One block later, we were headed back to exchange my flat tired vehicle for hers, moving the baby buggy, the baby in the car seat, the diaper bag, the water bottle, the snuggy, etc etc etc. We were just a few minutes late. I dropped her off and settled in at nearby Rice Stadium to read a good book instead of parking the car 14 floors up at the medical tower. Christine could call me when she was ready to go.
A few minutes later I decided to relocate to Starbucks, but the click of the key told me I wasn't going anywhere. It could have been so much worse. I had visions of the baby screaming while Christine called for help to get jump started, and I knew already that St. Gertrude was at work. It was me by myself and not a new baby in the Houston heat dealing with this dead battery. And, I was not 14 floors up in Smith Tower. How awkward would that have been?
I didn't even have the chance to call AAA when a Rice policeman on a bike came by. "How old is your battery, ma'm?" I didn't know. How do you explain to a policeman that it's not your car? That you don't know where the cables are, or the hood release or why the horn alarm keeps going off? But he accepted all this as the truth and called a mobile unit that would give me a start.
Last Saturday in meditation class my teacher told of a wonderful experience she had when a girl in the smoothie store set out to make her happy with a perfect smoothie. It made her day. Well, the Rice police made mine.
While he was letting the battery charge up a little, the policeman told me to clean the connections with a coca cola. "Diet or regular?" I asked. "Regular. And warm, not cold. One can per cable connection."
This led to a discussion of the acidity of Coke. I recalled marinating a tough cut of meat in Coke to tenderize it. He then shared that in his family they marinate their chicken in milk. "Lowfat or regular?" I asked. "Whole milk. Breaks down the proteins and makes the chicken tender. "
Then he told me that at a fish fry, I should put potatoes in the oil and leave them there all day. It would keep the peanut oil from becoming too hot.
"And, by the way, this lot is normally closed off. I don't know how who moved the barriers." I was sorry, I said, and I would move as soon as the car started. I didn't think I needed to explain how it was probably St. Gertrude who moved the barriers. It might have been too much on top of explaining how the car wasn't really mine.
He continued. "If you have grass growing somewhere that you don't want it, put salt on it. "
That's when I knew St. Gertrude was definitely in action. Christine has been searching for a way to stop the grass growing between the flagstones on her patio without using harsh chemicals or throwing pebbles into the windows while weed eating. This was it! Salt on the flagstones. The answer we had been needing. St. Gertrude, my patron saint of fortuitous timing, had come through again.
"Rock salt or regular?" I asked.
"Regular. Only costs 19 cents a box."
"Okay, start her up, ma'am."
The car started right up.
Thank you, St Gertrude, for everything wonderful that happened today. And if you are wondering about St. Gertrude and how she came to be my patron saint of Fortuitous Timing, see how this all started on the July 18 2009 blog, "Saved by St. Gertrude" and more on July 19.
It's sort of like that old TV show where the guy time traveled and woke up somewhere not knowing why he was there. By the end of the show, he would have averted some horrible historical event. One time, he stopped Buddy Holley from writing the lyrics Piggy Sue instead of Peggy Sue.....but that was a little out of the norm. Anyway, it's like that with St. Gertrude. You think things are going badly, but then, eventually, you realize there's a reason for it. Meant to be.