Dear Readers: This is a story I published way back in 1988, as a result of …well, I’ll let you read it. Enjoy.
In my first life, I had a husband who was six foot three and weight 215 pounds. My hero “did in” anything that threatened my existence. I wouldn’t want you to think he spoiled me but I covered spiders with fruit jars and he disposed of them at the end of his hard day’s work.
Life changed considerably after he left this earth and I went on the road full time. My perseverance in the face of danger has grown. Now if I am confronted by anything with four sets of legs, it is quickly sent to that Great Spider Web in the Sky. In arachnid circles, I am feared as “one-thumb Minshall.” It is called self-defense.
All of this to explain why I didn’t get fluttery and faint when I recently had the ultimate experience for a woman traveling alone in a motorhome…a flat tire. What a marvelous learning experience. What a builder of character. What a strike for womankind. What a lot of work!
I was driving merrily along a highway South of the Border with my windows open to feel the soft summer breezes when I heard this popping noise. Nothing felt different and I didn’t hear anything else, but a “sixth sense” encouraged me to stop and see where the noise originated.
I took my intuition and my “persuasion stick” and beat on the back tires expecting to find one of the duals had blown out. Because I had not been thrown into a ditch, against a tree, or into the other lane of traffic, I was surprised to discover it was the right front tire that had expired. I felt as deflated as it looked and immediately prayed but then realized God helps those who help themselves.
Never having changed a tire before and fully realizing my physical capabilities or lack thereof, I took four lengths of perforated computer paper, printed H E L P on it in big purple letters in both English and Spanish (Those Spanish lessons on the beach really did work!) and taped it to the rear of my sprintless Sprinter. I lifted the hood as another sign of distress.
I waited for soulmates in a motorhome to go by and they did. Zoooom! How about a truck driver? Honk, wave, zoooom! Shall I extend a tanned leg? Zoooom? Zoooom! I didn’t mind the lack of response so much as the laughter. They may be over 50 but they are perfectly good legs.
Knowing it was possible no one would stop, I took the hubcap off with a screwdriver and struggled to loosen the lug nuts which had been tightened by Arnold Schwarzenegger. All but two succumbed to my tireless efforts.
I got the bike down without committing suicide by bungie cord and bounced the spare off the rack into the dust, narrowly missing my feet. I looked as helpless as possible, emphasizing the silver hair and fabricating a limp.
I crawled underneath the rig and invaded the space of those aforementioned nasty beasties who turned out in numbers to stare at me. I was not in a good mood. I stared back. They ran. I could not get the new jack-in-the-box to work. Now what?
The situation could have been worse. My house was level and I had enough food for two weeks. I could have stayed by the side of the road and become a friend to man, but they didn’t seem interested.
It must have been the prayer that finally brought three knights to brighten my day. With the expertise of “Bruno from Denver” and two of his buddies, the tire was quickly changed.
This experience brought an all new meaning to the word “re-tire-ment” and I plan to spend a lot more time toning up those legs. Onward Sprinter.
God Bless until next week.
Winter in the Wilderness, the first e-book novel published by Minshall, is offered at most Internet book sites. A print edition may be obtained from Amazon, or you can order an autographed copy from the author at Box 1040, Congress, AZ for $7.95 plus $3.50 for postage and handling. The fourth edition of RVing Alaska and Canada is available through Amazon.com.
At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”