Blazing south down the highway, we had nothing on our minds but heading to the ballgame. Our stomachs were full of good food and we were ready for an evening of football. The talking heads on the local, sports talk, radio station were re-stating the opinions we’d heard all week, yet we were fine with hearing them again. There may be some twist we’d missed before. My dad, my thirteen-year-old son and I were together. It was shaping up to be a nice evening.
Then, suddenly, the pavement seemed to crumble beneath us. The vehicle began to shake and slow. My son said, “Whoa. What is that?” From experience, I said, “I’ve got a flat.” My dad said, “Yep.”
I managed to get the vehicle over to the side of the road. We all three got out, examined the shredded tire and without much talk, began to get to work. With cars and trucks whizzing by, I got out the cheap jack that comes with the vehicle and attempted to figure out how to make it work. My dad, true to form and based upon how we’d always worked together, took the lead. He never hesitated to get on the ground and do the dirty work. However, our work was soon halted when we realized that we didn’t have everything we needed. We tried to improvise with all three of us giving our best advice and suggestions, but when it was all said and done, a call to AAA was needed. We were going to be late to the game.
The call was made and the wait began. We found ourselves standing in the grass, several feet away from the vehicle, as we had agreed that was much safer than being inside the vehicle. I told a story about another time when I’d been stranded by a flat and how dangerous it was that I had to hitchhike into town. My dad and I discussed old times of working on the farm together and old friends. We were telling war stories.
It hit me, as we stood out there, that there was no place I’d rather be at the moment. Why? My son was living a moment for his own war story to tell someday. He was with his dad and his grandfather when they had the dreadful inconvenience of a flat tire on the way to the ballgame. It was even a bit dangerous and daunting to fix the tire out on the busy highway. The cars seem so much faster and more powerful when you’re sitting still. We were in the trenches…together.
I’m glad I realized, that day, that missing a half of a ballgame that I’d paid for and having to wait longer than I’d liked, stood nowhere close to the benefit of our circumstances. You see, someday, my son will have the pleasure of looking back and beginning his version of his war story with, “I remember when….”
Recognize those “Remember when…” moments with your children. Embrace them. Enjoy them. Live them. Be glad you were there.