Storytelling

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From Jane’s World

I used to tell people that Roger, my old neighbor, had better stories than I did. Roger moved to Illinois a few years ago, but I check in with him often.

Yesterday, as I was driving to work, I called to see how he was faring farther south, in light of the cold spell we’re having here. Within minutes we were talking over each other about the weather, cars, and a planned visit that had been postponed due to both weather and cars.

I began telling Roger about my morning. My new neighbor, Tom, who bought both Roger’s home here and his snowplow, had come over earlier to plow out my driveway. Later I discovered my car wouldn’t start. I called Tom and explained I had an appointment in town and asked if he’d be willing to come jump my car.

Before Tom made it to my house, my car miraculously started. Roger laughed as I explained how I had driven toward Tom’s house while trying to call him back to save him a needless trip.

When I was about a mile down the road, Tom finally answered. “Where are you?” I asked.

“Coming to your house. I just got to the bottom of my driveway.”

"Turn around. It started! I’m glad I caught you before you went too far.”

“What was wrong with it?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I just got lucky and it started!”

“Maybe it wasn’t in park.”

“Maybe,” I answered, but I knew that Tom had solved the mystery. I’d had the car in reverse.

Roger had a good chuckle and said he had also done this. Once, he even had a tow truck on the way before he noticed the car wasn’t in park.

Roger and I have a lot in common.

Roger’s wife, Pat, was a good friend to me. She died unexpectedly and left a huge hole in my life. Pat was Roger’s everything. But Roger got lucky and has recently made friends with a wonderful lady who lives near him. He has been blessed twice, once with Pat, and now with Joanne.

“Well, I have a good one for you,” Roger said.

He told me about going to Joanne’s house the week before to pick her up for dinner. He went to the door to get her and as they came back out Joanne said, “Roger, where’s your car?”

Roger said, “In the driveway.”

Joanne exclaimed, “No, it’s not.”

Roger looked all around. The car was across the street, cockeyed in someone else’s driveway. Roger had left it in neutral and Joanne’s driveway has enough of a hill that it rolled. Thankfully, no one, nor the car, was injured!

I laughed until tears were rolling down my cheeks and my hound dog, Tete, began barking from the back seat.

I countered with the story of the time I had a neighbor, a sheriff’s deputy, and Ronnie, my favorite tow truck man, all trying to start my car, which had stalled a hundred yards from my driveway one frigid, snowy night.

After many attempts to start the car, and much work in the blinding snow to secure it to the back of Ronnie’s truck with an assortment of chains, they discovered the tailpipe was packed with snow. I had backed into a snowbank!

Roger and I both cackled at the memory and how mad I made Ronnie, who is usually as sweet as cherry pie.

But Roger had one more: He prefaced the story by explaining that he’s now driving the car that used to be Pat’s, and he’s not familiar with it.

Roger had taken Joanne out to eat. While they were in the restaurant, it started snowing. After their meal, Roger helped Joanne into the car and proceeded to clear off the front and back windows. When he got to Joanne’s house, he reached up to turn on the dome light, but accidentally opened the skylight instead, dumping about four inches of snow on Joanne.

I was howling so hard I couldn’t drive. I had to say good-bye and hang up for fear I’d drive off the road and have to call Ronnie.

I sure miss Roger. Hands down, he always has the best stories!

Originally Published February 14th, 2019 in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout