Jo Ann Jaacks: The horrible, terrible, really bad day

Halloween decorations

Halloween decorations

/ Jo Ann Jaacks

I began my morning in the usual way: got my newspaper, got my mail at the post office, and headed out to the running track where I do fast walking on the outer track, which is intended for use by owners walking their dogs or parents pushing a stroller. It’s uplifting that I can beat the pace of any pooch so far, mostly because they stop to sniff or pee multiple times.

Halfway to the track, I heard loud noises from the car, and the ride seemed bumpier than usual even from all the road work going on. Another mile, and the loud noises were accelerating and the bumpy ride was quite pronounced. I decided to turn around and go home to get help with this. Another half-mile, the car was shaking, I smelled smoke, and saw in the rearview mirror that there was a black trail behind me. I pulled over in the first driveway which was on a dirt road.

When I jumped out of the car and ran around the front, there were smoking black marks in the dirt and the right tire was obliterated. I thanked God for getting me safely out of the busy traffic. I pulled my purse out, took out my wallet with the AAA card, then searched for my cell phone. With a sinking feeling, I remembered that I left it in the charger.

This was early morning on a very busy state road. Cars were whizzing past at 60 to 70 mph, and even if someone wanted to help me, they would be risking their own life. I decided to find the house on this road and ask to make a call. I noticed several signs posted on small wooden structures: No Trespassing and Private Property. I didn’t see a house. I did hear a dog loudly barking. I grabbed my purse, locked the car, and tried putting my hand up to stop the traffic. That did not work, so I just jig-jagged to the other side, hugged the curb, and walked home.

The phone was already ringing before I could dial for help. The man was known to me - our local constable. I laughed, “Am I going to be arrested?” He laughed too, which was comforting. He said the owner of the property called the police for a trespassing vehicle so he had to investigate. I assured him I was calling now for a tow truck to bring the car to my mechanic.

As it turns out, just like the mail is very slow nowadays, UPS shipments don’t arrive on the promised day. I am going through the process of scheduling a tow truck, which is a lengthy dirge. When the driver finally called me, he had found the car according to my directions, but he needed the key. I said I was told the key was not needed. I gave a big sigh, he gave a big sigh, then he asked “What’s your address?” I waited on my front porch, then ran down the driveway to give him the key. He apologized for the misunderstanding, but I told him I was so happy he was here that I could kiss him.

The good news was that on my long walk home, I got an opportunity to snap a picture of the best Halloween decorations in Litchfield. Sometimes it’s not the “little things” that matter but the big scary things you come out of safely that lift our spirits the most.