A feeling of community pulls in while stuck on the side the road
A couple weeks back, I was driving down 80th toward Evart with my Dearly Beloved and our son.
We were returning from a quick trip to Cadillac, and were humming along toward home with me at the wheel.
Suddenly, the right front tire blew out ... rather impressively.
Blew out big time.
Our car immediately pulled dramatically to the right, but I managed to keep things under control.
(Actually, truth be known, I managed things pretty dang good considering the suddenness of the “happening” and the extent of damage to the tire.)
I have no idea why the tire blew. It was relatively new ... new-ish if you will.
Anyway. We jacked the car up, removed the tire, (with a HUGE gash — seven or eight inches — in the side), and replaced it with the “donut” that is standard in most cars today.
The “donut” was flat — at least flat-esque. It wouldn’t get us back to town without doing some serious damage to the “donut” itself, or possible the wheel rim.
First lesson: When you take care of basic car maintenance, make sure you include at least an occasional glance at the “donut” or spare tire. It is absolutely worthless to have a spare that needs a spare tucked in the trunk. Checking your spare tire, or “donut,” doesn’t require special training or some kind of car-smarts. It can really be worth your while.
We were now still stuck at the side of the road despite having changed our tire to the so-called spare.
And here the story gets good.
I called a buddy to bring us a spare and/or a portable compressor.
He said he’d be there in 20 minutes or so.
We sat patiently waiting. It was a very pleasant evening outside so there really wasn’t a weather problem.
What was interesting was the lesson we received in “community.”
In the time it took for my buddy to show up and help get us back on the road again, we had 10-12 cars stop to make sure we were OK, and ask if there was anything they could do.
I think only one or two drove by without a glance.
Of the dozen or so cars that stopped, (as in coming to a full stop to make sure we were OK), a couple actually passed by, turned around, and pulled up to ask if we needed any help.
One driver invited us up to her nearby home to wait, or make phone calls, or whatever.
All insisted on hearing once, twice, or thrice that we were OK and making sure someone was on the way with a means of rescue.
We knew some of the folks who stopped pretty well.
We knew some of the folks who stopped only causally or coincidentally.
We didn’t know some of the folks who stopped at all.
But they all stopped to offer a hand, a cell phone or some muscle if needed.
As odd as it may sound, having a tire blow out on north 80th was a very pleasant experience.
It gave us a chance to see a part of the community that we all kinda know exists, but rarely have a chance to see expressed, (thank goodness!)
People offering a little help to people.
Neighbors reaching out in time of need — no matter how inconsequential.
People making sure “... everything OK?”
I was impressed with folks from our community.
My Dearly Beloved was impressed as well.
There are lots of good people around our area. I’m sure some of them knew me and don’t especially appreciate some of the stuff I write in opinion pieces on the Opinion Page of the paper. I’m pretty sure some who stopped probably aren’t big fans.
But ... that has nothing to do with nothing.
We were stuck at the side of the road and people knew that in the country you stopped.
That’s ... country.
That’s what “community” is all about.
And frankly, it’s often the difference between “dirt road people” and “city street people.”
In a strange sort of way, we enjoyed being stuck at the side of the road on 80th waiting for a spare tire to be delivered.
It gave us a chance to see a part of the community that we kinda take for granted.
It was a good experience.
And I thank those who made the experience so positive.
The ones I knew. The ones who were strangers.
The ones who knew me, and the ones who knew me and stopped anyway!
It’s good to know that there is still “community.”
It’s good to know folks will still stop and make sure someone ... anyone … is OK.