The Beginning of the End
Thomas A. Droleskey
The shopworn phrase that a photograph is worth a thousand words is worth remembering following the conclusion of our long, purgatorial journey from Dickinson, Texas, to the Washington, D.C. area. Thus, this particular posting will feature few words. Most of the short narrative will be found in the captions of the photographs posted below.
Suffice it to say for the moment, though, that we are grateful to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother--and to al of the angels and saints--for guiding us through the crosses of the past week, each of which had been fashioned to fit us perfectly from all eternity by God Himself. We are praying--and we ask you to pray as well--that the seeds we attempted plant in the souls of the non-Catholics we met along the way will bear fruit and find them converting to the fullness of the Catholic Faith.
We arrived in a campground in the Washington, D.C., area around 11:00 p.m. last night, Wednesday, September 28, 2005, after a ten and one-half hour drive from Louisville, Kentucky. The only difficult part of that long trip was having to offer up the delays caused by being unable to negotiate the steep mountains on Interstate 79 in West Virginia and on Interstate 68 in western Maryland with anything approaching a modicum of velocity. Cars just whizzed past us. All I could do was to remember the days when I whizzed past slow moving trucks and motor homes and chortled over how slow those vehicles were moving. I am now one of the people whom others chortle over!
The drive was very long. It is simply not physically possible for me as I approach my mid-fifties to do with impunity what I once did in my twenties and thirties: drive long distances without much in the way of exhaustion. Indeed, Lucy Mary Norma was praying with her mother for "sweet dreams" before she went to sleep as I continued to drive last night. When Sharon prayed for "sweet dreams" for Dada, Lucy, who turned three and one-half years old on Tuesday, September 27, said, "Oh, no, Mama." When Sharon asked why, Lucy responded, "Because Dada is driving, Mama!"
Our initial stay at the campground, which is some twenty-five miles away from Saint Athanasius Church in Vienna, Virginia, was but a few hours. We had to leave around 5:45 a.m. today, Thursday, to make it in time for 6:25 a.m. Mass. Our final adventure was to come after Mass: getting the Trail Blazer dropped off successfully at Cherner Collision on Leesburg Pike in Vienna, Virginia.
Once again, you see, the flatbed trailer we were sold 208 hours ago south of Splendora, Texas, caused a few problems.
As I tried to explain (perhaps I am losing my command of the English language as well as my short-term memory) to the folks on the site, getting the Trail Blazer off of the flatbed was going to be no easy task. The wood on the trailer was so rotted that the car was bound to crash to the ground if a way was not found to lift it off without putting more weight on the wood. Several men congregated to discuss what could be done, including the driver of a tow truck who realized almost immediately upon his arrival that a flatbed tow truck would have to provide assistance. After all, the steel mesh ramps that were designed to get the car on and off the flatbed trailer were being used to keep the front wheels of the Trail Blazer from falling to the ground. A flatbed tow truck would thus be the only means possible to pull the car off of the trailer and thus to get it into the body shop for an evaluation of the da mange done when the vehicle broke away from the motor home in Splendora around 9:15 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, 2005.
I had the happy task of moving about twenty cases of books (G.I.R.M. Warfare and Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations) from the front of the Trail Blazer and into the motor home, albeit temporarily, prior to renting a car courtesy of our insurance company (well, at least courtesy of the insurance company to the tune of eighty percent of the cost of the rental), before shifting the boxes once again into the trunk of the rental car. I had put the boxes into the front of the Trail Blazer to add more weight in the front so as to curtail the trailer's fishtailing on the highway. That was a long, long process.
The driver of the first tow truck went to get some wooden planks to place down in the expected path of the Trail Blazer's removal from the flatbed trailer. We had to wait and wait and wait once again for the first driver to come back with wood and wait some more for the second tow truck driver, who was dropping off a badly damaged $100,000 Porsche at a facility next door, to arrive.
The photographs below tell the tale: the wooden planks were put down behind the path of the wheels of the Trail Blazer. The driver of the flatbed tow truck, which was lowered to receive the car, attached a cable to pull the car off of the body of the flatbed trailer. The car was pulled off of the flatbed trailer onto the flatbed truck, whose bed was lifted up to its normal horizontal position for the transporting of the car to the body shop. Nothing about this experience was meant to be easy.
We were left with the interesting dilemma of how to exit the parking lot of the body shop while having the flatbed trailer still hooked to the motor home. Sharon and Lucy followed in a rental car as I plotted out a strategy of going through two gates to circle around an adjacent parking lot in order to point the assembly in the right direction. There was only one way in and out of the body shop. After a few tight maneuvers, I was able to clear several parked cars within an inch or two and attempt to lead my family to get a bite to eat.
Unfortunately, though, the manager at the Silver Diner in suburban Virginia took umbrage when I asked her to turn down the horrific music they had playing on their loud speaker system. I went through my usual mini-lecture (rock music comes from Hell and is played there for all eternity), prompting the manager to say, "I would appreciate it if you did not speak like that." Undeterred, I continued on, making the poor woman very nervous. "Sir, people come here to listen to this music." I told her that many people like to commit acts that are objectively sinful. The mere fact that people "like" something does not make it right. We walked out, driving in tandem the twenty-five miles back to the campground. Another losing battle in the culture war. It is nevertheless important to keep fighting these battles.
Well, the denouement of our story is not yet known. There is considerable damage to the undercarriage of the Trail Blazer. An early report confirms that the car's transmission is destroyed. "The car does not move," was the terse response of a man at the body shop with whom I spoke late this afternoon. We may not know the full extent of the damage until sometime tomorrow, Friday, September 30, 2005, the Feast of Saint Jerome, and my dear wife's birthday.
As mentioned before, we are grateful to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother for getting us here. I look forward to my presentation at Saint Athanasius Church on Saturday, October 1, 2005, at 9:30 a.m. A few new articles may be written in the next few days before we leave the area. Our exact date of departure, though, depends upon the final verdict rendered on the Trail Blazer.
All to you Blessed Mother. All to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we love you. Save souls.
Thank you for your prayers!
Our Lady, Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Saint Michael, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Wrecker number one arrives at Cherner Collision, Thursday, September 29, 2005, 9:00 a.m.
The driver of wrecker number one assesses the situation. He does not like what he sees.
Wrecker number two arrives at Cherner Collision, 10:00 a.m., September 29, 2005.
Positioning the flatbed tow truck to meet the flatbed trailer.
Getting ready to make a basket catch.
Trying to avert a disssssssssssaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssstaaaaa, to quote the late Father Vincent Miceli.
Being liberated from one flatbed to be placed on another.
A delicate operation. This was not as "easy" as some seemed to have thought. That is, this was not a matter of simply "taking the car off" and putting down some new wood on the flatbed.
Going over the wooden plank, put down by tow truck driver number one, and the fiberglass "plate" put down by the the folks in Texas who sold us the flatbed. The "plate" turned out to be a "Men Working" construction sign, believe it or not.
A better view of the reverse side of the "Men Working" sign. Who stole that sign? That's what I want to know.
That's how the flatbed looked before the "Men Working" sign was put over the hole. This is how it looked this morning after the car and the sign were removed. Kind of classy, huh?
Come on, folks. Any takers out there? Oh, I forgot. We were the ones who got taken. Sorry about that, Chief.
Going to be repaired or heading for the graveyard. Stay tuned.
A possible future form of transportation for us. He would fit nicely on the flatbed, wouldn't he?