BROKEN DOWN VEHICLES, FAIR PROJECTS AND GROWLING DOGS
I've been stranded along the road when they broke down and I've been stranded in parking lots when they failed to start.
We had one old truck that had a big hole in the floor board, practically no brakes, windshield wipers that once turned on would not go off and the windows would only roll part way down.
This was the truck the kids and I delivered tomatoes in.
When we got to the end of the road the kids would start saying, "Pump mom" because I had to pump the brakes.
This was the truck we took 4-H projects to the fair in.
Four kids and myself in a truck with windows that wouldn't roll down and we are in the middle of July, oh and the window wiper switch got hit so they were going back and forth and it was sunny and ninety- five degrees out.
Heidi had her cake she was entering on her lap all the kids and me were in the front seat of the truck, remember we are hot and crowded and in a hurry.
We had to drop off tomatoes at the store before we went to the fair grounds.
Somehow Lucas' elbow went into the side of Heidi's cake.
She starts yelling and they start shoving and arguing.
Then like all good 4-H moms on project entry day, I start yelling.
I don't remember the rest of the ride but when we got to the fair and the judge asked her what happened to her cake, she told him her brother put his elbow in it.
She still got a blue ribbon.
Then we had an old van we delivered tomatoes and fair projects in.
I remember one time it was the day to enter projects.
If you are or have been a 4-H mother, you know this is a painful day.
Jessica was taking cookies, well we got them ready last minute.
In my defense I had four kids getting projects ready and I was crazy.
We took the cookies out of the oven and ran to the car.
We didn't plate them they were to hot so we left them on the cookie sheet.
We jumped in the van with all the projects and sped out the drive.
I went over the hill to fast there at John Lee Purkhiser's place, Jess was sitting in the back holding the cookie sheet and she started screaming and cookies started flying.
All the cookies flew off the sheet.
There was no stopping now, I told her to calm down and we would pick them up and put them on the plate when we got there.
She too,got a blue ribbon.
All those fair trips in old cars and old trucks.
So like I said, I know a thing or two about them.
This evening I was on my way home and I saw an old truck broke down along the side of the road.
There wasn't anyone around as far as I could see so I went on but it got me to thinking about the old days.
Like the day the kids and I were going to the store so I got them all in the van.
At this time they would have been ages, seven, five, three and one.
We started on our way and the old van stopped.
I mean it stopped dead.
Without warning it just went kapoot.
This was before cell phones and so I told the kids we would just walk home and get their dad to come and fix it.
So we started down the road.
I was carrying Olivia and the other three were walking with me.
We started going by a house and four big dogs came out.
I mean they were big dogs, no certain breed, just a mixture.
They ran into the road and growled and barked and got all around us.
I picked Jessica up so now I had her and Olivia in my arms, with the free part of my hands I got Heidi and Lucas as close to me as I could and told them to keep walking, look straight, don't talk and keep walking.
They were so good they did exactly as I said.
The dogs were still walking with us and around us and growling and barking.
I acted calm and talked steady and kept Heidi and Lucas moving but in my mind I was thinking of all the stories I had heard about how a group of dogs is worse than one.
About how if one attacks they will all attack.
We kept walking and finally they started to fall back and we walked out of the danger.
I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, it sounds like I'm being dramatic but at the time it was so scary.
But when I saw the truck I thought of it again.
Every time I think about that day I want to cry.
I think about what I would have done if they would have attacked, I think about how I was there with four babies and how could I have protected them and I feel sick.
So tonight I'm thinking two things.
One, I'm thankful that while I don't drive anything fancy, I don't break down along the road anymore.
Just proof that if you keep working and you keep facing the day it will pay off.
Also, I'm thankful for the protection God gave my children that day.
Whenever I think about it I feel afraid and then I feel thankful.
It's true of growling dogs too, or in this case it was, keep walking and soon you will walk out of the danger.
That applies to a lot of things in life.
When it seems you are broke down and feel like nothing is happening or when you feel like there are growling, uncertainties all around, just don't stop walking.
Don't stop moving and you will walk into a clearing and you will be so thankful.