Sunday, July 20, 2008

We're Caught in a Gun Fight (or Welcome to the USA

You would think that we would have a bit of luck after all the misfortunes that had occurred on leaving England, wouldn't you? Oh but you would be wrong. It seems Dame Misfortune was not quite ready to cross us off her list of people to annoy. We had been at Mama's for several days when she offered us a gift of her lovely little Le Mans Pontiac...Mama had purchased this car with her winnings from a lottery drawing in Quito (Ecuador) several years before. So we were able to take the blasted rental car to the Florence Airport and turn it in. I was wishing desperately that I had the phone number for WitchyPoo at the New York office so that I might reassure her that the car was not going to be left in the dreaded Montgomery Airport lot after all. But why should I make her feel better? And that made me feel better. I was hoping she was having nightmares about what might be happening to that horrid little car, comfort not being "Job 1". I followed Mac in the LeMans and we turned the keys over, someone came out to inspect the car (making sure we hadn't kept the hubcaps or something) and as we were all leaving, a big Lincoln that was backing out of one of the narrow spaces did the unthinkable...it backed directly into the rental car...Mac and I kept walking, it was no longer our problem. But I was nearly bent double laughing and Mac was making a concerted effort to keep his composure. Finally he allowed a snicker to emerge as he glanced back at the car..."messed that bumper up pretty good," he allowed. And then he burst out laughing. So, we got in the Le Mans and drove back to Mama's for another day or two. I had packed everything and the cases were by the door and Mama was busy spoiling Digby with chitt'lins and we had called Mac's folks to let them know when we would be coming in. My sister Toni and brother in law Tim had been down the day before from their home in Columbia, SC. We had been to see as much family as possible, but we would be coming back through on our way to the new Duty Station of Colts Neck, New Jersey where Earle NWS was located. We had thirty days leave and were trying to use it wisely. Mac always preferred to drive at night due to less traffic. We pulled out at about 9 pm and headed down highway 145 to go pick up US1. After avoiding a rear end collision with a farm tractor that was riding merrily down the road without a lick of lights, we safely picked up Interstate 20. I was enjoying watching the lights and listening to the radio when I saw what looked like sparks flying by the window. I asked Mac if it was lightening bugs. He assured me it was to late for lightening bugs, it was after all December...but I kept seeing the sparks. "I think you need to pull over , honey...I'm pretty sure the engine may be on fire." He said he was pretty sure I was imagining things, but pulled over as I requested. Now, in the trunk of the car were our cases, Christmas presents for the boys (we would be spending Christmas at Mac's parents house) my boots...(my lovely hand crafted boots that I had not allowed to be packed for the move home, but had carried in our luggage.) Mac popped the hood and the flames poured out from underneath. We hurriedly grabbed the boys and Digby and I stood with them on the side of this busy highway looking around to see where we were. I kept hearing a popping noise that didn't seem to be coming from the car, Michael was cranky to have been pulled not only out of a sound sleep but the car as well, Mac was getting our belongings out of harms way when we saw a wrecker headed up off ramp towards us. We didn't know how they happened to see us up there, but he pulled in behind us and started yelling for us all to get in the truck and be quick about it. So the five of us managed to squeeze in the cab of the truck and leaving the car, luggage and packages with the car (which had seemed to stop burning and now just smoldered) along side the road, he headed back down the ramp (the wrong way) and pulled into the service station I had spotted from the roadway. While we were heading down to the station he explained that there had been a prison break and that there was a gunfight going on at that very moment. "Oh, that would explain the popping noises I heard, then," I said. "Yep, that would have been it," he said. "You folks are lucky that I was looking up that way and saw the car blaze up!" Oh yes, we agreed we had been lucky. He hustled us all inside the store where we lay down on the floor behind the counter with the Clerk. Digby, who had had a nap and was now ready to play, was being a bit difficult to control. The clerk started feeding her meat skins, (she seemed to like them as much as the chitt'lins) and talked to her. I asked the Wrecker Driver if he could possibly hand me down the phone from the counter so I could call my sister. "She lives here in Columbia and we're going to need her help, I'm afraid," I whispered. We were still hearing gun shots going off and the boys were past the "isn't this exciting" stage and were now in the "pretty frightened" stage. I got Toni on the phone and began to tell her about all that had transpired and she interrupted excitedly, "you don't need to be stopping there, there's a gunfight going on...I looked Mac in the eye and pointed to the phone..."she says there's a gunfight going on, think I should tell her exactly where we are?" Wallace and Michael were now sitting with their backs against the counter and nervously looking around, wondered aloud how long we'd be stuck here. "Hopefully not long, " I tried to reassure them, "and Uncle Tim is going to come get us as soon as this is over. It's going to be alright, we won't let anything happen to you." Our older son Wallace, looked around him and then said in a perfectly beautiful British accent...with a bit of a snort in his voice "welcome to the USA!"

