by Kay Stoltz
Rain is coming in sheets, pouring so hard my windshield wipers can barely keep up and the wind is blowing sideways. New in town, I’m headed for a Garden Club meeting at the Pine Grove Community Center to meet people and enter the life of the community. It was merely sprinkling when I left, of course. Ah! Luck is with me, there is a parking spot right in front of the Community Center. I dash in and find a seat. I don’t remember much about the meeting, later events obscure the details.
At the end of the meeting, people have stopped at the door, talking about some problem. Then I see the problem: my car with no front tire? No, it’s just an exceedingly flat tire! My mind races; how do I change the tire? Where? How humiliating. I am embarrassed in front of these strangers.
One of the group around me chooses not to be a stranger. “Can I help you?” she says. “I can give you a ride, anywhere you want to go, but Scovel’s, our car repair garage is just up the hill.”
“Would you?” I ask. “Sure.” she says.
I can’t believe my good luck. Just like the Good Samaritan, she doesn’t hesitate to help a stranger.
“This is so kind of you,” I tell her, as we get in her car.
“Glad to do it,” she says, matter-of-factly.
“Welcome to Manzanita,” She smiles my way as we drive up the hill, “I hope you come back to the Garden Club.”
“I’d love to.”
“There’s Scovel’s,” she says, and wishes me luck.
A gal greets me as I enter the office.
“May I help you?” she asks.
“I hope so! My tire is flat, I’m new in town, a gal brought me here from the Pine Grove, I don’t know what to do, can you help me?” my words rush together in my embarrassment.
“OK,” she says, and leaves to find someone. Soon, a man appears, “So, you have a flat tire? Let’s see what we can do. We’ll drive down in my truck.”
At the Pine Grove, he parks his truck behind my car, gets out in the heavy rain to change the tire. It is raining so hard I can barely see him from my seat in the truck. It is taking a long time and he is getting drenched. Is he having a problem?
Finally finished, he says, “Follow me back to the shop.” and hands me the keys to my car.
At the shop, he says, “Since your car is a front wheel drive, I didn’t want to replace the flat front tire with the dummy tire. A back tire is now on the front and the dummy is on the back.” What a guy! In the pouring rain, he took the time to change two tires!
I congratulate myself on encountering Two Good Samaritans in a single day, and making a new home here in Manzanita.
This essay is part of the Hoffman Center’s Word and Image show. An author and an artist are paired to reflect each other’s work. Kay was paired with Karen Small for this essay.