I usually do not have time to write something for the daily writing prompts, but the daily prompt for today called out to me: “. . . observe the people around you. Pick a person, a couple, or a group, and imagine what their lives might be like.”
We loaded down our car with two of our college-aged sons, our daughter, and my husband and me . . . plus all the items our youngest son needed for his freshman year. Approaching the halfway point on the 8-hour drive to their university, we began to talk about the wide-open spaces, farm houses, road-side cafes, cows, ponds, etc. We passed several large houses on big lots of land, followed by churches, little houses, trailers, and old shacks dotted along the road here and there.
“Kids,” I ventured to say, breaking the silence, “Sometimes when I pass houses along the road on a trip like this, I wonder about the lives of the people who live there. I think someone should do a reality TV show where some ordinary people like you and I travel across the U.S. stopping at random places to shoot the breeze and see what the daily life is like in a variety of places.”
I kid you not, five minutes later, our car started steaming or smoking and then quickly stopped running, as we coasted to the bottom of a hill in the middle of nowhere in particular, with nobody around, and no cell signal. It was at least 100 degrees outside.
The boys and I got out of the car and pushed it across the road into a shaded clearing. My husband got out of the car and inspected the engine. “There’s no hope for her, she’s not going anywhere on her own.”
Two Rough Looking Dudes
There we sat, our drinks long gone, no cell signal, no breeze, not even sure how far we were from the next town (and we knew we were too far from the last town). We took a moment to pray, and just before my husband headed out to start walking for help, an old pick-up truck could be seen coming down the road in our direction. It pulled just past us, then backed up and parked. Two rough-looking, bearded men got out of the truck to see if they could help us. One did all the talking while the other reached in the back of their truck for a tow rope.
They towed us about a half mile to the nearest town (if you could call it a town). At least all that could be seen from the road was a café, an auto parts store, a mechanic’s shop, and a couple of other little businesses. While my husband hired a local to take him to the nearest rental car company (45 minutes away), the kids and I sat in an 8 x 10 room that served as the mechanic’s office (the only place with AC and a place to sit down and wait).
Emergency Medical Life Flight
For the next two hours we saw people come and go—people we wouldn’t normally meet in our usual day-to-day lives. We heard stories about the people that lived in that town, where the children went to school, who was getting married, who was going off to college or technical school, who was buying or selling a car, etc. We even got to listen in to an emergency scanner while a helicopter was life-flighting someone from a highway accident nearby (and worry and pray right along with the mechanic’s wife as she wondered if it was one of her close friends or family).
So as you go out and sit down somewhere to imagine what someone’s life might be like, BE CAREFUL! You might just find yourself along for the ride . . .
—Delana H. Stewart