Next Installment: Why is our mattress wrapped around the piano?

47 comments:

Jeni said...

Sounds like you could have titled this post "Gunfight at the OKAY Corral!" Holy Rip! What a trip! I'm not normally that poetic but that just sort of flowed out, ya know! Were you able to salvage anything from the car though -like those boots? Then again, boots or being alive? I think I'd go for the latter. Great post though!

Mary said...

Oh Sandi
glad you were all OK !!!

Jeanne said...

Holy Cow what a how do you do. First laughed at the return of the rental then worrying about your car trouble but to have run into a gunfight. You know how to make an entrance Sandi.

windycorner said...

What are the chances of getting in the middle of a gun fight?! Especially after your car catches on fire....what a journey.
Holley

Lib said...

Oh my, can't wait for the next chapter!
Have agreat wk.
Blessins',Lib

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Sandi, only to you and Mac, that's all I have to say. LOL! You've had more adventures than a nine-lived cat!

Brenda said...

Oh My Word! I'd have turned around and went back to start over! What an amazing story!

Donna said...

OhMyWord!!! Thank Goodness ya'll were Fine!!!hughugs

Sandy Kessler said...

When was the time frame on this how long ago??

Lee said...

Wow! That's some experience! Glad you're okay! Can't wait to hear the rest of it! Exactly how close to the prison were you guys at the time? If I had enough details I'd go looking for an archived news article on this event. Do you have one?

Hugs!!!

Trubes said...

Sandi: Wow what a story! So glad you got out unscathed. Did you manage to save your stuff out of the car and thank goodness for your rescuer!
This is my first visit to your site and I'm loving it....I'll be back!

Sandi McBride said...

It was Decembet 83 I believe, unable to locate any news story earlier than 1992 for the State paper which would have carried it...I believe that everyone was captured...Toni, I know you are reading this, perhaps you can remember if all were captured within a short time...and leave a comment...

Trubes said...

What a terrific site this is! Who needs books when one can read such wonderful stories here...brilliant!

Di.

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

A gun fight? You are kidding right? :) Sandi you brought back a memory I had totally forgotten about. When I was little my parents always left around midnight to go on our vacations to visit Grandma in N.C. (near the S.C. border). It was cooler and no traffic and we kids slept the whole way...I am sure making it a much more pleasant trip for my parents.

Theresa said...

Not sure I want to take a road trip with you :) although afterwards I would have some story to tell. How ironic your rental car got hit while you left it in a nicer state, and not seedy Alabama:) Fires and gunshots, yes welcome back home!

Country Cottage Chic said...

I think you should write a book Sandi!

Jayne

Pam said...

good Lord Sandi! lol! Sounds like you entered the nexus of all things gone wrong there.

Mima said...

Sandi what a story - I can't believe that you managed to end up in the middle of a gun fight, how scary. As you know the UK is not exactly gun tolerant, and the only time I have seen guns just being carried around is in Central America, and I found it terrifying, and those weren't even being let off. Sorry to hear about your Mum's car and I hope that all your precious things were still safely there when you got back.

KJ said...

What an adventure, Sandi! Your storytelling had me glued! Thank God all of you walked away from this! And, I'm sure it gets funnier the further you get from it.

We lived in a refurbished bungalow when my oldest was a little girl. It was located in an older part of Long Beach that was on the mend. Once, I walked out my front door to find a police officer pointing a gun in my direction and a fugitive running through my yard. The last straw was when we were awakened by a gun shot that was about 30 feet from our bedroom window!

Thanks for your comment on my new car. I have had a 5 year relationship with the credit company, so there weren't many "fine print" suprises other than the fact that they couldn't make up their mind. I am so relieved to have normalcy back again.

Hugs, KJ

Veggie Mom said...

