Good Samaritans

It’s hard to live in the country without a truck. So we don’t. Our truck is over 20 years old, just getting broken in. It’s not the best looking truck around. Life on the farm has a way of leaving it looking somewhat…weathered.  But we love our old truck and we try to take care of it.

There’s no need to tell you all the reasons why we need a truck on the farm. They are probably the same reasons you bought yours. But there’s one reason above all others. Every ten days to two weeks, we load up the truck with trash and head to the transfer station for what my wife likes to call our “dump date.”

No one moves to the mountains for the shopping, the number and variety of  restaurants or the nightlife. We have an ample share of all those things for a small, rural area, but the truth is, people usually move here to escape the bustle of the cities and to enjoy nature.

That’s exactly why we live here, but every once in a while my wife gets her fill of nature and needs a change of scenery. Sometimes we run out of groceries or we have plenty of food and no one wants to cook. Now if any of those conditions coincide with an overabundance of trash, a dump date is born.

Last week we were on such a date. Having addressed the “dump” part of the outing, we were driving around, taking the scenic route and trying to decide if it was going to be fried chicken and beef tips, or a hand made burger or maybe even enchiladas for lunch. Of course you have to walk off a big lunch like that, and there are a number of good antique stores in the area that are perfect for improving one’s digestion.

Alas, this was not to be, for our dump date was destined to become what we like to call “adventure driving.” Adventure driving can happen at any time and in any place, and it can happen without warning. Fortunately for this adventure, we did have some warning in the form of a temperature gauge leaning much too far to the right as a very distinctive smell  accompanied the steam beginning to escape from under the hood.

I pulled the truck onto the shoulder of the nearest side road, popped the hood and discovered a pinhole in the radiator. Like many of my fellow old truck enthusiasts, I habitually carry a jug of antifreeze behind the seat, but that jug had been emptied and not replaced. The drive was threatening to turn from adventure to ordeal.

The sun was hot that day, but Fortune smiled on us and provided a large shade tree, the only one around in the field where we had landed. So we waited for the engine to cool and my wife, denied both a meal and a trip to the antique store, with her sharp eyes discovered that the gravel road where we were parked had been built through an old landfill which, after all the rain, was revealing a wealth of antique glass bottles.

While she contentedly set about looking for bottles, I did a quick check of the engine to see if there were any further complications.

We all have our idiosyncrasies. One of ours is water. We’re spoiled with good water at home, and if you get your water from a spring head or a well, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I think we could taste a single molecule of chlorine in a glass of water, and just about every restaurant I’ve ever been in, even the expensive ones, serve tap water. Why restaurants don’t invest in a water filter for their customers is a mystery to me. But because they don’t, we usually bring our own water from home when we go out to eat. There had been a slight miscommunication when we were getting ready for our trip so we had three thermos bottles of cold water in the truck.

This was just enough, pouring very slowly from the bottles, to begin cooling the engine down. But Fortune smiled on us again. I had just emptied the last bottle, (not nearly enough to fill the radiator) when out of nowhere a couple in a jeep appeared on our road and asked if we needed help. These Good Samaritans actually drove to at least two different places to bring us enough water to get back on the road.

We made it back to town just as the temperature gauge began to look worrisome again, and the third Good Samaritan of the day gave us a gallon jug of water for the radiator. Fortune was not done smiling on us, however. When we finally limped in to the repair shop, as busy as he was, the owner gave us a ride back home, miles away on the other side of the county.

We thought you might enjoy a reminder of the kind of place where we live, and the kind of people who live here. If you watch news or spend any time at all on social media, it’s easy to get the idea that the world is a rotten place. That just isn’t true. The fact is, all the crime, scandal and misfortune presented to us all day, every day, is the exception, and not the rule. Bad things happen, of course. But there is a lot more good than bad, especially here in our mountain home.








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