It’s a sticky afternoon in Texas, circa 1999, when I drive my silver Volvo sedan from Houston to Dallas.    I am headed on this boring trip north to pick up my  12 year old/pre-teen daughter, who’s  been paying a visit with an old neighborhood friend  in the “Park Cities” where we’d lived several years earlier.

Motoring along the barren highway called I-45 at approximately  80 m.p.h, I hold an eye on the rear view mirror, keeping track of who (m)might be on my tail.    Assured I am not under surveillance, I crank up the radio volume,  and  sing along with a catchy western tune:



“I don’t wanna play house, it made my mama cry…when mom and daddy played house, Daddy said:”Good-bye!”…

When suddenly I feel an explosion of sorts.  My trusty Volvo starts to shimmy and shake, and I am FORCED to hold onto the steering wheel  as if it were the last  life preserver on the Titanic.

Sensing a blown tire, I take my foot off the gas and let the car coast into the first parking lot I spot.  I am forced to think through my terror.    Once confident the car has safely stopped, I glance up at the ugly concrete building in front of my eyes.   There on the large front window is a huge sign that makes my heart sing louder than I had been.



Buy 2—get 2 FREE!

“Praise the Lord”



Years later,( that would be last week) having relocated to Virginia, I was driven to attend a girls’ soccer game in Charlottesville.    UVA was “playing”  Notre Dame, and a Texan friend’s daughter was starting for the Fighting Irish.  Wanting to see her again after too long (I could care less about soccer)  I watched the game in torrential rain, caught a cold,  lost a glove, ruined my new cowgirl boots,  but got caught up with my pal and delighted in the fact that UVA beat  the saintly girls by one kick or whatever it’s called.

Heading home the following morning I hit  Route 29 North for the quick 2 hour trip back here to Vienna.

Ten minutes into the drive, doing about 70 m.p.h., I noticed part of the red Subaru station wagon in front of me was missing a small section of its left rear-end.

Oh my God!  I was having another visual migraine—this time behind the wheel.  Deciding against panic or slamming on the breaks in a line of traffic, I held my breath and PULLED OVER  into the first turn off I could find.

Parking the car in a prime spot I could only partly see, I closed my eyes,massaged my temples,  took a few gulps of water, and  skimmed my surroundings.  I was in the parking lot of a quaint, country church and the pastor (?)  was out front pulling weeds while smoking grass.

“God  be with you, Mam”,the blessed man  offered,  after  I ‘d explained my dilemma.

Fortunately, these headaches don’t come on often for me, and when they do—only last  20 minutes.

As I watched  a portion of the digital clock in my car, I  counted the seconds until I could hit the road with 20/20 vision, looking  forward to my cozy, dry, warm, well-lit house.


AMEN, Sister.


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