April 19, 1970
The school year was rushing to a close, which was bittersweet for Linda, Judy, and I. Our 80-mile round trip commute had amounted to 8 hours of chat-time each week, and somewhere along the way we had become fast friends. Linda and I, sharing a lunch hour, had even found a nearby park where springy weather beckoned.
Sitting (or lying) on a sheet, we’d munch on water-packed tuna with crackers while soaking up the sunshine. Never mind that our quiet spot was next to an interstate overpass. To us it was a mini-vacation in the middle of a teaching day.
One evening we three couples gathered at our apartment for a fondue dinner. In the course of the evening, Linda and Ron, Judy and Bill each shared plans for the big changes coming after the school year ended. As we talked about these uncertainties, one of the girls said, “Sometimes my head hurts just thinking about it all.”
Nate and I shot a glance at each other. “Your head hurts?” he said. “You mean… like a headache?”
Within a few minutes we learned that all three of us were experiencing the same regular headaches. Fascinated by this discovery, we talked further and figured out they only came on school days, never weekends.
(Left: Judy and Bill)
“I wonder if we’re allergic to something at school?” I said. “Like paint? Or mold?”
Although the headaches occurred only on weekdays, it wasn’t all weekdays. That eliminated the allergy theory. But we agreed they seemed to come in waves, several days at a time, followed by several days without them.
After swapping more stories and recalling dates, we concluded the headaches came only during the weeks I drove. And there was God’s answer for question #1 when we’d asked what was causing them. Answer? Our “cool” Mustang.
(Right: Linda and Ron)
We decided on a test. Nate and I would swap cars the next week, and I would drive the carpool in his VW. He would take the Mustang to campus, a much shorter commute.
At the end of the week we knew we were right – no Mustang, no headaches.
Nate took the car to an auto shop, explaining the problem while we kept our fingers crossed that it would be something simple… and cheap.
Before long the mechanic called. “I found your problem,” he said. “There’s exhaust leaking directly into the car. Your wives were experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Nate and I felt terrible, promising our friends the Mustang would be completely repaired before any further commutes.
But once it was fixed and I resumed driving it, the headaches returned. In great frustration Nate took it back to the shop. The mechanic made another repair, but that one failed too — along with a third. Finally Nate promised our discouraged friends that the Mustang would never again make the run to Danville.
It would be hard telling Dad of our misfortune, especially since we hadn’t yet paid him back for his loan to buy the Mustang. But the hard truth was, we were back in the car-shopping business. And that was God’s answer to question #2 when we’d asked what needed to be done.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you…. things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)