2013 has not been a good year for me and the experience had left me quite morose and misanthropic. This Christmas snuck up on me like a viper. I ended up buying all my gifts on December 23rd. I still haven’t sent out Christmas cards and my apartment was a complete mess when I finally cleaned up enough not to create a biohazard in my absence on the 24th. I left the house around 3 p.m. and this was after a phone call from my mother around noon asking where I was.

It is a tradition at my Grandma’s house to eat ham sandwiches. The ham is homemade cooked ham and not deli meat. It is usually served with white bread and pimento and cheese. I am not a fan of pimento and cheese but it is always there. We also open presents on the 24th. This is a leftover tradition from the days when Santa still loved us: we would open our gifts from the family on Christmas eve in order to make room under the tree for Santa to do this jolly good thing.

Now with all this tradition, my leaving at three meant that I was not meant to arrive at my Grandma’s house until 6 or so. I called the cell and told my Dad I was leaving. He was grumpy but he told me not to speed because the police were out.

About an hour into my trip, I heard this thud and them this “whomp whomp whomp” with my car slowing down at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, I had heard this sound before and knew what it meant: a blow out.I wasn’t near an exit with a service station and I wasn’t quite near an actual town. By this point, my parents were over 100 miles away from my car.

I managed to pull over on the shoulder and it is sunset so there is still light but it is fading fast. I call my parents to let them know that I will be even later due to the car that misogyny bought. My Dad gets on the phone and reminds me why we have the terse relationship that we do and I hung up the phone in tears. I knew my Dad was calling the State Police for them to do something. I contemplated not even going to my grandmother’s house.

I have an autoclub membership but it is pretty slow and I was dreading how slow it was going to be on Christmas Eve when I heard a tap on my passenger side window. There was a 30something woman on the other side,”Are you alright? Do you have someone helping you?” I tell her my story and by this point, a man had stepped up beside her. He asked if I had a spare and yes, yes I did. Unfortunately, the car that misogyny bought did not have the jack. Oh the I told you so’s on this one. Fortunately the man had a jack in his car and he managed to unload what must have been Santa’s stash to get to it. There was a bunch of stuff on the ground. That is all I am going to say. And before I could say, “well now that I have a jack….” He was carrying that tire to the front of the car and unscrewing those leg nuts. [Do you unscrew lug nuts?]

I talked with the lady. She was a middle school teacher. She taught sixth grade and they were going to be having a quiet dinner with a Christmas celebration later.

And then it was done. My car was fixed by these strangers who just saw a car on the side of the road near Christmas time. They didn’t know me. They did, however, know the State Trooper who finally pulled over about the time the tire was completely changed. It turned out he and I shared the exact same birth date. I thanked them profusely and was on my way.

After having time to inspect the tire itself, I am surprised that I didn’t lose control of the car. I am also surprised that no one hit me. There were a lot of people making a mad last minute dash for Christmas. I am also surprised that I wasn’t on the side of the road for 10 minutes before someone pulled over. I know from past experience that the autoclub would have least taken an hour even on a good day. For the first time in an awfully long time, I smiled and believed in people. It was a Christmas miracle indeed.