Saturday, February 19, 2005

To Those Who Ride White Horses

We found ourselves at a familiar destination this week, it’s called the state of car repair. It’s the hot spot to which we drive back and forth with seeming regularity. While some fly by plane to beautiful vacation destinations, we often arrive at Park’s Auto by tow truck. This time we were actually driven there by way of Cally’s teal Saturn, aka “Veronica”, dressed in her finest red and white Hawaiian print seat covers, seeming to long for a road trip to fun and freedom, but getting the car lift instead.

When I was a teenager, car problems were as numerous as all teen crises. That darn green, convertible Fiat began the curse of all car curses, and I drove with fear and a quickened heartbeat, never knowing when I’d be making the dreaded call to my dad to tell him I’d broken down. On top of that, I’d have to make the even more dreaded call to that creepy Fiat repair guy, Tom, and then I had to take the car there myself and withstand his leering gaze. I found that difficult to bear, but, I did not have to bear the financial responsibility for this trauma and I didn’t have to fork over money for my own car insurance either. I just had to come up with $5.00 for gas here and there, which of course was a feat in itself back in the day. Despite the fear factor that came with driving that car, I had it good. If the green monster broke down, there was always that lumbering white station wagon, circa 1971 that I could borrow if mom and dad weren't using it. I was covered.

In my daughter’s world things are different. She lives in a home with a mom on the "daily bread" plan. At 16 she is responsible for her car, insurance, gas, repairs and maintenance. I sure wish it were different, but the money for teen cars and their costs didn't come with my financial “portfolio”. If she works a bit, and the car keeps running, she can usually manage without feeling like a slave to her vehicle.

But then it happens. A tow truck approaches from a distance, we hear those heavy tow chains clank together, and watch as a beloved vehicle is hauled away. Then the worst sound of all, the ching, ching of the car repair cash register, a sound that literally brings tears to our eyes.

The tears came again this week. There was my young daughter, the really responsible one who works on weekends at a tea shop, baby-sits sometimes 2 or 3 times a weekend and cleans a friend’s house to keep “Veronica” on the road; now she was hearing the ching, ching, feeling the pang in her heart and watching as her remaining savings disappeared into the black hole of vehicle upkeep. A sad day, especially with insurance due in three months - the kind with a teen premium attached.

Disheartened, she faced her fate. But wait... behold, from a distance... could it be? Was it true? Yes! The sound of horse hooves could be heard beating the ground, loud enough to drown out the noise of even a tow truck. A team of white horses came riding in to save the day and whisk her out of the dismal state of car repair depression.

Come to find out, those who ride white horses are very sensitive to sniffles, sobs and other agonizing sounds produced by trauma. Their hearts beat into their wallets and purses and bank accounts and they do without so we can do with. And they come as stealth riders, masked like Zorro, doing their good without recognition or commendation.

How exciting to see my daughter’s expression light up, to see returned to her some of the good and giving she so often does for others. To see her experience God at work, providing her daily bread, reinforcing her trust and assuring her someone shares her burdens... and mostly finding out that she is loved. What a gift! What a wonderful world.

So to all those who ride white horses and pass this way, may your now empty pockets be refilled, may you find yourself in a blissful state of joy as we find ourselves kicking back, freed from that greasy state of car repair. We blow you one of those big dating game kisses and wish you joy multiplied, and we thank you profusely for blotting our tears and plugging our ears to the sound of the ching, ching that taunted us. May all your road trips be vistas of beauty, and as you ride your white horses may the path be smoother than butter, and not that bouncy trot that hurts like heck. You are loved.


  1. Hey! When did you drive my Fiat? I don't remember that.

  2. Probably long after you trashed it and left me to fend for myself in its hideous clutches. hardy, har. I actually had both Fiats at one point or another. I trusted neither and found myself calling dad on many occasions because of those stupid cars. I hope your time with them was more favorable, and your memories sweeter. I also got pulled over by the dreaded cop, Hino, while driving the green one with the top down with a bunch of guys sitting up on the back as we drove around Town Hall Homes. He chewed me out, and said, "What would your dad say if he knew you were driving like this?" I greatly feared him spilling the story to dad. I managed to intercept him at the front door the next afternoon when he came to deliver dad's City Council packet. Whew! It was a close call I will never forget. Ah, those were the days.


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