Last Saturday I was working at the Round Rock Gymboree, and between classes, checked my phone to read a text from my hubby: “Wanna get away to S.A> And see Mom and Bob? I’ll have the kids all packed up :)” Gotta love a good ol spontaneous 3-day road trip to a favorite city of ours, San Antonio. As I was wiping down the play equipment, I was gettin’ so excited. Although I did wonder if he’d gotten that annoying noise checked out – the slight thumping noise we’d heard comin’ from the back of the Scion for about 3 days prior. Well, no matter. In no time, I was off work, zoomed home to pack my own stuff (which as I forewarned him, takes longer than the 10 minutes he alloted – I’M A GIRL! – who he’s been married to for nearly 13 years now – you think you’d know someone’s estimated packing time by 13 yrs!) & a target bag stuffed w/crackers, carrots, chocolate, a cake mix, & nuts and then I grabbed the electronic putting green (just in case these peoples’ home had no activities!) and a pillow (“and this LAMP, and that’s all I need“). All to which when I finally sat my tired butt in the front passenger seat, Rick looks at me and says, “who packs a cake mix and a putting green?”
“I DO. Let’s go.”
So we’re a half-hr. out, it’s a perfect 71 degrees with a breeze and we’re cruisin’ down the free-est toll road out of Austin, the 130. We’re laughin’ about dumb stuff and looking forward to the evening ahead, and we hear this thumping. It’s making me wonder. But I don’t look at him…for two more exits.
Then I have to break the silence, “What is that?” “It’s gotta be the road”, he says. But these toll roads are pretty new and smooth as a baby’s heiney. Well, it became obvious within 10 more seconds it wasn’t the road. The road does not get louder & louder & emit the scent of burnt rubber. Smelled kinda good, actually. Well, we pulled onto the shoulder around 4pm, called Janis & Bob to say we prob. wouldn’t be there for dinner, and hung out there stranded (jack: check. spare: check. lugnut-lock…. lugnut lock….? No D*** lugnut lock!) for a few hours.
Well God brought our way the kindest old cowboy cop who let Braylon explore his vehicle including demo the flashing lights, gave us bottled water when we were thirsty, helped spray Lysol on the front seat when Angel couldn’t hold it any longer so she peed as she sat there (did I mention ON the front passenger seat), and most crucially, he called a tow truck to come for us. Meanwhile, Braylon was keeping himself entertained by the nearby hill’s treasure hunt of trash and sticks. The P.O. stuck with us even after the tow truck arrived and left once it was secured. About 6:30, near sun-down, we were off, w/the kids on our laps (so illegal, but the P.O. ok’d it!) to find the nearest WalMart tire center. Well they couldn’t help us get our flat off & suggested AutoZone a mile away). Even though our driver should’ve dropped us all off there, he refused and got a verbal whippin’ from his boss for it. He said he has a family too – a 1 & a 2 yr old. He would not leave us til he knew we’d be taken care of. So he taxi’d us to AutoZone for the part, helped Rick jimmy-rig that lugnut right off and taxi’d us back to WalMart… just MINUTES before they closed at 8pm. By 8:45,we were “on the road again”.
Well, San Antonio, you were worth the wait…and the trouble. We rolled in to the parking garage of the resort-like apartment units next the the Hilton, around 9:30pm. We were greeted w/the warmest smiles and hugs and spoiled with a most delicious meal, drink & dessert. Janis & Bob’s friends, Mimi & Paul Bulyalert have got the market cornered on hospitality. The next few days were relaxing, encouraging and just fun. The next morning, church was in a movie theater (weird! but cool & was very encouraging) – and that evening, they invited a 3rd (very fun) couple to join us for dinner.
They talked about how they love their church and their connection group (or small group) w/the Bulyalerts & 4 other families. To hear about how they make an effort to gather every Friday, make crazy big meals together, let their kids play as they talk about what the Lord’s doing & teaching them – and about the previous Sunday’s sermon – this really spoke to us. It gave us hope. Hope that we will one day find a church w/small groups that function similar to those of the early church in Acts. I think God really had a hand in how this evening panned out. The 8 of us just sat around the dinner table and talked and told stories and laughed our butts off and grubbed on Rudy’s barbecued beef brisket and creamed corn, then pineapple upsidedown cake and ice cream and cookies and brownies til we ’bout keeled over in a sleepy, happy stuper. As Angel would say, by the night’s end, we were quite “satisfive”.
By the end of the weekend road trip, I felt re-energized & re-connected. Grateful for a fully-functional car, for a super loving family and for our new friends. ( BTW, not once did I need to pull out my handy dandy putting green or cake mix).
I was reminded that God speaks in the gentlest sweetest ways to his children. I truly hope to do this weekend all over again soon.