Monday, May 26, 2014

Car trouble

Sitting in the summer house with friends yesterday, we told stories. I shared this tale of a misadventure many years ago…

I heard the engine roar as my husband waited for me in his new purchase, a 1977 Corvette. As I slid into the car, I grabbed onto the seat belt and strapped it firmly across my hips. Making a road hugging turn, we headed to a wedding.

When we arrived at the church, I pushed the release button on the seat belt; but it held secure. Then my husband leaned over and pushed the button, grabbing onto the belt and jerking it.

“Wait a minute,” he said. “I’m coming around.”

Opening the door, my husband knelt on the body frame and pulled with all his strength but to no avail.

“Listen, honey,” my husband said as he opened the T-top. “Maybe you can squeeze out of the belt, and I can climb on the roof and lift you out.”

“I’ll try,” I said feebly.

I pushed on the floorboards with my black high heels and willed my body upward. But the belt dug deeper into my flesh and would not let me go.

I began to panic. In a few minutes the bride would be walking down the aisle.

My husband lost his patience and began tugging with all his might. If the belt wouldn’t release, then he’d rip it right out. But it only rubbed and burned its pattern into my skin.

And that’s when I began to hyperventilate. I leaned out the car door as far as I could, gasping for air.

“Isn’t there a scissors or knife in the trunk?” I panted.

“Corvettes don’t have trunks,” he said, pacing up and down the sidewalk.

“Well maybe you could knock on a door and ask for something to cut me out of this thing,” I shrieked.

Just then a carpet company van came down the street.

Without thinking, my husband ran after it, hailing the driver. He pulled over and rolled down the window, and my husband blurted out, “I need a knife for my wife.”

Calming down, my husband began to explain…

“Don’t cut my dress!” I wailed, when my husband returned and sliced the belt with the borrowed carpet knife.

I was free.

Although we were very late, we saw that the bride was still standing by the church door.

Sitting in the pew, I read the wedding invitation: “Two lives, two hearts joined in friendship, united forever in love.”

“Just like us,” I thought to myself. “And I’m also joined to his car.”

Friday, May 9, 2014

A world loved into being

Ah, springtime… It’s been a long time coming this year. But finally after many false starts, a warm sunny day arrives; and it is time to de-winterize the summer house.

While my husband works on a broken water line, I skip outside to look for spring.

Wild white and orchid pansies greet me on the front lawn, and my first thought is to delay my husband from taking out the mower. I imagine fairies hiding behind their tiny perfect petals, but more likely a colony of awakening insects inhabits this colorful garden.

Laden with buds, the branches of the maple tree wave to me in the wind. I feel their urgency, the yellow pockets yearning to unfurl against a backdrop of bright blue sky.

In the backyard the carpet of deep green lawn is interrupted by patches of dandelions. I remember the delight of holding tiny bouquets of the bright yellow flowers in my six-year-old hands.

Walking over to the stone wall, I admire the row of daffodils in full bloom. Then I spot a door in a nearby tree. Perhaps wee folk live here.

One of my favorite opening lines in literature is this one:

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” wrote J.R.R. Tolkien. … “It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle. The door opened on to a tube-shaped hall like a tunnel: a very comfortable tunnel without smoke, with paneled walls, and floors tiled and carpeted, provided with polished chairs, and lots and lots of pegs for hats and coats – the hobbit was fond of visitors... The best rooms were all on the left-hand side (going in), for these were the only ones to have windows looking over his garden, and meadows beyond, sloping down to the river.”

Tolkien biographer Charles Moseley writes: “Tolkien’s Christian understanding of the nature of the world was fundamental to his thinking and to his major fiction. Neither propaganda nor allegory, at its root lies the Christian model of the world loved into being by a Creator, whose creatures have the free will to turn away from the harmony of that love to seek their own will and desires, rather than seeking to give themselves in love to others. This world is one of cause and consequence, where everything matters, however seemingly insignificant.”