The Little Red Car That Could…

Datsun B210

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My first car was a 1978, two door, candy apple red, Datsun B210. I got the car in 1989. It was the summer before my senior year in college. I needed a car to complete my student teaching. ( I did my student teaching at a local high school about 2o minutes away from my college.) My uncle snagged me a good deal on the car. (thanks Uncle John!)  That little red car could get me where I needed. I loved it!

Long story short…the car never let me down, plus it got great gas mileage. After graduation (in Tennessee) I went back to my home state of Maryland. I had intended to go back there to live and work. Well, life has a way of putting a wrench in one’s plans. So, that following September I was headed back to Tennessee for my first teaching gig. I had packed up all my earthly possessions in the little red car that could, and hit the road. Did I mention that my aunts and uncle also came with me? I don’t really remember but, I think I had stuff in their car too. I was a young 20 something….I probably had a lot of junk to tote around.

As we were heading west on Interstate 40, coming into Knoxville, Tennessee…it happened. I had the lead in the little red car. My relatives were following behind me in the traffic. I was behind a flat bed semi. The guy had his load tarped. For whatever reason the tarp came loose, and flew through the air and landed squarely on my little car. The car was entirely covered by the tarp. Yes, you read correctly. I was going at least 55-60 miles an hour to keep up with traffic and now I was literally driving blind. Not many people have been in this situation, and let me tell you, it is not the sort of thing one learns in drivers ed. With my heart pounding in my ears, I took my foot off the accelerator, and I moved my car to the right, listening for the slight crunch of loose gravel on the shoulder of the road. When I thought I could hear the gravel on both front tires, I slowed down and stopped.

My family had witnessed the whole thing. The truck driver probably had no idea that his tarp had come loose and could very well have killed me. My heart beat went back to normal, I could breathe again, and I realized beyond a shadow of doubt that God‘s hand was on me that day.

Everyone Has One…

Many dry cleaners place cleaned clothes inside...

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Everyone has one. A story, that is.

I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy a good story. Most people I encounter believe they don’t have anything interesting to say. That’s just not true. Don’t argue with me about this. I’m right.

“Mom, I need to get a part time job. So does Betsy. We’re thinking we could work together.”

With that said, my friend, Betsy and I got a job, after school at a local laundry/dry cleaners. Our boss was named Bucky. Yes, you read that correctly. Betsy and I were assigned to the business shirts. We were 16 and 17, respectively. We still babysat on the side, but we were now working women. We had jobs. We treated stains on men’s business shirts! The prestige of it all. Those thoughts lasted all of about 2 seconds. Then reality set in. Stinky, stained reality.

A laundry/dry cleaners is not a glamorous place behind the scenes. Just sayin’. In case you thought it was or anything. I felt the need to set you straight. On a positive note, if you want to lose weight, work at a dry cleaners. With all the steam and pressing going on, it get’s hot in the back, like a sauna. Of course, all the weight loss is from sweating out all your bodily fluids. No kidding.

Betsy and I worked for about 3 hours each afternoon of the school week.  By the end of our 3 hours we were a little “loopy” from the solution used to get the stains out of the shirts. Even though the place was ventilated, I’m sure we lost some brain cells during our 6 month stint there. I remember thinking a few choice words to the business men that sent their shirts in to be cleaned with ink stains on them. Stop putting leaky pens in your shirt pockets!!! Don’t you know how stubborn those stains are?!

The first thing we were told on the job was to put anything we found in shirt pockets in a little bag that would be returned to the gentlemen when they picked up their shirts. You know, pens, receipts, packs of gum, money…the usual pocket stuff.

One day, I was working, minding my own business, when I came across a business shirt that was different. The front pocket was full…..of stuff. Let me just say this. I was embarrassed. My face was turning pink. Um….this was not a pen and some gum. I will leave it to your imagination. Let’s just say that it would put Victoria’s Secret to shame.

I had to ask my boss what to do? Do I put the hotel receipt and um…stuff in a little white bag and return it? Boss said, “No. Definitely not.”  To which I, in all my young innocence said, ” But, his wife might want this back.”  Boss said, ” maybe it’s not his wife’s.”  Then it hit me what he was saying. Oh, good grief!

For cryin’ out loud! Who needed Days Of Our Lives, when I had the “privilege” of working at the laundry? Seriously. Who knew?