There was no good reason for it to happen. I wasn’t driving especially fast, we don’t currently have ice or snow and the road surface wasn’t seriously wet, and no I was not talking on my cell phone. (Or texting. I’m not suicidal.) But there’s this curve in the road just before you turn off onto the gravel road leading to our house and, well, I didn’t quite make it.
So there I was, after a quite graceful slide, nose down in a ditch. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so the tires promptly settled snugly into mud.
The whole situation was more embarrassing than anything else. I called Himself to bring the truck, and phoned a friend to keep myself occupied while I waited.
After a while a car drove by, slowed, then drove on. “Well phooey to you too,” I thought. But a few minutes later a car came along from the opposite direction and pulled up, and out popped one of our neighbors.
I should mention that some of our neighbors are … unsavory. We live on the outskirts of a medium-sized town, in an area where the properties range from around three to 10 acres. Some of the folk here are farmers, mostly raising cattle or hay. And then there are the others, who have lived out here since before anyone cared. One family in particular – the ones who live right where we turn off onto our private road and drive off the map – includes several felons and their wimmin and their brood, all clustered in a falling-down house, and they spend a fair amount of time (when they’re not in prison) making huge fires in their back yard and sitting around them and just being creepy. Sometimes they shoot things.
When I drive past I’ll flick a wave, just to be friendly (and by way of insurance), but what I’m actually thinking is this…
So, okay, the only time I’ve ever actually seen any of them looking like that was a few years ago when I drove past just as they opened up a freshly killed steer carcass that they had strung up in their back yard. But memories like that tend to stay with you.
Anyway, the neighbor who got out of the car that pulled up next to where I was waiting, trapped in the ditch? He wasn’t one of the farmers. He came from that house.
On the other hand, he actually looked rather a lot like this…
Maybe a little blonder, but that’s him, right down to the smile. And once he’d ascertained that I was okay, and didn’t need him to fetch his pickup or call an ambulance, and had verified that I was too stuck to drive out of the ditch, he just hung on out there and kept me company until Himself arrived. He told me that the person who had driven past was his wife, but she was too scared to stop so she sent him out to me instead. “She finds it pretty scary, living out here,” he commented. “I’ve lived here all my life, and I like it, being out of town.”
Then one of his buddies showed up – and ja, he was pretty stoned, but friendly and wanting to help. Soon after that Himself arrived, and the two young guys hooked the chain up to our pickup, and a few minutes later I popped out of that ditch as easy as a champagne cork coming out of a bottle.
I’ll swing by tomorrow with some steaks (I haven’t seen them butchering anything for a while) and a malva pudding. Because when you choose to live out in the boondocks, usually that’s partly because you don’t want people in your pocket all the time – but good neighbors are still worth nurturing.