Monday, March 30, 2015

Triple A to The Rescue ~ To Whom Do You Call When You Need A Friend?

Today was one of those mornings that began with a startled awakening.
The cell phone next to my bed rang at 5:30.
Even though the phone I.D. was not one I recognized, my heart was racing so fast, I could barely say “Hello.”
It was the substitute teacher line calling to see if I would accept a job for the day.

Thankful that the call was not from a loved one in crisis needing help, I hung up the phone and went back to sleep.

Those calls for help that come at unexpected times can be so unsettling.
I’ve had my share of them.
I’ve made my share of them.

It seems at one time or another, we all must make one those calls for help.

To Whom Do You Call When You Need Help?

Later in the day, my resident techie, AKA my husband, went out to my car to sync my new phone to the wireless system in the car.
It was then that he discovered that the car battery would not turn over.
Since he was leaving for work in a short time, he told me to call Triple A.
“The battery is still under warranty, and it is an AAA battery, so everything should be ok,” he said as he handed me a credit card to be used just in case I had to put in a new battery.

Triple A,
You saved the day again.
Thank goodness I could call you when I needed you.
I owe you a lot, Triple A.

A Short Story About Triple A
Back in late ’80s or early ‘90s, I was a single mom living in Colorado Springs.  One day, I had one of those mornings that had a very bad start.  I was supposed to leave for the hospital for an outpatient surgical appointment when I discovered that my car had a flat tire.  A friend was scheduled to bring me home from the hospital, but that friend was at work and would not be able to help me with the flat tire.  I had no idea whom I should call.  Everyone I knew was working.  So, knowing full well there was absolutely nothing he could do about the situation, I called my dad.  He lived over three hundred miles away.  But, he was the one I called and cried into the phone, “Daddy, my tire is flat and I have to be at the hospital in half an hour.  I don’t know what to do.”  Daddy knew just what to do.  He called Triple A, signed me up for a membership, and sent them out to the house to fix my tire.  He then paid my membership for the next year because he didn’t want me stranded with no one to help me.  It was good to have someone to call when I had trouble with that old car of mine. 

*******
In 1991, I was shocked one day when I received a telephone call at work from my old high school sweetheart.  He said he had recently gone through a divorce and wondered if I’d like to go to lunch.  It had been thirty years since we had dated, but he had always held a special place in my heart because he was such a dear, kind, and giving friend and sweetheart. In the thirty years since we had dated, we both had married others, but through friends, we always knew something of each other’s lives.  

Back in 1991, I had been single for ten years and was quite independent, but I also still drove that very old Ford Fairmont, so I always kept up my trusty Triple A membership.  Jim, newly divorced, driving the old car that he was left with after his divorce, drove forty miles from Pueblo to Colorado Springs to take me, his old love from back in the early 60’s, to lunch.  I guess he was pretty nervous about the trip, and about taking me out again after all those years, so he drove up the highway with his lights on even though it was was the middle of the day.  
Jim picked me up at my house and off we went for lunch at the Olive Garden.  We had a delightful time at lunch catching up on the past thirty years.  He hadn’t changed a bit.  He was still that kind, loving, giving, successful, funny, and charming person I had adored as a teenager.
After a long lunch, we headed out to his car so he could take me back home.  That is when he discovered the battery was dead.  He’d neglected to turn off his car lights and they had remained on during our long lunch.  The poor guy looked like he was going to die when he realized his car battery was totally dead on his first date with a woman he hadn’t seen for thirty years.  “No problem,” I said.  “I have Triple A.”  We’ll just go over to the mall and find a phone and call them to come and help.”  (Those were the days before cell phones!)  So, that’s what we did.  Triple A came to the rescue. 

Later, Jim, with that twinkle in his eye,  would always tell everyone that was when he decided for sure he was going to marry me.  “She had Triple A.  I thought that would be a good thing to have.”  

Thanks Triple A for always coming to the rescue, and for landing me a man! 

Jim and Sally
1992


To Whom Do You Call When You Need A Friend?

Today, as I reminisced about how our courtship began with Triple A, I also started thinking of my dear daddy and how he was always there for me for so many years when I needed him. 

My father and I
1945
I then thought about the time thirteen years ago, when I got the call that he needed me.  In 2001 and 2002 for about six months, from June or July until the next March, my father had really gone down hill physically once shingles attacked his aging body the summer before his death.  I had gone over that summer and had to have that talk with him.  You know the talk that takes place between adult children and their parents when suddenly one feels like the parent instead of the child.  Daddy was in so much pain from the shingles.  He had diabetes, and he wouldn’t eat.  He was miserable. My poor mother was getting nowhere with him.  He was stubborn, and he was not being cooperative.  Finally, I told him I was taking him to the hospital if he didn’t eat.   He must have believed me because he started drinking his Ensure.  He knew I was as stubborn as he was.  I’d learned that trait from the best of them.  He knew I’d take him to the hospital if I felt it was necessary, and he didn’t want to go.  

