Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lessons From The Roadside

Continued from yesterday...

The BOOM split the night. I knew immediately that a rear tire had blown out. It was the same wheel as the axle bearing which was failing. That's when it hit me. The bearing was heating up because of friction. In the process, it was superheating the wheel attached to it. In turn, the wheel heat was causing a serious increase in the air temperature inside the tire. With enough air pressure, a tire can explode just like a party balloon.

As we sat there on that lonely road, I glanced into the rearview mirror. Headlights! We had been the only vehicle on the highway for miles. I got out of the car and waved to see if the vehicle would stop. He did.

It turns out that the man in the Corvette was traveling from California to Socorro for Christmas. It also turns out that he remembered my dad, who had been in business there for over 25 years. I asked if he would call my parents so I could stay with Cathy and the kids. He promised he would and drove off into the night.

We wrapped our family in coats and blankets. The car engine was fine, so I started it every 10 minutes or so and ran it long enough for the heater to keep us comfortable. Then we waited. And waited.

We were approximately four miles west of Magdalena. The mountain air was clear and cold. From our vantage point, we could see every vehicle coming west on the main street of the little town. We noticed each time a set of headlights would break away from the village lights and move toward us on the highway. Again and again, we saw obviously local traffic travel a short distance from town and turn off on a side road.

We sat there about two hours. No other vehicle came past our spot after the man in the Corvette. We hoped he had contacted my folks.

Finally, a set of headlights distinctly came out of Magdalena on the highway. That vehicle was followed by another close behind. My dad had solicited the help of an old friend who owned a towing service. He had left his family on Christmas Eve and followed my dad out to rescue us.

I have learned many great lessons from that night so long ago. First, I should have listened to my friend David. He knew what he was talking about and I displayed my ignorance by failing to take his advice.

Second, we should have been more conservative when we discovered our problem. The initial occurrence with the bearing was just a few miles from a town that had two small Motels that could have housed us. I was impatient in my desire to get home.

Third, and most important, I endangered my family's life that night. I have been reminded more than once since then that we were most fortunate to have escaped with an exploded tire. Many such incidents are accompanied by brake fluid catching fire and the car goes up in flames.


We have just begun a summer sermon series in our church. We are studying the New Testament book of 1 Peter. The entire book is about the temporary nature of life and how God uses difficulties to shape us.


C. Beth said...

I'd add another lesson. When you live your life with generosity, kindness, & integrity (like Grandpa did), others will be probably willing to sacrifice for you when you need help...like that tow truck driver on Christmas Eve.

My blog post today is also about taking advice.

addhumorandfaith said...

Sam -- Isn't it amazing the lessons God teaches us through life experiences, if we are just willing to look for them! A great series of posts, and some great lessons. Thank you.