I just woke up. I went to use the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and told myself I have to tell you that story.
This is our Thanksgiving road trip story. A story of the car we drove, the accident we were saved from a big truck, and the cold we endured during a 14 hours’ drive trip.
I am sitting at the basement of the Joly’s home. On the sparkle wood floor, I picked up my phone and laid it on a small round table which contains a piece of bread in a transparent plastic bag, lying side by side to a half full bottle of purified water, and a container of meds filled of drugs with specific ones for each day of the week.
All around me was beauty as I was recollecting my long last day.
The house was silent. Everyone was still sleeping. I was searching for a piece of paper to write, and decided to write my story on my phone, and post it on my blog. Just for you.
It’s almost 10:00 am this Thursday Thanksgiving in Fayetteville, GA, where I have been since early this morning after a long…. long drive from my home in Tamarac, with a stop in Tallahassee, where I have to pick up Axel, my other son.
I left Tamarac Wednesday at 4:30 pm. I drove my 1999 Jeep, instead of the black S-500 Mercedes, or renting a car. I was with Mariejo, my wife, and Jonathan, my son. Jonathan left his job early, parked his car in our home, to drive with us. Cassy, my daughter, did not want to come.
I filled up the Jeep at the Marathon gas station on Commercial Boulevard and 70th Ave. I liked the price: $2:35 for a gallon of ‘unleaded 87.’
Everything went well even if Marijo did not like my idea to drive the Jeep for this trip.
“Every time I am in this car, I feel anxious, my heart races,” she said with an air of disappointment.
She wanted me to rent a car as we usually do for such a long trip. But, I did not want arguing about how much money it will cost us for this weekend.
I know the Jeep can make the trip pretty well.
The traffic was very hectic on Turnpike going North. “Heavy traffic, expect delays,” we read this message on some electronic signs every 2-3 miles. We moved bumper to bumper, very slowly, a pas de tortue. It took us almost 2 hours from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach. This is a half hour commute on normal time.
The Jeep is the car I drive every day. I like it. It has 273786 miles on the speedometer. It runs well,but has some issues I learn to deal with.
It sometimes overheats when the radiator fan does not work well. I have witnessed how Frantz, my mechanic, fixed it a couple of times by adjusting the power box. That’s the main issue. The tires are good, I’ve bought recently some second hand ones and have them balanced. The engine is strong, and the transmission has a slow delay when I make a left turn. Besides that, this Jeep takes me anywhere in Florida. The trunk is filled with all my tools. I have what I need in there. And I like it.
But, the Jeep has some issues. Issues that do not bother me. It has no radio (no radio, no problem. I can use my cell phone and the Sony Bluetooth headset Jonathan gave me.) The gas fuel gauge is always on empty, The Jeep has no cigarette lighter that I could use as a car charger for my phone. (No car charger, no problem. I can manage my phone energy between my audio listening, GPS, and phone checking….)
The Jeep AC has one control: full cold blast. (No Ac control, no problem. It’s South Florida, it’s supper hot most of the time, full blast AC makes it cool very quick.) But, the full time, full blast AC fan produces a weird noise inside the Jeep that I don’t like at all. I tolerate and learn to drive with having most of the time my headset on listening to my self-development audios.
This is the Jeep I will take my wife and two sons for this thanksgiving roadtrip.
I turned the AC off shortly after Port Saint-Lucie. It was just a little hot, but I could stand it. I solved two issues: the AC fan weird noise, and the full blast cold air it was pushing for the last 3 hours straight to my right hand holding the wheel.
Marijo and Jonathan said nothing, and I kept going North.
The temperature was 68 F. It was 78 in Tamarac when we left. We made our first stop at Fort Pierce rest area. There was no place to park.
“There are a lot of people here,” Marijo said. Iis this the way it is normally or is it for Thanksgiving?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, looking for an empty space to park the Jeep.
Mariejo and Jonathan got off and rushed to the restrooms. I finally found a spot far away from the entrance.
I walked in. People were getting in and out of the facility as a beehive. Some were sitting eating, others stood in line to order; kids were running around. People looked happy. Their mood showed so. Couples were walking hand in hand. The fun was contagious. And I slowed my walk to grab Marijo’s hand while waiting for Jonathan to show up.
We continued our way up North. The farther we drove North, the lower the temperature became, and the less fuel we had in our tank.
The gas light was on all the time, I finally filled up again on I10 at a Busy Bee Station. Jonathan went inside to purchase coffee. He gave me one cup and he took turns driving all the way on I 10 until we reached Tallahassee to pick up Axel.
When Axel came, he did not keep things for himself. He started talking right away. He doesn’t like the Jeep. He knows everything about the Jeep. He failed his first driving test on the Jeep. He passed his 2nd driving test on the Jeep. He ran out of gas – a ‘pan’n gaz’- with the Jeep. He had his time with the Jeep overheating while getting back to school. He knows everything wrong about the Jeep and always question the validity of this car.
“Hey, you come with this car. Do you really think this car can make the trip?” he asked.
Jonathan started laughing. Mariejo started talking about the car as well, saying she knew about my choice at the last moment.
Axel managed to get on the car in the back seat. His legs are too long to have a comfortable good sit behind Jonathan.
I set up my GPS from Tallahassee To Fayetteville, GA. Siri told us it will take 4:18hours and we will go through US 27.
I was in the front passenger seat. John was driving. Axel was in the back with Mariejo.
We were followed the GPS. It was totally dark outside. Tallahassee is a dead city after 11:00 pm.
We were approaching a small bridge on old Bainbridge Road at the intersection of US 27. My eyes were on my cell phone following the GPS trajectory of the road and paying attention its recommendation.
Siri told us to make a slight left at the intersection where our road merged with US 27. I told Jonathan to turn left. He was hesitant and started a complete left turn going in reverse way of us 27.
I heard him say “no, it’s a wrong way.” He made a swift change. It was a less than 2-3 second decision. All I saw, in that split second, was a heavy truck passing close to us as a flash light. I heard a huge noise, I felt its wind shaken our Jeep. I said “waoh…” le gros camion… (the big truck -When he was a kid back home in Haiti, every time Jonathan saw a truck, he said pointing his finger to it ”le gros camion.”)
Jon was very calm. He did not panic. I simply asked him “Have you seen the truck?”
He said no and kept driving. Mariejo and Axel did not say anything in the back.
I got a deep moment reflecting. It was an introspective moment thinking about what would happen if this truck had hit us. I would not be there to tell you that story.
I thought about Cassy, my daughter, the books I have been writing, and other projects I am working on.
I shifted my mind on the spot. I chased the thoughts about the truck. I silently prayed and thanked God to give us this opportunity to continue our life. All the glory to Him. I decided to imagine being a life coach, picturing myself speaking, writing books.
In my mind, I wanted to keep that story for myself and did not even discussed it with the ones in the car. But, this morning I woke up and felt the urgency and need to share it with you.
Leave a Reply