Few things scare me more than the prospect of being stranded on the side of the road, so I take as many precautions as I can to avoid this.. I pack blankets, a flashlight, snacks, water, an extra cell phone, charger and a first aid kit "just in case." But nothing can prepare me for or do much to assist me when I get a flat tire. I am pretty much at the mercy of Life.
It was just a little past sundown when I felt that left rear tire blow. Eric Clapton's "Layla" was playing on the radio and since I use that song as my personal 'everything's gonna be alright' song--I wasn't worried. It didn't matter that I was on the ten-mile stretch of country road known as 'Ailor Gap' or that cell phone service there was impossible. I wasn't worried. Sure, I was all alone on a 'road less traveled' but I wasn't worried. I'd be alright.
I guess I did what everyone does in that situation. I checked the trunk to make sure I had a spare tire that was in good condition and the jack I'd need to change the flat. Of course after I checked, I was in no better shape--I can't change a tire by myself! But still, I wasn't worried. I'd be alright.
I was getting cold, there was still a lot of snow on the ground from a few days ago and I was approximately three miles from what we call around here 'the main road' and cell phone service.
'So where should they find the body?' I thought. My dark humor was starting. Should it be found in the car with all my goodies or found on the road somewhere? That's when I saw him.
Great. "Body found in the car" it is.
Remember the Burt Reynolds's movie, "Deliverance"? Two so-called hillbillies descend from the woods in one scene before the infamous encounter with Ned Beatty. That is exactly what flashed in my mind when this figure appeared in my field of vision. I decided to pretend I hadn't noticed him because I was on the phone. He wouldn't know about the lack of service, right? This ruse was going to get me back in the car so I could lock it and allow me to seem completely unaware of his presence. He'd think I was calling for help. I'm a little worried. But I'd be alright.
I watched him come down the mountain, through the snow and grass while I spoke to nobody on a dead phone. He was the Grizzly Adams of 'The Walking Dead' complete with limp and he was headed my way. Whatever he was carrying in his left hand could easily smash the windows of my car if that's what he wanted to do with it. As he got closer, I noticed what he was carrying was a backpack. Great. He's carrying a 'kill kit.' I thought.
He came to my side of the car and without a visible tooth in his mouth said, "I'm gonna fix your 'tar,' okay?" Since I could pop the trunk safely from the inside, I did...and prayed.
After about fifteen minutes and remembering every self-defense class I'd ever taken, I noticed this strange man was now walking through the grass and back into the woods. He had changed the tire and went on his way without another word to or "Thank you" from me.
As I drove safely home, I wondered where "Mountain Man" lived, how had he seen me? Then another thought came to me. Why had he taken the chance and helped me?
I'm glad he wasn't as judgmental as I had been!