Sandi--what an incredible story. The darnedest things happen to you, don't they? And I do enjoy reading your blog so much because of the interesting tales you have to tell! BTW, I'm hosting another Great Pop'rs Giveaway, starting tomorrow. Aunt Julie is planning a rehearsal dinner in honor of Big Bear and Little Red's upcoming wedding, and she needs your help! Please join the fun tomorrow on my blog, by helping Aunt Julie out!!

Lehners in France said...

Oh God, I can't imagine anything like that! I think I'd have wished I had just kept driving. Debs x

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi Sandi...There's an award over at my blog for you...I think you deserve it after that story! Hadriana x p.s. glad you all got out unscathed!

Alison Boon said...

What a start to your time in the USA. I guess it can only get better from herein. Wishing you a very safe trip.

tlc illustration said...

That is more excitement than I'd wish on anyone.

Gill - That British Woman said...

No you should have titled this post "It could only happen to us"

Just be thankful, you're all alive.

Gill from Canada

Hairline Fracture said...

I just caught up on all three installments and I can hardly believe you got caught in the middle of a gunfight! Talk about "unsafe!"

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Read part one, part two, and now must read part three....

So far, very interesting.....what a journey!

Jamie Dawn said...

What excitement!!
What danger!!
Our kids have an Uncle Tim too, also, as well.
Lightning Bugs in Dec.??? Too bad it WASN'T lightning bugs, or fireflies as "Yankees" call them.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

"Sharing the Love" with you today...check Monday's post! :D

Gill - That British Woman said...

Sandi, I am just working this week, I only work every now and then..........

I will be sort of down in your neck of the woods in September as we are coming down to the Charleston area for two weeks on vacation...............fingers crossed the heat has died down a bit!!!

Gill from Canada

Heather said...

Holy smokes that must've been scary!!

kimmy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Glad you enjoyed it!

BTW - great post today!

Kimmy

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

I remember one time when we left Grandma and Grandpa's house in Selma and our car caught fire along the interstate, too. (Those 70's cars weren't all that fireproof, were they? lol) Mom and Dad got everything out of the car, including the dog...but I couldn't get my seatbelt undone. Dad was yelling at me, as he emptied the trunk and mom was grabbing the dog, Buddy (Dad's little weinie dog) and there I sat, trying to get my stupid seatbelt off. It was traumatic for me - I still remember the blanket dad was carrying when he was yelling at me to get out. It was pink with roses all over it, made of a really scratchy material. I hated that damn blanket. lol

Love ya,
Sissy

joan said...

Okay Sandi, you have me hooked. This is great stuff. How wild and somehing no one in your family will ever forget. Great storytelling.

Abbie said...

oh I can't wait for the next installment. Did you tell your sister where you were??

NeereAnDear said...

Well arnt I a ditz... I read the last post thinking you were on your way there NOW!

Well I must admit Sandi ... I think you need to write a book because you certainly have a way with words and some truly fascinating and downright scary adventures... glued to the seat indeed..... I was breathless reading this one...

HUGS

JO

Russell said...

Thanks for visiting my blog! I appreciated your comments and enjoy looking through your blog! Lots of fun and interesting things!!

Take care.

Lynn@ The Vintage Nest said...

Ok...tapping foot and waiting patiently for next installment. Sandie thanks for the frying tip!

Jules~ said...

All I can say is Good Golly Lolly. All of these things really happened to you?

Brenda said...

Yes Sandi I love the words Rian wrote. I have all of them in my prayers.

Sandy said...

Hi, Sandi! I will have something for you over at my spot tomorrow morning (after 9:00 a.m.). Please come and see!

Skeeter said...

What an interesting experience Sandi! Wow, you have excitement everywhere.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying "Hi!" Would love for you come back any time.

Best wishes,
Skeeter

Cheffie-Mom said...

OMG! Are you serious?! How often does this happen?! Well, I'm glad everyone is ok!

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

Ok, this is one of those, you had to be there to believe it stories! Hurry up and post the next installment! I can't wait to read what happens next....
Hugs,
Penny

Sally said...

Playing catch-up here. My, what a story, girl!! Now, I'm going to read more!! :)

Cowgirl said...

Hey Sandi! I have tagged you to tell us 6 random things about yourself!

CrazyCath said...

Oh heavens Sandi! Welcome to the USA indeed! I can't wait for the next installment! Hurry up and write! I need to know you are all safe and the person canning those tomatoes and the salsa is not an imposter blogging instead of you.

Holy moly you know how to write. And you know how to live by all accounts! lol