THE INDIANA CAR

Editor’s note: Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Two days of hot driving and heavy Interstate traffic from Gainesville, Florida to Goshen, Indiana wore JK and me down.

After I had turned on water and the under sinks valves, I had adjusted the thermostat in my Indiana condo. We had dropped into bed.

The following morning I had stepped into water on the kitchen floor –the under sink valve had leaked! Added to the long drive, I was not my sunny self. Neither was my hubby. But another “oh-oh!” surprise was yet to come.

All morning, JK and I had complained to one another. By afternoon, I had unpacked Mother’s china. I carried an armload of crumpled paper to the garage. Over the top of my Indiana Ford which was sitting where I left it 6 months before, I saw Hubby setting up the new charcoal grill on our driveway. It stood not far from rear bumper of the Escape.

I shook my head to myself. What is he thinking? I hollered, “The grill is too close to the Escape!”

Ignoring me, JK continued shaking charcoal from a large bag into the grill. Did he hear me?

I raised my voice repeating, “The grill’s too close to the Ford!”

JK returned, “I’m not going to stand and grill in the hot sun! You’ll just have to move the Ford forward … there’s space.”

“Alright then!” I stomped toward the car. “But, you have to reconnect the battery. My hands are too weak.”

Why haven’t I started the Ford yet? I muttered to myself, “Why does everything need to be done at once!”

Raising the hood, I propped it. JK ambled over to the battery side of the engine.

Pointing to the disconnected battery cord, I announced, “It’s there.”

JK leaned in to look as I explained, “Doug helped me disconnect it. He jiggled it and just lifted it off.”

With slow careful movements, JK lifted the cord.

I pointed again, “It slides on that.”

He pushed on the connection and stepped back. “There!”

Opening the car driver’s door, I slid under the wheel. Leaning forward, I reached for the key. It wasn’t there. I must have left it in Florida!

(Somehow I knew the key was not in Indiana.) But, I usually have a backup key.

JK studies the battery connection.

JK studies the battery connection.

At one time, I had taped a key to the back of my license plate.

I trotted to the rear of the car and felt behind its plate. No key. Picking up my cell, I called my cousin in a nearby town. “Hey, Julie! How are you?”

After we exchanged hellos and small talk I asked, “Did I give you and Sam an extra key to my Indiana car?”

As if trying to remember, Julie paused. “I don’t think so. Let me ask Sam.”

I heard her turn from the phone. “Sam? Did Fritzie give us an extra key to her Escape?”

Distantly I heard, “No. We have her condo key.”

Julie repeated what Sam had said. She asked, “You can’t find your key?”

“Nope! Maybe I took it to Florida. But, I usually make myself an extra key and hide it somewhere.”

In my mind I saw Julie nod. “That’s a good idea.”

I put an extra key somewhere. I just can’t think where!”

“Do you have one of those ‘Hide-a-Key magnetic things?”

“Maybe. I have looked under the car and around the engine compartment. I don’t see anything.”

Julie paused again. “The key will show up when you least expect it.”

Meanwhile, JK had hatched a plan. “You can send our Florida house key to Barb across the street in Gainesville. Ask her to go in the house.” JK went on. “Call her when she’s in our house and ask her to look here and there for the key. Once she finds it, ask her to send it to us and return the house key.”

I sighed. Had I been desperate, I might have done that. I was not. I did not want to inconvenience our sweet neighbor. I am not even sure where to have her look! Had I known the key was there, I would have brought it with me!

Tired, and upset, I was feeling foul. My ungracious reply was: “It’s my car and my problem! I’ll handle it.”

While I found no key, I did find out what to do about a lost auto key.

First, I called Dave, owner of my local garage. He said, “I could do it, but I’d have to change all the locks –doors, too. It’d be too costly.” He paused. “Call the Ford garage.” He gave me the number.

When I called Eby Ford, a pleasant-voiced man said, “We don’t handle keys for cars more than ten years old.”

My hopes fizzled until he added, “I’ll give you the number of a locksmith who can make you a key.”

I called G and E Locksmiths and a pleasant fellow came out the next day. Though the service required many steps, he had it all covered. When he left, I had two keys for the Ford Escape.

The lost-key episode blessed me with a solution that required only money and inconvenienced just me. In working through the problem I touched many lives.

Everyone I asked contributed something to its resolution—even JK, whose idea I didn’t like.

God always has a plan.

I am blessed.

Frances Fritzie

Frances Fritzie

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