Me: Nice car!
Prodigal: Yes, it helps.
Me: I have a story about a car.
Bob was in his driveway, working on a friend’s 1971 Dodge Dart. The car was facing up a slight incline. Bob was lying under it in the gas-tank area, feet pointing toward the front. His friend had gone to the store to buy a replacement part.
“I had forgotten that removing the drive shaft gives you, in essence, four freewheeling wheels,” Bob explains. “Though the car was set in “park,” it started to roll backward.”
Bob attempted to scurry out from under. He almost made it, but the front wheel caught his left foot, pinning it be bending it forward toward the shin. His heart dropping. Bob saw that the slant n the driveway was enough to make the car roll, but not enough for the wheel to complete its revolution over his foot. He was stuck.
Pain exploded in waves. His foot felt as if it were being crushed into bits. Alerted by his shouts, Sandy and a neighbor woman came running.
“We’ll lift the wheel, Bob, and then you can get out!” Sandy cried.
But their efforts only made matters worse. Because of the incline, every time the women tried to shift the tire, they only pushed it farther up, resting even more weight on Bob’s whole leg. If the wheel could have turned completely over the foot, Bob could have gotten free, but it wouldn’t move far enough.
Soon there were at least seven other neighbors surrounding him. Some tried the same type of lifting, to no avail. “Everyone should have pushed the wheel from behind,” Bob says in retrospect, “but none of us was thinking clearly,” It seemed as if he would be trapped forever. Through a haze of pain and fear, Bob cried out, “God help me!”
Immediately, Bob saw a large man running toward him. The man reached the front of the car and quickly lifted the bumper high enough to raise the entire chassis off Bob’s foot. Bob groaned in relief and rolled free.
Everyone crowed around.
“Are you okay?” someone asked. “Should we take you for an X ray?” “No,” Experimentally, Bob wiggled his toes and flexed his ankle. The foot had no apparent injury. “It feels fine,” he told his relieved neighbors, getting up slowly.
Then Bob looked around for the large man who had so effortlessly lifted the car. “I was beginning to realize just how strong he would have had to be,” he says. “Allowing for the ‘springiness’ of the car springs, lifting a car ten to twelve inches would still leave a tire on the ground. You’d have to lift it a lot higher than that to get a wheel completely off a foot. And there was no one else lifting on that side when he came.”
There was no large man for Bob to thank, either. And no one remembered seeing him dash to Bob’s aid. “The tall guy, the one who came running across the lawn….?” Bob asked everyone, but was rewarded with stares and head-shaking.
“There was no one here but us,” the neighbors insisted, ” and we could certainly have noticed a stranger.” Nor did Sandy remember seeing anyone she didn’t know.
There was no service vehicles around, no deliveryman or any outsiders on Bob’s street that afternoon. No one had seen a car stop. More significantly, no one had seen or heard a car leave. There just wasn’t any explanation as to why the car had suddenly moved off Bob’s foot. Any logical explanation, that is.
by Joan Wester Anderson
Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.
PSALM 66 : 20
Jennifer Van Allen