Hungry House CafĂ© and A Flat Tire
After much work and preparation, Andrea, Dave and Marilyn were ready to make a trip to Stillwater, Oklahoma (OK), soon to be Andrea’s new home town. Mike was already there and already teaching at the University. She had stayed in West Lafayette, Indiana (IN) to finish a few weeks of work to complete 5 years with Cook Medical and to ready the house for sale and the subsequent needs of that process. He had taken a rental truck with their larger-size furniture and pulling their car about a month and half ahead of her moving out. She also moved a couple van loads to our home in Ohio for storage. The house he had rented was small and probably short term until they could sell their house in IN and buy in OK. We were taking an enclosed truckload out as well as pulling their very loaded full van on our traditional tractor-hauling trailer to OK, a trip of over 1000 miles one way. They were blessed with bids on their house the first and second days it was on the market and a fast closing without much hassle.
After our prayer before leaving, we were on our way toward Columbus via St. Rt. 71. Stopping for a lunch and goodbye to Bethany and Karl in Minerva Park, we headed westward on St. Rt. 70 toward St. Louis, Missouri (MO) with Dave as the driver and Andrea the navigator along with her smart phone with its GPS skills. I was in the 2nd seat with the luggage. When we got to Effingham, Illinois (IL), we decided to stop because it was getting late. We got a motel along the road and some much needed sleep.
Thursday morning we were expecting a full day of driving, many, many hours! It was a day of weather changes -heat, dry, pouring rain, fog from air and steam from heat and rain. West, west, west always moving westward toward the Arch at St. Louis. Driving on Rt. 44 west of the Mississippi River, we saw several accidents caused by rain and slippery roads from heated oily surfaces resulting in jack-knifed truck-trailer combinations being twisted and overturned. After a couple heavy storms, Dave suddenly said, “Something is wrong,” and pulled to the berm of the four-lane road. He and Andrea got out and we had lost a chunk of tire and a strip of steel belting. The air was still intact; It was not flat but it could be soon; it certainly was damaged. Thank goodness for the double-axle trailer! But we needed repairs!
Andrea checked her smart phone for local tire shops. It was closing time and they did not have the type of tire needed. It would take time to order it also. She asked again for other tire shops nearby. One man suggested one “out in the country” that serviced semi-trucks. He also had a restaurant next door, The Hungary House Cafe. Dave, by now was slowly driving on the berm to get to an exit we saw at a distance. Andrea looked to the left and there it was: both the tire shop and the restaurant. We needed to get to the exit, go over the overpass to a side road. The sign on the front said “24-hour service” but it looked closed. We tried calling the number we could see. No answer; but we slowly made our way there. Another storm was coming. We stopped at the restaurant and they called the “boss” who sent his helper over to meet us. We waited. He came over -- declared it needy, said they had a tire replacement on hand that would work and called his boss back for “the wife” to come over with the keys to get in. Before she came we backed up to the doors so we could back inside in case the storm was severe- which it was. By now the tire was leaking air and getting lower. When she arrived the helper quickly got things open, and we backed in before the tire totally went flat and he got to work. Soon it was fixed. We were praising God for helping us in this since it seems there was not much else out in this area where we could have been helped so quickly and so completely. I shared with them that I saw them as a “gift from God” to our prayers for his “watch care” over us in our travels. I’m not sure they believed me. The helper just said he learned a lot from the John Deere tractor man about tire balancing!
Another part of this story comes with the billing. She could not take credit cards or personal checks. When we went to the bank earlier in the week to get cash, we, after discussion, decided to add more cash than we originally intended to get for some reason – an inspiration? A hunch? another message from God?? Well we needed the extra $$$ to pay for the new tire and tax and service (regular and after-hour service) in nearly the amount we had added on. Thanks again, Father God, for watching over us. Before leaving, after paying the bill (n cash), I restated to the lady that we considered them to be a part of God’s plan. She replied that they needed to get back to God. Who knows? I plan to send a thank you note and encourage her.
Prayer: Thank you Father for Your assistance, for the help You offer in your loving plan. Help us to show others Your greatness and love and encourage them to find You. Amen.