Monday, January 18, 2010

A Winters Night on a Road Well Traveled

There are few things I detest more than Southern stereotypes. I do not own a pair of overalls, I do own at least one pair of shoes, and I have been known, on occasion, to read a book with a little more depth than "See Spot Run". There is one image of Southerners that I have clung to my entire life. Southern people are good, kind, and always willing to go out of their way to help their neighbor. When faced with reality, sadly, this one joined all the others on the ash heap of truth.

On a recent Tuesday evening, as I was driving home from work, I experienced a blowout. After wrestling my 3 ton van to to a stop, I discovered that my spare tire was flat. Alright, this was not a big deal. I am on "Nation's Largest 3 G Network" and I have a spiffy Blackberry that would allow me to summon assistance in a mere moment. Alas, this was not to be. Due to the hour (9:45 P.M.) and some phone difficulties, I could not reach any friends or acquaintances for rescue. My options narrowed to two. I could wrap up and wait for someone to stop and check on me or I could start walking. I chose the latter. I did not come to this decision lightly. It was 22 degrees and 4 miles to my home. However, I had to be up in 7 hours and I was sure someone would take pity on me as I trudged along and give me a lift. So much for my faith in my fellow man.

My breakdown occurred at the corner of The Trace and Airport Road. For those of you unfamiliar with the Jasper area, this is one one of the busier secondary roads in our fair city. I began my trek knowing within a few moments I would be in a warm car speeding towards my home. After 3 miles of admiring the clear cold night and dodging speeding cars, I had pretty much resigned myself to the walk. Even though no one so much as slowed as they passed me, several vehicles did turn on their high beams as they approached, I would like to think this was to assist me in my attempt to stay out of ditches, but it probably was not.

I cannot in honesty say that no one stopped. About a mile from my house, one of our city's finest did stop. He was doing his sworn duty to "Serve and Protect". He had received a call that "someone was walking down Hwy. 5 with an axe in his hand". Since the only thing in my hand was a bag of Frito's, I assured him it was not me. He checked my identity and after learning that I had "only" another mile or so left to walk, he wished me good night, climbed in his patrol car, and drove off leaving me another half hour or so of brisk exercise. A half mile from home my ordeal ended. A gentleman going in a completely different direction stopped and gave me ride. Both I and my numbed face will be eternally grateful.

Where was so-called Southern hospitality? Have we become so frightened of things that go "bang" in the night that we cannot help our fellow man or can we simply not be bothered? I am in reasonably good health and a three mile hike left no permanent damage. What if I had been someone with a heart condition or a pregnant woman? Would the scenario have been any different? I will never know. I do know that my life long belief in the kindness of Southern culture died on that long, cold walk. Mayberry, Rest In Peace. This Southern boy misses you very much.

1 Comment:

Amy Kay said...

Between picturing Mandie naked at an airport, the caveman ruler Grok, your use of Shakespearean language (as I am wont to do each evening)the bleeping republicans, and bleeping democrats, and the fact that you used Peace Out, this has been a very colorful blog. Write more often, as I enjoy reading your thoughts, as colorful as they might be. :)

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