Only in a Small Town

I was returning from a Kiwanis meeting at Camp Wawbeek on February 8th. My husband and I had taken separate cars since he wanted to attend a boy scout meeting, and I wanted to return home and type up the meeting notes for the newsletter before I forgot them.

The rural Wawbeek road was plowed, but narrow. Thinking the exit gate would be closed, I chose to return the way I had come. That was my first mistake. I was on a narrow stretch near a steep embankment when I met a car. My second mistake was to pull off too far resulting in the right tires slipping off the edge of the road.

Trying to “rock it out” by reversing and pulling ahead only caused the car to slide farther off the edge and sink in deeper. I got out and now made my third mistake. I looked down the steep bank. If the car tumbled, it would hit trees—Bam!! —bounce off to hit more trees and either get hung up or crash all the way to the creek below.

I tried to “rock” myself out one more time. Whirrr-whirr! My hopes, along with my spinning tires, only sank deeper.

Enter the first of my superheroes. The other driver, the mother of a large family but someone who still devotes many hours to scouting, had seen I was in trouble, and had stopped. “I’m afraid you’re going to slide off further,” she said. “Let me go get help.”

I watched her taillights disappear. The road and woods were ominously dark. I dug out gloves and a hat, guarding against the extreme cold. I was alone on a dark, rural road stamping my feet to keep them warm, not knowing if my car was going to slide off an embankment. Long minutes passed.

But then, out of the dark, loomed the headlights of a 4-wheel drive pickup. Two more superheroes, my husband, Frank, and one of the boy scout’s leader, Jeremy, roared up. True to the scout motto of being prepared, Jeremy dug out a tow strap. After long minutes of searching, they hooked it to the back metal frame planning to pull it out backwards. Jeremy got in his truck, I stood back, and Frank climbed in my car. He started it, put it in reverse, and I held my breath.

Jeremy pulled ahead. His truck roared as its tires dug into the snow-packed road. But my car skidded and slid farther over the edge. Visions of my husband being in the car as it rolled and crashed and banged its way down made me yell, “Stop!” 

Jeremy had already realized the problem and shut off the engine. This was too risky. We needed professional help.

Jeremy gave my husband and me a lift back to our other car. Frank and I returned to our house, which was only a few minutes away. I was about to call AAA again, but my husband stopped me. “Let’s call Platt’s Garage.”

Even though it was evening, a man answered at once. He said he would deliver it to our driveway. 

Meanwhile, I printed off a AAA reimbursement form and watched out the window. Would he truly be able to find the car on the isolated road, successfully pull it out, and find our house among the many others in the subdivision on this dark night?

Minutes later, I heard a rumbling. Red tow lights flashed in the night. My husband and I stepped outside. The tow truck driver expertly backed up and seconds later my car rested safely in the driveway.

“Here you go,” superhero #4 called through his open window. “Nothing’s damaged but your pride.”

I blinked, shook my head, and smiled. Only in small town USA.

2 Replies to “Only in a Small Town”

Gayle Rosengren

Sweet! Makes me want to move to Small Town USA “where everybody knows your name” and is ready to lend a helping hand to their neighbor.

Amy Laundrie

Ah, I miss that great show, Cheers, where everyone did know each other’s names–and more besides. (A possible disadvantage to living in a small town.)

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