Click on the triangle above to watch the video. If you lay your head on the table, the video will appear right side up. Nothing you do will make it appear like the van is facing the right direction.
Wrecked and repaired!
Well, not actually wrecked but certainly repaired……..
Thursday morning, on a yellow grass field in a North Las Vegas park, a group gathered to play football. In what has become tradition, members of the Mountain Shadows Ward had their annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Bowl game. This year it was the Watkins clan (five Watkins, three Hislops, a couple Noels, and a Wallman) and Jared versus the rest of the ward.
The game was going well for us—Jason had a couple interceptions, Romney and Hamilton were basically unstoppable on offense and nearly impenetrable on defense—when Jared, the quarterback, dropped back in the pocket. As she had been trained to do in Powder Puff practice at Roy High, Sara was blocking for him, giving him time to pick his play.
The play he picked was a run—his own. And the player he ran over was his own— our Sara. Unscathed by the opposing linemen, Sara was grounded by her own teammate, a “friendly fire” incident that broke her wrist.
Blessedly the wrist was not wrecked and it is being repaired. Visits to urgent care facilities in North Las Vegas (for a splint—“It will take four weeks for you to get an appointment here to get it casted” we were told) and Utah (a three hour wait on a Sunday afternoon got her a baby blue cast—“Do you have any more neutral colors?” she asked) began the repair process. Her youth and Mother Nature will complete the healing process and she should be good as new in 4-6 weeks.
Saturday of the same weekend we were out garage sale-ing, something that has also become an annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition. At our 3rd or 4th garage, I was making a U-turn in a cul-de-sac when the van suddenly stopped. It was as if I had slammed on the brake but I had not. Thinking perhaps I had blown a tire, that maybe the abrupt stop was caused when the rim connected with the cement, I got out to check it out. Everything looked great. I got back into the car, put it in gear and everything sounded great but everything did not work great. The car would not move forward or backward. The engine worked. The gauges worked. The shifting mechanism worked. The wheels did not.
Thinking perhaps it was an Apple-type thing, I shut the van off and explored the garage sale, hoping that when I returned in a few moments and restarted the engine it would work fine.
The car started obediently, even cheerfully (as long as I’m being anthropomorphic, I might as well just go with it, right?!) but the wheels would not move. Pushing my luck, I put it into reverse and pushed the gas pedal probably more than I should have. Something popped and the car moved backwards. Gingerly, I switched gears and it moved forward as well but its forward movement was not graceful (and not even close to cheerful); every 10 or so yards I felt a stuttering grind in its front end.
In the meantime Marjorie had called a mechanic friend who said he suspected a transmission problem. “If you have someone who is crazy enough to drive it backwards home you could try that,” he suggested.
With Marjorie in front, the hazard lights on her vehicle flashing, I tried driving it home. The front-end, stuttering grinding increased to the point where I feared the grind would soon be shattering. It was time for a change in tactics.
A quick turn into a parking lot entrance enabled me to reverse orientation. I continued to follow Marjorie but now I was doing it backwards. On a six lane North Las Vegas street, my eyes glued to my rear view mirror, I drove backwards, doing up to 20 mph. In a school zone, 20 mph may seem really slow but, believe me, driving backwards down a six lane street, it feels really fast. The kids tell me that we got some really strange looks and a finger or two but I saw nothing except Marjorie’s tail lights in my rearview mirror. Focus!!
We’d gone about 2 miles and were approaching the need to do a left hand turn (guardian angels—prepare yourselves!!) when Marjorie saw a repair shop she’d used and trusted and suggested we stop there. [Thank heavens for cell phones and the ability they give us to communicate instantly.] I backed in and the rest is history.
It turns out the transmission was not wrecked—just the brake pad—and it was quickly repaired. A brake pad had slipped and wedged into the rotor, preventing forward movement. New brake pads, a hardware kit, some rotor work, a bill that was 1/10 of what I feared it would be, and an hour and a half later it was repaired.
The best part of the whole thing—even better than the fact that I did not have to pay for a new transmission and that we were able to drive the van home that day as originally planned—was the plaque Lanae and Romney created for me.
“Aunt Teresa,” it says, “Thanks for teaching us that we don’t always have to be facing the right way to be headed in the right direction. Sincerely, Your Nieces and Nephews.” On the bottom of the plaque are images of cars all (but one) facing right, one car facing left, question marks above the cars behind the left-facing car, and a sign pointing right that says “ONE WAY”.
Priceless! Absolutely priceless. It was worth every penny we paid in repair bills. Though the weekend was never a wreck, there were points it needed repair. The plaque, the effort required to make it, the memories it evokes and the love it represents did much more than repair the weekend; it made it!!