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Sunday's saga

On cars and services
On driving to First Baptist Church, Dorchester on Sunday, I noticed my car's temperature gauge was pegged beyond the printed H for HOT.

How could this be, I wondered, given that it was so awfully cold out? I turned the heater fan on full blast, only to be greeted by a blast of icy cold air. An overheating, not-venting engine. I pulled through the upcoming intersection with steam rising from the hood, found a likely soft shoulder, and pulled as far out of the lane as I safely could. Thankfully, I was no longer on the highway: I was less than ten minutes from church, on a surface road in Milton.

I called the AAA, and told the dispatcher I needed a tow, but that I was due to be preaching in half an hour.

She explained that I had to be at the car to meet the tow truck: no, the driver couldn't meet me at the church. But she would call the Milton police department to let them know the AAA was going to tow the car, and it wasn't just abandoned there. This gave me some peace of mind.

I called the main church phone, they sent a parishioner to pick me up, and we started the worship service almost on time. Just as I was standing up to preach, my phone rang (!oops!). Naturally I silenced it. It vibrated with three more messages before the end of the service. I figured the calls were either the AAA or the Milton police, checking on the tow details.

On mothers and dogs
After the service I checked my messages. The calls were all from the nice couple FIVE BLOCKS away from my home who had seen my mother in her short nightgown walking down the street in twenty-degree weather carrying my little dog. My mother was trying to find my little dog's home, to give her away to whomever she might belong to.

Luckily my dog has a tag on her collar with my phone number. The folks who found her did a google search for my phone number and Norton, and came up with my name and address (on a pastoral supply list: thank you Diane!) They'd wanted to walk my mom home, but said she was agitated and clearly didn't want them to do so, and she headed back up the street in the right direction. They called the local police in the hopes they'd check on her.

I learned all of this after church when I listened to their messages, and returned their call. At the time I was stranded in Dorchester, with no idea how I was to get home. I left voice mail messages for a number of area friends asking them please to check on mom, but I wasn't able to get through to anyone live except Isaac, who was in a noisy room that made phone conversation almost impossible. I did manage to communicate PLEASE GO HOME NOW! before we signed off.

A parishioner drove me back to my car, and waited with me (in his blessedly heated vehicle -- it would have been a cold wait otherwise!) for the hour or so it took to be towed. Miraculously I actually *had* $100 cash on me to pay for the extra mileage of the tow back to my own mechanic's garage in Norton. The tow truck driver even gave me a lift home after dropping the car off, so this time there was no long hike required.

My mother was home. Isaac was home. He'd cleaned up a bloody scrape on her leg where apparently she'd fallen, but otherwise she was fine. He'd not seen any police.

I walked the five blocks to the neighbours who had so kindly kept my dog for me. They had a cute little white fluffy dog themselves. Apparently Cassis must have behaved herself, because they said if I ever needed a dog sitter, they'd be willing!

endings
I carried my dog home, printed off the thankfully-already-written manuscript sermon for the evening's lessons and carols service, scratched out a handwritten basis for the evening prayers, and called around to see if anyone was willing and able to drive me back to Dorchester for the service. Thankfully, Millie was willing.

I then ate the first meal I'd had in 24 hours. Because I was so far beyond hungry, and I was trying to jam food into myself in a 10-minute time slot, my body had a double response -- "thisisHEAVENLYohmyheavensFOODthisisGREAT" followed immediately by "whattheheckwasTHATohmynononoMAKEITGOAWAYackackBLEH." Nevertheless, I tried successfully not to mess Millie's car on the way to Dorchester, and we had a lovely lessons & carols service.

Obviously, I won't be leaving mom alone on Sunday mornings from here on out.

So, my car's with my mechanic, my mom is home, my dog is home, and both services went well. Ultimately, far from a disaster of a day. But my heavens, what a saga!

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