Thursday night all four in our little family gathered to watch something on Netflix. We may only be four, but we filled the couch, spilling child bodies, blankets, and pillows onto the floor. My daughter and I somehow talked the menfolk into watching an episode of the Take Home Chef. If you remember, my daughter once declared she would marry Curtis Stone. He will one day be my son-in-law. I still haven’t come to terms with having such a good cooking Australian son-in-law, but we watched.
Then I had a divine appointment with 18 Kids and Counting.
I’ve watched before, but I cannot say I’m a regular fan of the show. I have great respect for the Duggars, because they parent well, at least it seems that way on camera. This episode was just for me. Two of their older girls were packing for a trip to New York. Packing for their entire family! I broke out into a cold sweat at the thought. I pack for four and always manage to forget a toothbrush or deodorant or must I admit, a pair of underwear. The Duggar girls are something I am not – organized. I sat in amazement as they filled suitcase after suitcase. Then I turned off the TV and packed for our short trip to Vermont.
The next morning as FringeMan carried out our bags. He said, “That’s it? I’m really impressed by how you packed.”
Thank you Duggar child. Do you want to come live with me?
I put an outfit for each of us on a hanger, stuffed our pockets with underclothing and socks, and then covered the four full hangers with a contractor bag. The next morning, we tossed all our dirty clothes into the contractor bag. Ingenious right? Add one toiletry bag to the mix and I was done packing.
Early Friday morning, Fringeman went to fetch us a rental car (the mechanic didn’t have time to fix our car last week), while I watched a live stream of the royal wedding. Princess Diana’s wedding was the best fairy-tale of my youth, so I wanted my daughter to watch her son’s wedding.
Gosh I’m getting old!
A few hours later we piled into our little compact car. FringeMan said, “I bought an extra $18 dollars worth of insurance. It covers any damage inside or outside the car.”
We are doomed, I thought. I knew this in my heart.
Three hours later, sitting at a stoplight in Vermont, there was a big bang and we four lurched forward as far as our seatbelts allowed. I knew it would happen! Thanking God for insurance, I looked over at FringeMan. Coffee, thick with cream and sugar, dripped from his body. Dern those Duggars and their efficiency. I have no extra clothes!
As my neck creaked back into place, FringeMan got out to assess the damage. Sure enough a bullseye punctured the fireberglass just below the back bumper. Looking in the review mirror, I spied a slight wisp of blond pony-tail getting back into her car crying.
Not only did this very young new driver slam into our rental car, but she had to face a rather intimidating FringeMan dripping with coffee. She needed help.
I got to her momma’s large SUV just as she hung up her phone. Dressed in her rugby uniform, tears wet her face and pooled on her cell phone.
“Are you ok?” I asked. “You’re not hurt?”
Her pony-tail bobbed back and forth.
“Just shaken up?” I questions.
Her y-yes came with a new flood of tears.
Because I remember calling my father the day I wrapped my little matchbox car around a tree, I asked, “Are your parents mad?”
“If it makes you feel any better, I’ve hit my fair share of cars, trees, brick walls, and an eight foot mound of snow. This is nothing! Your mom’s SUV has no damage and we bought extra insurance on our rental, so you’re off the hook!” I tried to comfort her.
It was only when I returned to our not so new rental that I noticed my kacki short wearing son was covered in grease. This cannot be happening, I thought. I will never watch the Duggars again! And so a rather tattered FringeFamily, smelling slightly like stale coffee and grease, filed into the Michael W. Smith concert.
Michael W. gave testimony to how he did a good job of barely surviving for a long time. Now he realizes the abundant life is his to live. She shared how he learned to walk each day in God’s grace. How for many years he functioned with a wrong view of God. It was very good, something I needed to hear.
After the concert, we went in search of a meal. Only nothing was open. Vermont is closed at 10:30 p.m. We hadn’t eaten in almost ten hours and we were all starving. Green-bean casserole was sounding appetizing. We pulled up alongside a tow-truck and FringeMan asked him if he knew where we could get a burger or something. The very first words out of his mouth were “You’re not from around here, are you?”
We knew we were back in the too far north. Vermont is like a sister-state to Maine, the much curvier and more full-figured sister. Vermont is all giant mountains, squirrely roads, and rivers. Both states know we are from away.
After the tow-truck driver pointed us in the direction of a Burger King, FringeMan rolled up his window, turned to me and said, “I know the fishing industry has been hard-hit in today’s economy, but I didn’t realize the Gordon of Gloucester’s Fisherman is now driving tow-trucks.”
I lie not. This bearded man was wearing the exact yellow slicker and rain hat as the Gordon of Gloucester Fisherman. I wouldn’t have contained my laughter if he had sent us to a Captain D’s or Arthur Treachers.
Not only did we get to see a concert, a fund-raiser for a Christian school, but we also visited with friends. Two families that attended our church in Maine now live in Vermont. We’ve all remained good friends and had fun catching our families up on life in different states. Our trip was better than a chocolate cupcake with buttercream icing.
(for nostalgia’s sake)