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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014

From my Front Porch

Thursday, April 25, 2002

O Brother (or Sister),where art thou?

O Brother (or Sister),where art thou?My day was proceeding fairly normally until I made last minute plans to eat lunch with Derek, our neighbor and dear family friend.

Because he pastors a local church and attends night classes four evenings a week, our combined schedules rarely allow for any quality visiting time, but occasionally we squeeze in a glass of iced tea or lunch.

Even though my preacher friend was to preside over a wedding rehearsal in just a few hours, we decided to drive the 20 miles to one of our favorite restaurants and get caught up on the goings on in our respective lives. He left the restaurant with part of his meal in a doggie bag.

Since it was such a lovely spring day, we took the scenic route home along a remote gravel Howell County road that twists and turns its way through several beautiful fields and picturesque farms to Highway 17 which will take you to Highway 63 towards Willow Springs.

It should have been a relaxing drive, but about a mile down the gravel road my van stopped dead, kaput.

So there we were, two non-mechanical friends stranded on a dirt road in what seemed to be the middle of nowhere. On our left were thick woods and a swamp and on our right was a field full of rip-snorting, big, black bulls.

Of all things, Derek decided this was as good a time as any to get out the doggie bag from the restaurant and finish his steak. I suggested that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to eat grilled beef in front of such big bulls, but he insisted that the bovines over the fence were not bulls, but cows. I informed my somewhat nearsighted friend that cows usually have more than one udder. He finished his steak.

Our particular situation on this ill-fated day could have been taken straight from one of Derek's least favorite, but one of my all-time favorite movies, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

While we tried to decide what our options were, he kept saying. "Good grief, this is just like that o-brother-where-art-thou movie." So, I decided to oblige him by singing the "Lonesome Valley" number from the grave-digging scene. He was not amused.

Our choices were fairly clear-cut. We could walk the couple of miles back into town and get help, or simply call AAA and pray that they could get to us before nightfall. After all, we were on a pretty tight schedule considering a bride and groom were counting on their minister.

I got out my cell phone and made the call, but I didn't have a clue as to how to begin telling the operator where we were or how to find us, except to say that we were on a dirt road somewhere behind J.C. Penney's just off 63 Highway, I think.

While we were contemplating a plan B, a local fellow stopped by and insisted on helping us. About the time we realized his efforts were futile, my cell phone rang and it was Chuck, the tow truck driver. "Where are you, ma'am?" he asked. I handed the phone to the blessed stranger who in turn told Chuck exactly where we were and how to find us. Filled with relief, I silently sent up a thank you prayer.

Within 20 minutes, we were sitting in the cab of the tow truck headed home for Willow Springs.

With everything said and done, Derek not only arrived at the wedding rehearsal on time, he also got a pretty good sermon illustration out of the deal.

Something about how even though you can never know exactly when you might break down along the road of life as it passes through some lonesome valley, He always knows just where thou art, brother or sister.