This Side Up

Muffin man to the rescue

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I couldn’t hear my daughter-in-law, Erica. She had the hood of her jacket pulled down over her forehead and was waving her arms. It had to be some sort of disaster.

Over the noise of the chainsaw that my son, Ted, was using to clear branches, I learned Carol was at the market and locked out of her car. What market and when? Erica didn’t have the answers, although it couldn’t have been too long ago.

I felt my pockets. There was no phone. Then I remembered I’d left it in the car, as I would be helping Ted with the branches.

I left the brush-clearing activity and headed to the car. Carol didn’t answer, and I imagined by this time AAA had arrived and was addressing the situation.

This was a bad car morning for her. For starters, the front door was partially frozen shut.

When that happened earlier this winter, she plugged the hair dryer into an extension and fired it up in the frigid air. It didn’t work. Then came deicing spray, which remarkably she found where it had been left in a closet years ago. She had better luck with that.

On Saturday, she put some muscle into the door. After all, the de-icing spray was in the house and she didn’t have time to spare.

The door creaked and swung open.

She slipped into the driver’s seat and started the car, but now the frozen door wouldn’t stay shut. Not to be deterred from her mission to get to Ted’s house, where she planned on completing portrait sketches of our twin granddaughters, she pulled out of the driveway holding the door with one hand trying to ignore the perpetual beeping warning her of the open door. It wasn’t long before a second alarm sounded. She hadn’t put on her seatbelt. Driving while holding a door and putting on a seat belt is not a good practice.

But she got on the belt and freed up one hand when she was alerted on yet another issue. The gas gauge registered empty.

Fortunately, we’re not far from a Gulf station. She planned to make a stop there. It’s about then that she got the feeling someone was conspiring against her.

Just as she turned into the station, another car raced to the pump she’d selected for easy access to the tank. She was already running behind of her planned schedule and feeling pressed for time.

She gave up on the Gulf station, figuring she could make it to the next station on West Shore Road. She did, and there was some semblance that order was being restored. She made it to Ted’s. She completed the drawings and then headed back to Warwick. With all that was going on with the branches and woodcutting, I wasn’t aware she’d left until Erica showed up.

I tried calling a second time. She answered. I wasn’t expecting what I heard. She was laughing.

“I got a ride home in the muffin truck,” she announced delightedly. The story unfolded. She stopped at Sandy Lane Meat Market to buy some apples and broccoli and somehow managed to lock the keys inside. Of course, by now the door had thawed and was locked tight. Annie at the market offered to drive her home to get the second set, but then the Thomas English muffin man was headed that way. He gave her a lift.

“No need to rush,” she said. “When you get home, you can drive me back with the keys.”

That’s what we did. But, naturally if you’re at the market, there’s always something you might need.

Too bad there’s nothing to ward off bad luck.

We went for English muffins.

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