07 February, 2011

When You Least Expect It

Rattle, rattle, shake, shake... Doug's Isuzu started handling like it was crazy. He immediately headed for the shoulder of the Northern Highway. We were just rounding the bend heading north toward Corozal, I think at about the border of San Joaquin Village and Ranchito Village, at about 4:00 PM. There's two speed bumps, a school which had just let out for the day and students walking along both sides of the highway, cane trucks, loaded with cargo were headed toward the sugar factory at Orange Walk Town, people were heading home for their evening meal.

Here we were, pulled over on a narrow shoulder in the midst of this madhouse of traffic. We jumped out to reconnoiter the problem. We quickly found that the left front tire had blown, rather spectacularly, shredding itself completely.

Doug, who had been driving (it's his vehicle), began the daunting process of getting stuff cleared out of the way of the back of the Isuzu so he could retrieve the jack (we had been down to Belize City for some shopping at Benny's, Brodies', Renco Batteries, and some looked-forward-to refreshments at the Riverside Tavern.

Here we were, almost home, probably no more than nine or ten minutes away and this happened.

Anyway, Doug got the hydraulic jack out of the back, while Denis and I began fetching the jack handles and lug wrench from under the back seat storage area. We got it all out and sort of assembled - a group effort for the three of us. None of us had ever changed a tire on an Isuzu, so we were unsure of the jack-point where the jack actually meets the car body, or even how the jack handles fit together. Eventually, we got it all fitted together properly.

We started cranking the handle on the jack, when I heard a couple of voices say "Hi Dave". Looking up, I was astonished to see Lynn and Pete, a couple of friends who we knew were coming to Corozal from Seattle. I was expecting to see them probably tomorrow, but I sure wasn't expecting to see them on the shoulder of the highway. They were just coming from Goldson International Airport with their rented SUV. They offered to assist in whatever way they could.

Just about then, a vehicle pulled up on the other side of the highway. It was Mae and Earl, friends of ours who live in Corozal, probably on their way for some Rotary Club business. Mae came over to see if they could be of any assistance.

About then another couple, who I think, Mae knew (it got a little confusing right about then) and introduced to us (I think they were introduced to us as Roy and Peggy, but I could be entirely wrong on that score. If I am, I apologize),

About then, a couple other pickups and cars with people we knew passed by, slowing down and asking if they could help, but probably just as well that they kept going. One that did stop was Franz, a Mennonite friend of ours from Shipyard. Franz has a construction company and had built my house and Mae's house, and had built the roof on Denis' house.

It was lucky he stopped, as about then, Doug found out his jack wasn't cranking the Isuzu up high enough to allow us to remove the blown tire. Franz said he had a 12-ton hydraulic jack that could probably do the trick. He trotted back across the congested highway and retrieved his jack, came back and proceeded to lift up the front half of the Isuzu, which was perfect for us to finish changing the tire.

Shortly after, Doug found the spare tire on the tire carrier was padlocked in place. Of course, he couldn't find the key for it right away and had to call his wife Twyla, who told him where  to find the missing key.

As Denis fitted the spare onto the axle, Mae and Earl departed, as did Lynn, Pete, and Roy and Peggy. Once we got the tire mounted and tightened enough, Franz took back his jack and headed off on his way.

Suddenly, it was just the three of us again. We jumped into the Isuzu, got back into traffic and headed, finally, toward home.

Normally, these sort of things happen when you're alone, it's dark, raining, cold and miserable. Your spare is flat. You have to call a tow, etc., etc. Not this time. It was a nice warm afternoon, sunny, clear sky, huge amounts of vehicles and people all around, and more friends than you could possibly expect, stopped and/or drove by, all offering to help.

It quickly became a funny, surreal experience that was over within minutes of its occurring as the spare was in good condition, held its air and we drove off. It turned out to be just one of those weird and strange little incidents that happen when you least expect it.


JRinSC said...

Well, based on a theory by a guy named Murphy, you have most likely just used up your "least expect it" good moment for this week.

Be right careful for the next little while else the pendulum corrects itself... LOL

Neat story...


JRinSC said...

I hope you've been careful (see my other msg) ... but I'm beginning to worry a bit. Hopefully you've only experienced a bad internet connection but a gap this long isn't normal.

Are you guys OK?


Anonymous said...

All you needed was a couple of Belikan's and you had a perfect afternoon.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys great story! it sounds like good friends are always there when they are needed, do you have more pic's from belize to share? thanks