When my husband and I went over for Christmas later that year, I was shocked at how frail he had become since my last visit that had occurred just before school had started that fall. When we left for home at Christmas, I said I’d try to be back over during Spring Break. In March of 2002, my mother called on a Thursday and asked, “Are you on Spring Break?”  “No, Mother, not until next week.”  “She said, “The doctor just put your father in the hospital and he’s asking for you.  He wants you to come.  You’re the one he’s asking for.”

Needless to say, as soon as I could wrap up the finals I was grading, I made my way to his bedside which was six hours away.  He passed away on the next Monday, which happened to be the first day of Spring Break.  I always believed that my father hung on as his life was slipping away so that I wouldn’t have to take off from work to be at his bedside. 

He was like that. He had a heart that looked out for others He was one of the most giving persons I ever knew.  I always knew I could count on my father.  He could be generous to a fault when he saw a need.  I remember as he was dying in the hospital that he heard one of the nurses telling how she had cancer and was working because she needed the insurance.  We thought he was asleep while she talked to us about hospice.  When she left the room, he spoke to my mother, “Mother, make sure you find out that nurse’s name and write her a check.” 

I think the self confidence that others have always said I have comes from my father’s influence in my life.  He taught me so much about life.  I think it was his love and knowing he would be there for me and that he was very proud of me that caused me to have the confidence to accomplish whatever goals I have reached in my life.  
1987
My father, mother, and I at my graduation when I earned my first college degree.
BS in Business Administration
Later I would earn a BA in English and a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language

Life isn’t fair, but it was from my dad that I learned that I should “keep my head together.”  He taught me to be tough when I needed to be.  He taught me, as the song, You’ve Got A Friend, says, 
People can be so cold,
They’ll hurt and desert you.  Well they’ll take your soul if you let them,
Yeah, but don’t you let them.

He always encouraged me to be my own person and to think for myself.  He challenged us to be thinkers and not followers.  He taught me not to let others treat me with disrespect.
   
He was that one that I knew would be there for me no matter what.  He believed in me.  He wasn’t one to rescue me.  He didn’t open up his checkbook and help me out of tight spots.  He was a generous man, but also was a wise man that knew I would figure out how to make it on my own and would be stronger and better for it.  His belief in me was the impetus that gave me confidence throughout the entire time he was on this earth.  His belief in me is still carried in that special place in my heart that is reserved for a daughter's love for her daddy.  I knew he was proud of me, and that meant the world to me.  I think he would be one of my best blog readers.  He loved to write.  He loved a good story.  He was a great storyteller.  I learned to love reading and writing from him.  I wish I had told him more often how much he meant to me. I recently was given all the cards I’d sent him over the years.  He’d kept them all.  I miss my father so much.

******
Now, I have my dear husband to call.  Jim, my dear high school sweetheart from long ago, has always shown me a special kind of love.  This poor man gets so many calls from me.  Whenever, I need him, I call.  He is always there.  Always.  In the past five years, my once strong self-confidence was rocked to the core after the death of my daughter.  Suffering from PTSD that is common to survivors of suicide, I have sometimes been racked by anxiety.  Only my husband knows how much I suffer, and only my husband can calm me down when I need calming down the most.  He is the one I call out to in the middle of the night, or when I am driving down the road, or sitting next to him in the living room.  He is the one I call when I need him to talk me through my times of anxiety and stress.  No one knows how many times he has sat with me in the middle of the night when I have had an anxiety attack or when my heart has gone into wild arrhythmia and is racing at 150 beats a minutes and won’t slow down.  He is always there when I call.  I don’t know what I would do without his kindness, his wisdom, his support, his love.  I don’t know what I’d do if he weren’t there for me.  He is the friend that knows me better than anyone knows me.  He is the one that is straight with me in a firm and loving way.  He is the one to whom I call, and he has never let me down.  Thank you Jim for being there.  I love you.  And, thank you Daddy, for being there for me too, and for getting me that first Triple A card.

To whom do you call when you need a friend?  

19 comments:

Kay said...

This is so beautiful, Sally. You are fortunate to have so many people you could lean on and count on when times were difficult.

I have my husband also. I don't know what I'd do without him.

And oh yes, we've used AAA many, many times. We'll never give up our card.

Margaret Adamson said...

Hi Sally What a wonderully written post and an amazing story firstly about your Dad and then about Jim. You are so fortunate even I know you have known sadness as well. These things all make us stronger and more able to help others. I am listening to the song as I write to you. May God bless you and Jim.

Terri Tiffany said...

I could not stop reading! Your stories about the men in your lives are wonderful. I feel like I know them and want to tell them thank you for taking such good care of you. You have been blessed! I too count on AAA with all our moves. When we lived in Texas that year I was always so afraid as I had no one to call. I finally asked a woman in church if I could use her. It's important to have that comfort. Glad you have Jim.

Elizabeth Cutter said...

Sally, I always love to read your blog posts, and this is one of the sweetest ever. You have been really blessed with Jim -- and he with you!

Olga Hebert said...

Sally, this post warms my heart. You are twice blessed.

The Furry Gnome said...

Very thoughtful post. Glad you had a father and have a hubby you can always call on. Makes me wonder about who I'd call.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a beautiful post Sally about the two amazing men who loved and cared for an equally amazing woman. You have been so fortunate having these men in your life but that comes from being deserving.
Even with the caring men you have been blessed with, AAA is a handy back up. I never leave home without it.

Jeanie said...

Sally, this is just a wonderful post, a wonderful tribute, to two remarkable men. That sense of "being there" is so important -- even if you never, ever need to call, knowing you CAN makes all the difference in the world. I loved the story of your lunch with Jim and your dad sounds like a wonderful man -- reminds me a bit of mine. I have a smile on my face -- thank you!

rosaria williams said...

Wow, AAA should hire you! Yes, we depend on family and friends, and a little insurance for just those days...
Have a great Easter.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

I loved this post, Sally. It's so wonderful that you had such a loving, supportive Dad and that you and Jim found each other again and, of course, that you had AAA! The latter is great, but it's those special people in our lives that mean the most!

troutbirder said...

We're caregiving dementia now so I guess its triple A for now. They've come thru for me in the past...:)

Linda Reeder said...

We have AAA but we've never had to call them.
I envy you your relationship with your father. I know my parents loved me and were proud of me, but they did not tell me so. We never had those deep philosophical talks you shared. I learned to rely on myself for motivation and drive, and for self talk when the going got rough.
Fortunately, for the last 46 years I have had Tom in my life. We take care of each other.

DJan said...

You have reminded me of my own wonderful dad, who has been gone for so long now. Your dad came alive for me in the post, Sally. Very well done indeed. :-)

Elizabeth Castaneda said...

I could picture myself in your place, i am very blessed to have met you and be your student. Miss you mrs. Wessely

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Very passionate post here and I thank you for sharing. Great stories and you tell them so well with such tenderness.

We are AAA members for years. Always seems to pay off -- especially when teenage boys would leave the car running and the keys locked inside. Ha!

Perpetua said...

Such a lovely post, Sally, full of love and insight. You have been very blessed in your father and your husband and I feel honoured to have learned so much about them.

Betsy Adams said...

Beautiful post (as usual),Sally. Love your Triple A story --especially when you helped Jim out in 1991. Love your wedding picture--and also the others, including the one with your parents. YOu are looking more and more like your mother... Is she still doing GREAT?

My brother (whom I adored) died of cancer in 1985... I was in New Orleans then. They called me to Jacksonville (where he lived) saying that Jimmy (brother) wanted to see me. We knew he was dying (in the hospital) --but I had no idea he waited til I got there to say goodbye. He died that next morning.

As far as who to call, I've always had friends and family nearby --so haven't really thought about needing something else. We do belong to Triple A though and use it mainly getting Senior Discounts. I'm sure they'd be the ones to call if we ever needed help. So far, we haven't gotten stuck anywhere...(Knock on Wood)... ha

Happy Easter. Christ is RISEN.
Hugs,
Betsy

Pam (Isabelle) said...

A very touching post. My dad, though he had good qualities, wasn't quite like that...

janzi said...

I have just discovered you and will be back to read more.. your blogs are just so interesting and mind thought provoking, so I can really appreciate reading you.. Sad to read about your darling daughter, but how lovely her friend remembered and loved her so well, and came to the funeral. it is also wonderful that he is still in touch and his family came to visit. Life now that we are at this seventy threshold is even more precious, and all too often, friends leave us first, and sadness is all over us. I was that age in May last month and feel very raw knowing that it will be ten years and I will be in my eighties ** Your mother looks well, so sure she will live to 100 at least! hugs from across the pond, Janzi