There are some questions you just can't be expected to have an answer for. Like, what do your lug nuts look like? Yeah, the big question. Here's my answer; "They are hexagonal and nearly the size of a quarter-- I think." Typical me. Answer with authority in the absence of ANY knowledge on the subject. An inner compulsion that is surely part of the Fall-- no good ever comes of this habit of mine. I remember, once, sending a nice couple far, far, far in the opposite direction they had hoped to go, simply because they'd asked. The implications of what I'd done only occurred to me hours later when I spotted them at the local corner store asking for fresh directions. I ran away.
There's a story here. It begins with a bit of shaking and ends with lug nuts.
This weekend our van developed a tremor. Minor, but detectable. This kind of thing happened to our car once and it was just some mud caked to the inside of the wheel-wells. We figured this was the same thing. Maybe slush turned to ice. But that theory literally fell apart today.
I was driving the kids home from a visit with a friend when the tremor turned into more of a helicopter-like rumble. LOUD. The steering wheel started to shake and I heard myself uttering things like, "Oh, mother!" (Mother?!) And, "Crappity crap!" etc. We made it onto our road somehow, but when we hit the railway tracks something sort of crunched and the brakes quit and we sailed along until the van felt like stopping.
When I got out, all the wheels were pointed forward accept the fourth one. It was turned sideways. Out of the five or six lug nuts that hold a tire on, only one was left. That can't be good, was my first thought. I also thought it looked expensive. These were crowded out by other thoughts like, we're alive! Along with, we could have ended up in a gorge or a river!
When a school bus lumbered over the tracks I made that universal sign with my hands. You know, the 'call me' sign. She kindly open the door and I scrambled up the steps. A handful of bored-looking teenage boys eyed me as I made a call to Aidan. "Bad news. The tire is about to fall off the van." And as I was talking, the most convenient thing happened, my neighbour drove by. I waved out the bus window. He saw. Backed-up, and we all jumped ship and hitched a ride home.
At the moment, the van is parked half a block away and Aidan is e-mailing me questions about lug nuts. We're wondering how this will end. Maybe a plow with pummel it off the road. Maybe we have thousands of dollars in repairs ahead. Maybe I am going nowhere for the next few weeks. I don't know.
But I do know the meddling hand of God when I see it. And He was all over this. We made it home. We're alive and unharmed. A friend was drifting by when we needed help. We were cared for. You could say we were one lug nut away from a much bigger mess.