Randa’s son, Jaylon, made the three-hundred-and-sixty mile trip from Brookings, South Dakota, to Saint Joseph just fine Friday afternoon. Through all the miles of interstate, construction and heat, his eleven-year-old minivan hummed right along. But, as soon as he got to Saint Joe, it stopped humming. Well, OK, the motor kept humming but the transmission was another matter.
Needless to say, finding himself with transportation that wouldn’t transport wasn’t the way Jay wanted to begin his weekend. He’d planned to spend the evening with friends, not in desperate search for a tow truck and a mechanic who might somehow consider spending his weekend rebuilding a transmission. Randa and I had planned to spend our evening piddling around the house. So, we loaned Jay our car and started piddling around with the Yellow Pages.
On my third call to listings for “Automatic Transmission Repair,” a human actually answered the phone. “Yeah, I’ll be here till somewhere between midnight and four in the morning; go ahead and bring it over.”
I don’t know what the odds are of finding a mechanic who knows what he’s doing inside a transmission housing and who is also willing to work a whole hot weekend inside a non-air conditioned garage getting a ’99 Ford Windstar back on the road. I do know that Jay, his mother and I were glad we found one.
Relief isn’t a function of knowing the odds so much as it is a matter of clearly seeing the advantage gained from having the situation turn from desperation to satisfaction. For those who have traded damnation for salvation, “relief” is hardly an adequate word.