Friday, July 24, 2009

Transportation Trauma

So the last few weeks have involved quite the drama in the realm of transportation in our family. Here's a synopsis. Try to keep up.

1. My mother's car died.

2. My mother borrowed my brother Joshua's car while he was out of town.

3. Joshua's car had a broken inside door handle, so Mama had to roll down the window and use the outside handle to open the door.

4. Mama had to wait a few minutes each time before the window "felt like" being rolled up again.

5. While in Joshua's car, Mama was sitting right next to a van that was rammed into from behind by an 18-wheeler. Glass shattered and rained all over Joshua's car. But that was nothing. The family of four in the van were all killed. (Please note: I am in no way writing this part flippantly. It was a horrific tragedy.)

6. Joshua came back in town and, therefore, needed his car.

7. Planning to let Mama use our 13-year-old Geo Prizm, Kevin took the car to get an oil change.

8. The Geo broke down on the way to get the oil changed.

9. After the Geo was repaired, we handed it over to Mama. We were now down to one vehicle--our van.

10. While driving in downtown Jackson, Kevin and Uncle Rico (our dog) were hit by a woman driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

11. The woman got out of her car crying, "Oh, Lord, why did I have to drive the wrong way?! Why did this have to happen?!," etc., to which the officer exclaimed, "Ma'am, God didn't make you drive the wrong way down a one-way street."

12. No one was hurt, but the van was totaled.

13. The woman didn't have insurance. Awesome. (To be read with sarcasm.)

14. We borrowed Kevin's brother's vehicle for a couple of days.

15. Then we borrowed Kevin's mother's car.

16. While driving to the bank one day, a bunch of lights came on on the dashboard of Kevin's mother's car.

17. One shop said it was the alternator. "$600, please."

18. We took it somewhere else.

19. "The alternator's fine. No charge." We took the car home. No more lights on the dashboard.

20. Meanwhile, we're shopping for a new-to-us van.

21. Kevin and I drove to Birmingham to look at a few. Randomly, a friend of ours loaned us his GPS for our trip.

22. First we drove a Mazda MPV, which is what we had and loved. We thought we'd probably buy this one but decided to look at another van before making our final decision.

23. We drove a Honda Odyssey and liked it better than the MPV.

24. Kevin and I talked about it over a Coke and chocolate chip cookies at McDonald's in Springville, Alabama.

25. The small-town car dealer, his dad, and his two young sons were sitting only a couple of tables away from us. They pretended not to see us.

26. We drove down the street and hijacked somebody's wireless internet service so that we could do some last-minute further research.

27. We decided we'd make an offer on the Odyssey. We stopped and prayed that God would keep us from making an unwise decision. But it would need to be a fast intervention, since we were only a few buildings away from the car dealership.

28. Thirty seconds later, Kevin's dad called.

29. Kevin's dad is notorious for the in-depth researching of cars.

30. We got nervous, even though we had asked for this divine intervention.

31. His dad said to go for it.

32. Our eyes got big, and we shrugged our shoulders.

33. We went for it.

34. We now own a Honda Odyssey!

35. Kevin started the drive home in the van; I started my drive to a destination in the opposite direction in Kevin's mom's car.

36. Thirty minutes later, the car I was driving shut down. Literally shut down.

37. I coasted into the parking lot of Robin Hill Memorial Baptist Church somewhere outside of Oneonta, Alabama. Basically the middle of nowhere.

38. Trying not to panic--particularly since I had not been able to get a phone signal in this area earlier that day--I attempted to call Kevin.

39. Kevin answered the phone. PRAISE GOD!!!

40. Kevin made a U-turn.

41. I sat on the front porch of this church building, made myself breathe, prayed, read a chapter in my book, and watched a shirtless 10-year-old boy drive past me on a four-wheeler several times. Not one person stopped to ask me why I was sitting there.

42. An hour later, my knight in shining armor (yes, Kevin) came to my rescue! He was able to jump-start the car.

43. The randomly-borrowed GPS gave us directions to the nearest Auto Zone, which thankfully stayed open till 9:00. It was already after 7:00.

44. The car needed a new alternator. (You might remember this from #16-19.)

45. Since it was after 7:00, and we were in Oneonta, Alabama, all mechanics had called it a night.

46. All but one, that is.

47. The guy at Auto Zone told us about Phillip, who has a big building next to his house and works on cars late into the night. We'd have to drive 15 minutes even further out into nothingness. But he'd take care of us.

48. Hmmmm . . .

49. We drove to Phillip's place.

50. Phillip is probably the kindest and most entertaining mechanic you'll ever meet. He and his assistant David worked for a long time to get the hard-to-reach alternator out of the Accord, all the while telling humorous stories and offering us a Dr. Pepper. It did take a while, but he got the job done. And he only wanted a little bit of money for his effort. The man had really helped us out, so we were glad to give him more than he asked for.

51. It's been a week since our last negative encounter with a vehicle.

52. Yes, I'm praying!

53. Since Kevin was at no fault for the wreck, our insurance company is covering everything, including our deductible!!! Definitely an answer to one of those prayers.


laurie said...

Ugh - that is so stressful. Hurray for the Honda Odyssey! Hopefully, the car hex has ended.

The Glenn Gang said...



That family of four is my cousins family. VERY Sad story. Well, I assume that is the same family? Happen in Magee?

Carrie Bevell Partridge said...

Yes, it was in Magee--at the light in front of Wal-Mart on Hwy. 49.

Lisa said...

My cube neighbor lives in Oneonta, AL to be more exact Walnut Grove, AL - when he gets off the phone I will see if he is related to Phillip (yes I said related b/c if he knows him then he is related) :)

Carrie Bevell Partridge said...

His business card reads "Mad Dog," if that helps.

Jen said...

Oh my, Carrie - my goodness. What a story... Prayers to the family of four's family, and to your mom - what a horrific thing to witness.

Thanksgivings for you and your week of no-breakdown-luck - hopefully that luck has continued and will do so for the forseeable future.

My goodness.

Angela said...

Oh my word. Somehow I missed all of the details of this story whenever we were together that weekend.

Carrie Bevell Partridge said...

It was too much to go into. :)