Nate was not mechanical and couldn’t fix cars, but in every other respect, he took care of our vehicles. He did the insurance research and payment, had the oil changed on time, made sure the proof of insurance was in each glove compartment, bought new tires, had maintenance check-ups, put the city decal and license plate sticker on each one, became best friends with the man at the body shop and had a strong relationship with the mechanic who kept our cars in working order.
Now that Nate is gone, some of that car-stuff is drifting my way, although Nelson has been intercepting much of it. Today I spent time on the phone developing a bond with Geico Insurance, trying not to sound stupid with my questions. When previous phone conversations are followed by contrary paperwork in the mailbox, its time to get close and personal. I chalked it up to another example of what my widow warriors refer to as the “endless paperwork of widowhood”. But even I know its important to get papers in order for the season of high-risk winter driving.
I grew up in Chicago where we had plenty of snow and ice, but living now on the east side of Lake Michigan, I’m in the path of what weathermen call “lake-effect snow.” This adds new depth (and density) to the word “blizzard.”
My game of slip-‘n-slide with an old minivan after our first snowfall (Dec. 7 blog) convinced me I should begin hunting for a four-wheel drive vehicle. Taking my own poll as our neighbors have driven by, I’ve seen that nine out of ten drivers have chosen crossovers or SUVs. With hilly dunes beneath our asphalt, which is beneath our snow, that makes good sense. In this neighborhood, slippery roads can cause even a quick trip to the post office to be put on hold.
Nelson and I concocted a plan to sell both Nate’s car and mine with the hope of purchasing a small, used 4WD vehicle. Nate’s car sold on Craig’s list in one hour. My van was more of a challenge, its glowing “check engine” light having been on for 4000 miles. Nelson and I began looking at 4×4’s, but everything was too pricey, so I decided to slide through the rest of winter in my van, hoping to buy something ahead of next winter.
But when I tried to get out of the neighborhood, I got stuck on the exit road with its ever-so-slight incline and a stop sign at the top. Even backing up for a running start didn’t work. Heading back to the house on the least hilly streets, I felt like Ma Ingalls. Just like her, I’d probably have to stockpile errands for the first thaw.
Little did I know that God-the-husband was about to solve the problem through my caring brother-in-law Bervin, who is always willing (eager!) to be used by the Lord. On Saturday he drove into our driveway behind the wheel of a big, black Dodge Durango saying, “How ‘bout we go on a test drive?” He and Mary were offering their SUV.
Climbing up into the driver’s seat, I felt ready to conquer any dune! With no effort at all we backed over mounds of snow left by plows and headed for the entrance road, which was a bunny hill to this powerful machine. I felt surrounded in safety. No more slip-‘n-slide games for this girl! “You can use it indefinitely,” Bervin said, “because I won’t need it through the winter.”
Scripture says we’re not to trust in horses or chariots to win our battles, but looking out the front window at my “new” Durango, I’ve got a lot of faith in that chariot. There isn’t much doubt it’ll conquer every snow-challenge winter spits out.
The real security, though, beneath those monster-size tires (Could they be three feet wide?!) is a brother-in-law and sister who are looking out for me, putting my needs ahead of their own. As Scripture says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4) This is very difficult to do, but on Saturday, it got done.
“May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” (Psalm 20:1,4,7)