Friday, July 20, 2012


As you may know...this past May, The Mailman and I took a little camping trip.  To the Great Plains.  And one of our stops was the tiny town of Wimbledon, North Dakota.  Why Wimbledon, you ask? Well...because they have a tennis court. And the folks at the general store make a killer cheeseburger.

Before we left home, TM said to me, "Don't let me run the gas gauge below 1/4 of a tank.  Remember what happened last time?" Yes, I did remember.  We were cruising down the Interstate in Northern Indiana when our little Subaru began to sputter.  We eased off onto the first available exit and coasted into the nearest gas station.  Apparently, the weight of the camper on the hitch is just enough to render the gas gauge useless below 1/4 of a tank. the Great Plains there's a whole lot of nothing.  Stunningly beautiful nothing, mind you...but if you're a city slicker and used to a Starbuck's at every exit on the super-slab, you'll be pretty uncomfortable.  You'd better get your moch-jamocha latte while you can because it's gonna be awhile before you get another chance.  

So we're pulling out of Wimbledon (The Mailman, Me, our two elderly weenie dogs, our packed-to-the-gills Subaru Forester and our packed-to-the gills pop-up camper)...the conversation goes something like this...

ME (leaning over to see that the gas gauge is a little below 1/4 tank):  Are you going to get gas before we leave town?

TM: No, I'll fill up at the next town.  It's just about 12 miles down the road.


ME:  Are you sure they have a gas station?

TM:  Well...if they don't, the Interstate is just a couple more miles.


ME:  And how far on the Interstate until there's gas?

TM:  (Silence)

I am annoyed.

Presently, we come upon what I assume to be the "12 mile road"...which turns out to be dirt and gravel.  Not the best surface for a fully-loaded camper.  TM turns around and heads back toward Wimbledon.  As we approach the intersection that would take us back into town, I know exactly what he's going to to. That's right.  He drives on. I said, this part of the country has an abundance of wide open spaces.  Nothing between you and the blue sky...not a structure to be seen in any direction.  Beyond each grassy another grassy hill.  And on we go.

I am angry.  

I can feel the tension building.  TM begins to fidget.  The gauge is now on empty.  We pass a house and a cluster of farm buildings.

TM:  Do you want me to stop and see if they'll sell us some gas?

ME:  Do whatever you want.  You will anyway.

The rancher is apologetic.  No gas here...only diesel.  Jamestown is 7 miles down the road...and the gas stations are all on the near side of town.  Don't go any faster than 50 clicks...and good luck. We start down the road again.


We have the cell phone...but who do you call in the middle of nowhere?  It would serve him right if he has to walk...but I certainly don't want to wait on the side of the road in the burning sun...with two old weenie dogs on my lap...for God-knows-how-long until help arrives.   

And so I begin to the decidedly un-eloquent way of a soul on the edge of panic.

ME (under my breath because I'm not talking to him):  Please get us there. Please get us there.  PLEASE get us there.  

We top the last hill and see the promised land of Jamestown ahead.  As we creep towards the first gas station, I notice that the fuel is a couple of pennies cheaper a half-block further on.

ME (to myself):  If he goes for the cheaper gas, I really will kill him.

Uncharacteristically, he pulls into the more expensive station. Without a word, he fills the tank and heads into the convenience store.  He returns with two Snicker ice cream bars and a big can of "Peace Tea."  *snort*  As I bite into the chocolate-peanut deliciousness, I decide to call a truce.

ME:  This is good.  You must have known that chocolate defuses murderous rages.

TM:  I had a feeling.


ME:  I'm getting a serger.  I've wanted one for a long time and I deserve it.  I'm getting a serger.

TM:  What's it do?

ME:  That's no concern of yours.

To his credit...TM was very conscientious about the gas for the rest of the trip.  We had an absolutely lovely time.  And he's never given me a moment's grief about my new serger.

(These beautiful stained glass windows are from St. Boniface Catholic Church in Wimbledon. Before all this happened, TM stopped inside to take pictures...and left behind a small donation. St. Boniface is the patron saint of Germany...but apparently, he will intercede for mailmen, cranky sewists and old weenie dogs, as well.)


Rebecca said...

I'm am laughing my boots off because I could have told this story. Only ours was about 7 years ago in a dumpy town outside of Omaha. Our son was in the AF at the time and I was driving. My Mr. AGPMan told me to watch the gas and then promptly fell asleep. Well...I had the music going and didn't hear the dinger. When my guy woke up we were 30 miles from anywhere and no signal on our cell (it was 7 years ago like I said). We made a quick call to our son, told him where we were and to COME GET US if we weren't there in an hour and a half. We pull into the town and there is NOTHING OPEN except one teensy-tiny station. It was 3:00AM.

I'm not allowed to drive anymore.

It's still his fault!

xoRebecca PS: YOU CRACK ME UP!

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