Sunday, June 29, 2003

Looking Into The Sky For Answers: Part Two
Copyright (c) 2003 Allen Steadham

It was dark by the time the van from the orphanage arrived. The people who came to our rescue had brought more sophisticated tools and were experienced mechanics that knew this car. They even brought a battery-powered generator and lights. I remember thinking that I didn’t care that none of them spoke English, I was impressed with the way they got down to business with that car! Soon, we would be able to continue on our way home, I thought.

But as time went on, something didn’t feel right. I became antsy and pretty agitated as we got closer and closer to our “freedom.”

You need to call home, an inner voice said to me. You need to put aside your pride and ask your folks for help.

I paced back and forth a while, not wanting to let go of hope. I really wanted to believe that Bill and I could get home on our own.

The voice and the nervousness persisted.

You need to do it. You may not get another chance. You’d better call home now!

Scared by the thoughts, I walked up to one of the gas station pay phones, chucked my pride with a sigh and called my parents collect. My mom answered the phone. I told her what had happened and that I needed help. Clearly startled by the news, she put my dad on the phone for me to repeat my story. While I heard disappointment in his voice, I also heard relief that I had turned to them for help and compassion for my predicament. Dad told me he would come pick us up the next day if we could just get back to the orphanage. I agreed.

I went over to Bill and explained what I had done. I asked him if we could head back to the orphanage and await our pending rescue. Looking back on the situation, I think he was as relieved as I was. Had we had more problems several hundred miles down the road, it’s unlikely the mechanics from Fabens would have come to help us. We committed to the rescue plan instead.

That turned out to be wise, as 30 miles into our return trip, the warning light came back on to let us know the engine was overheating again. Now going on 44 hours without sleep, we stopped the car and took a much-needed nap of about 30 minutes or an hour (I honestly don’t remember which). When we woke up, the overheat light stayed off for about 10 minutes before flaring to life again. Realizing the prospect of another stop-and-go journey, we decided to take our chances and just keep on going.

About 10 miles from the orphanage with the overheat light still glaring at us in neon red, the tailpipe fell down with a thud and began dragging rather noisily on the ground. Please keep in mind that it was welded together and had previously only been held up by chicken wire.

We kept on racing along, sparks flying and engine overheating, even driving across a field to try and knock the tailpipe off (sleep deprivation is the inventor of many odd thought processes). Finally, at 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning, we limped into the orphanage parking area, tailpipe still dragging. We found some empty beds and collapsed.

If only that were the end of the story… (To Be Concluded)

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