By Carol Redmore

We are, I am afraid, a disgrace to our neighborhood in Fountain of the Sun.

The first incident occurred a couple of years ago; the other two were recent. But the first set the scene

That happened a year or so ago when our granddaughter,

Amanda, and her husband and two little boys were here visiting and staying in their RV. We kept their little Morkie, Boomer. One afternoon Amanda and her sister, Jenna, who lives here in Phoenix were here visiting when here was a knock on the door. Fred had taken the three little boys for a walk, and I thought they were playing a trick on me. Many years earlier, I had done pre-school our we had 4 grandchildren; when I had to go in the bathroom, they would knock on the door and growl. I would say, “Is that the big bad wolf?” Giggling and shuffling followed, and finally I would open the door a crack and call, “Is that big bad wolf out there?’

I was so sure that Fredwas returning with the boys that I assumed they were playing a prank. “Is that the big bad wolf?” I called. No answer. No giggles. That should have been a warning. “I know that’s the big badwolf!” I called. There was a sharp knock on the door. “You can’t fool me!” I called, “I know who you are !” I then opened the door a crack but there were not there little boys—instead I caught a glimpse of a blue dress. Tentatively, I opened the door. There stood a stern looking woman with bright-eyed little Boomer in her arms. “I found this dog in the street!” she barked. I sputtered apologies, but she marched past me and into the living room where she confronted Amanda, Jenna—and me. “Thie little dog was loose out there!” she scolded. “You’d better watch him!” and with that she tured ad stomped out.

Fast forward to lastmonth. Our grandaon Jake, a freshman at ASU keeps his car at our house, taking it out on weekends to pursue his work detailing cars. One Saturday he was at our house cleaning the engine of his car, which he said had been running a bit rough. His instructions told him that when he ad finished and started the car, some smoke would blow out—he should then take it for a “brisk” drive. He backed out of the drive, and as he turned and stepped on the gas. He had seen that two women were walking in the road; he was careful to keep them in sight in the rearview mirror, but at the moment he stepped on the gas, a huge plume of whitish exhaust bloomed out of the back. It totally enveloped the women so that only their feet could be seen. Jake was mortified and didn’t know what to do—so he just drove away, his face flaming. One of the walkng women, as you might guess, was the same woman who had arrived ina rage with Boomer in her arms.

Since then we have considred going out with sacks over our heads to disguise ourselves.

But the worst was yet to come. Butfirt an explanation. In the fall I needed to renew my driver’s license ,which had been detlayed for nearly a year because of Covid. Unfortunately, I didn’t know if I could renew the license as first I had to get the proper papers asserting that my vision was good enough for me to take the driver’s test. I did pass the test, but was in a state of pure panic over taking the test. Actually the vision test had turned out quite well and I only drove around Freeport. I hoped to get the license and, with luck, continue driving around town, though I promised I would stop if I knew I couldn’t do it safely any more.

One Monday morning we had had a quick breakfast at Birdies before writing group. The plan was that I would walk oveer to the Activities Center so that Fred could have the car to run errands. However, it grew late too quickly–”Just take the car over,” Fred said; “I’ll pick it up there.”

Easy enough—such a short way: I just had to get ouf of the parking lot and drive that short way. Merrily, I set out. Alas, it did not go well. In fact, I didn’t get out of ther parkng lot. It seems there are curbs on each side of the exit. The one on the left is not justa curb—it is a very high curb. It is too high for a car just to drive over it. I learned this to my grief.

How did I do this? Only God knows. But there was tis jolt and a grinding sound. The only sensible thing I did was to make no effort to move the car. A very nice man came over an said if he had the right jack, he could lift it off. But he did not have the right jack. A wrecker would have to be called.

Reluctantly, I walked back to the Birdies deck. There was Fred sitting in the sun, peacefully reading the paper and drinking his coffee. Startled, he looked at me. “Uh,” I said, “I kind of have a problem.” What problem. “Well, the car is sort of hung up on that high curb.”

It was amazing how calmly he took this news. He was probably in shock. He called the wrecker but we would have to wait. “Go on to the group,” he said, “thee’s nothing you can do here.”

I did go. The wrecker came quickly, and whle he waited, a crowd gathere to see this sight. One woman took a picture.

As it happened, the man managed to jack up the car and get it down. By some miracle, there was no damage except a small scratch at one point.

It reminded me of the story of the man stranded on a roof during a flood. He prayed to be rescued but God did not lift him off the roof. A boat ccame by but he was dedicated to his praying. It was the same with a helicopter that dangled a rope down to him and with a man who heroially swam to carry him off. The flood waters rose and soon the waters were about to cover his head, the man called out to God. “I asked you save me!” he cried, “You didn’t answer—you failed me!”

I sent you a boat, a helicopter, and a heroic swimmer. What did you expect?”

I did nt actually pray to be rescued from my unfortunate approach. But I could imagine praying for a sign to show me whethere or not I should continue driving. And God would reply, “You drove onto a concrete barrier and were stranded there. Isn’t that a sufficient answer?”

I didn’t actually pray to be rescued from my perch. But perhaps I should pray to have the neighbors’ memories erased so that the Big Bad Wolf and the great cloud of exhaust will be gone forever. It may be a little more difficult to erase the memories of a group of people and a wrecker operator—and even if that should happen, somewhere out there is a picture on someone’s camera and it has probably floated exponentially out into the Internet cloud.