There are so many things to love about the South. It’s easy to keep this blog positive, because it’s all about you Southerners, but for today, I have a bone to pick with y’all.
Let me begin with a story of my Christmas vacation. I got to spend two whole long weeks with my beloved family at my parents’ home in Kentucky. For the first week, it was just my parents and me and the hubs, but the second week, sister and I ditched the husbands (they had to go back to work) and just spent the last week as “the original family.”
Sis had to spend Christmas in Memphis with her in-laws, so we agreed to meet her in Nashville to pick her up, send the boys on their way (and of course, do a little shopping at Opry Mills).
But on our way, we had a flat tire.
Now those are bad enough already, especially in the winter, but it was a sunny day at least, and we did have the boys with us still, so Daddy and husband got out to change the tire.
Unfortunately, one of my parents’ friends had had a flat just the week before so they had lent him their tire iron, and somehow, that crucial part of the tire-changing process got bent. Don’t ask me who is strong enough to bend a tire iron (or what car company is cheap enough to put a tire iron made of aluminum in the trunk kit – ahem, Jaguar), but there we are, fully equipped with a jack and a spare, but no tire iron.
Well, no problem. We’re on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s the day after Christmas. Surely the most hospitable people on earth (Southerners) are in the Christmas spirit still, right?
Wrong. Since Dad and husband are busy jacking up the car, I volunteered to see if I could flag down a friendly fellow traveler to simply pull over and lend us their iron, we’ll get the lug nuts off, throw the new tire on, and be on our way.
Wrong. Even in broad daylight, with a nicely dressed (albeit freezing) family, in the heart of the South, with a GIRL waving for help, we stood there almost an hour before anyone was kind enough to pull over.
Of course we called the Highway Patrol and the AAA, but they were too busy responding to other calls. (Though they should have come right by, because all the rubberneckers caused two wrecks in the meantime.) All we needed was a little tire iron after all. Something most of us keep in our cars (or should) at all times. It didn’t warrant a tow truck. Finally, a kind couple pulled over, didn’t have the size we needed, but was kind enough to drive to the next exit, purchase us one from the auto store, and bring it back. That’s the true Southern spirit.
But still… Shame, shame on us Southerners. I hope none of you readers were one of those passersbys, but even if you weren’t, let this be a lesson to you. Show a little kindness. You never know when you’ll need some in return. My husband said had it been 50 years ago, we would have had to shoo half the people away. That’s a sad testament to how far we’ve come. Remember who we are.
Now, as most of our readers tend to be ladies, I don’t suggest you stop if you’re on your own. And even you gentlemen, use your common sense, but what a better lesson would it have been, driving down the (major) interstate with your family, to pull over and help another family in need.
So the next time you see someone pulled over, at least slow down, take a glance to see if they look alright, and if you don’t, for heaven’s sake, at least change over to the other lane, rather than go speeding past the cold little family standing on the side of the road.
I forgive you, I-65 travelers. Just don’t let it happen again.