was a loose tarp flapping at the speed limit. as we cleared the front of the truck the racket became worse. it was no tarp flapping that we were hearing but the sound of a catastrophic tire failure (a BLOWOUT to those of us of a different age). Somehow, at 75 mph, I managed to pass the truck, maneuver into the right lane and then onto the shoulder of the road without further calamity.
sitting there for a minute to digest what had just happened, to gather jangled nerves, the world continued to race past on the 45, at 75. getting out of the car to assess the situation i found the right front tire shredded. a goodyear integrity, with under 7500 miles on it, that had been rotated to the front just that morning before we set off. a call to the sister told her what had happened. did we want them to come? no, we'd be fine and we'd be there asap.
call it esp, or whatever you want, but i had put the emergency roadside kit from my truck in the wife's car before we left. the caution triangle on the side of the bag alerted oncoming traffic to our plight. what we did not have was a flashlight.
I had struggled for a long hour trying to lift the tire and snag the lugs in the semi-darkness. at last i agreed my wife could hail some assistance. amazingly a car stopped right away, at exactly that point, i lifted the wheel onto its mark as a figure began to shine a light on the task at hand. it was probably 10-15 seconds before i realized it was by b-in-law leaning in to help. with his assistance the spare affair was put behind us in short order and we were on our way.
i believe each of us has a guardian angel; at least one, perhaps more than one. i believe one of ours was riding in the semi that friday night, that somehow he saw the problem i was having and cleared the way for me to make our way from the left lane into the right and on to the side of the road without his scooping us up or me causing our car to crash. another came along in the form of my b-in-law who arrived just as i was reaching the limit of what is physically possible.
to both the trucker and t.c., and to our good lord, thanks seems woefully inadequate. stick around though just in case, but i hope we won't need you again, at least not anytime soon.