01 September 2010

Oakwood Cemetery Trip, Part 4: A Scare and An Angel

We were on the way back to the other side of the cemetery to visit the grave of my g-g-g-grandfather Aaron Walker (1788-1862), when we stopped to visit the graves of a couple veterans in the middle and back of the cemetery far from the road.  When we returned to my son's car it wouldn't start.  It sounded to me like it wasn't getting any fuel, but my son insisted on trying to jump it, so Jane pulled her car up, and we tried a jump which proved fruitless.  We decided to leave the car and walk the rest of the way to visit Aaron.  It was hot, I was sweating, and Jane gave us bottled water.

The mystery of "A.W."
We put down the rocks we brought from home up against Aaron's marker, and my son gave him a flag.  The marker next to him says simply "A.W."  I am yet to locate the grave of his wife, my g-g-g-grandmother Submit (Clark) Walker who outlived him.  Since Aaron and Submit were already elderly when they came to Illinois from Belchertown, Massachusetts, it is not likely their child.  Was this a placemarker for her and she never made it there?  Another question for the sexton.

After an hour my son walked back to the car and it still wouldn't start.  It is late on a Sunday evening in a cemetery in a small town that doesn't even have a motel or a car repair shop.  We call our insurance company for roadside service, and they must be using the same location service as our TomTom GPS because they can't locate the cemetery either.  Jane, a local, gets on the phone to give them our location and they still can't find us.  Panic is starting to set in.

We get out the GPS and hit the "Where Am I?" button and give the insurance company what the GPS says.  Still no soap.  We give them the coordinates for the longitude and latitude, and aha!  Now they found us.  The tow truck is now on the way.

But what to do when it arrives?  The GPS is wonderful.  It told us where were the nearest car repair shops as well as hotels/motels.  But they were many miles away in other small towns, and it was late Sunday evening.  We were calling them on our cell phones, and striking out.

Jane was an angel.  After all she had already given us, she wasn't done.  She sat there and waited with us for hours as we tried to resolve our situation, stuck in a remote cemetery as the sun is going down.  She began planning on how she would take us to a hotel, then come for us the next day and take us to our car after it is fixed.  She apologized for not being able to bring us to her home, but it is small and they have rented out the spare room.  Note, I am summarizing here for brevity, the true extent of her generosity was breathtaking. All the time we are sitting there, she is thinking of ways she can help us.

Just as the sun was going down the tow truck arrived.  The driver looked the car over and discovered my big foot had loosened a wire on the passenger side that controlled the electronic fuel injection.  I was right, the engine wasn't getting any fuel.  The driver tightened the wire and reset the controls, and like magic the car was fixed.

We each gave Jane a hug, and repeatedly thanked her for her consideration and generosity for a couple of brand spanking new acquaintances.  She said, "That is the way we do it in small towns."

And so ended our adventure.  Lots of surprises, a scare, and an angel.  We are already thinking when we can do it again!

Copyright © 2010 by Kevin W. Walker

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