Archive for November 30th, 2010

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I’m going home. My grandmother, Maggie’s mom, passed away and my brother Steve and I both want to be there for her. So I have postponed – not canceled – the remainder of my east coast visits and explorations to go straight back to Massachusetts (well, via West Virginia). Trish agrees we can do the Eat. Pray. Love. Charleston. tour in the spring or summer (as do all my other wonderful east coast friends), so her and the kids bid me farewell.

It was a good day for driving – overcast and drizzling off and on. I watched the temperature on the thermometer steadily drop as I drove north. 50…45…42… I drove into North Carolina, by Charlotte (looks pretty cool) and was making good time until traffic came to a standstill – right near
Mount Airy, home of Mayberry and the Andy Griffith Show.

I sat for a while, wondering what the issue was, and grew more aggravated by the minute as my stomach started to growl. I was complaining to my mom on the speakerphone when I thought I spotted a Subway sign at the next exit. She convinced me it was worth stopping for, so I veered off.

I somehow went right past the Subway, but then something else caught my eye: more cows. I heard Tara’s voice in my head, so I had to get a few pictures. I pulled over and told mom to hold on while I hopped out real quick. I snapped a few photos and ran back to the car. Only the door wouldn’t open! The car’s not supposed to be able to lock from the outside with the car on – and it didn’t seem like the lock was all the way down, yet it wouldn’t open. I had no phone, no jacket, nothing but my camera (and cows) – and mom still on speakerphone inside.

I put my face up against the window and yelled, “mom!’ She yelled back, “Amy! Is everything all right? I can’t really hear you!” I tried to yell to her to call AAA but she couldn’t understand me through the glass, so went to get Mark. I just shook my head at the cows, who were staring at me. I was cupping my face to the window, trying to yell to them again when help arrived. His name was Shane, my knight in the white Honda. He offered me his phone, and with my parents still yelling from inside my car, I called Mark’s cell. Luckily he answered the strange number.

Shane helped me explain where we were (intersection of Hwy 21 and Rena Rd.) and Mark called AAA. Once it was confirmed that they would be there in an hour, I thanked Shane and told him I’d be fine. He insisted on staying with me, explaining that he wouldn’t feel right leaving me because ‘rednecks will be stopping and trying to pick you up.’ He was right in a way – people did stop every few minutes to inquire about what was going on – and I appreciated his company. Clearly my car (with its Massachusetts plates) at the side of the road among the cows was the highlight of the day in Jonesville.

We passed time (and tried to forget the cold) chatting about everything from the Red Sox (Shane’s a huge fan – even has a Red Sox screen saver on his phone) and family to work and traveling. He recommended seeing the Biltmore Estate (dubbed America’s largest home) in Asheville when I return to North Carolina. I’ll definitely add it to my list. I’d also forgotten about the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a wonderfully scenic route. While I had a great time talking to him, my freezing body was very happy when Donny arrived – my knight in the white van. (Two knights in one day – lucky me!)

I thanked Shane and bid him farewell, then waited in Donny’s van (trying to thaw out) as he got my car door open – very quickly, I must add. (Thanks Donny!) I waved to the cows, thinking I was now all set. What I didn’t remember until I got back in the stopped traffic on the highway was that I was running on empty… I almost had to call Donny back to save me again, but luckily inched to the next exit and found a gas station. Phew!

I was so frustrated at the lost two hours (and paranoid about leaving the car) that I only stopped for gas the rest of the way. I made it to Martinsburg, West Virginia, where my grandmother, aunt and family live, by about 8:30 pm. Not bad considering…

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