Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Did you ever start your day with that good warm feeling of self-satisfaction, knowing that everything will go perfectly as planned? That was my mood on that fateful, visiting day. Having gotten a bright and early start on a Sunday morning, I was confident, that we would reach my son’s camp grounds with ample time for a leisurely camp lunch (A break – no cooking or cleanup) and plenty of time to enjoy a rowing excursion with my son as well.

Cruising along the scenic drive up to the Catskills, we decided to stop at a farmer’s market to buy some fresh vine-ripened fruit. But when we returned to the car, my husband put the key in the ignition and exclaimed, “Uh oh we’ve got troubles. The car won’t start.” Just at that moment, a frum couple pulled up in front of us. (A mile away you can always tell a religious couple by the man’s black and white uniform.) “Can you give us a boost?” “Sure.” Still in my self-confident mood that this would only be a momentary set back, while the car was being serviced, I used the time to snap photos of the magnificent sunflower garden that grew inside a patch at the farmer’s market.

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Then we were off. But not for long. About 500 feet the later, the car stalled again. Luckily, in front of a rest stop concession. It now was beginning to dawn on me that we would not make it in time for our complimentary camp lunch. My husband and I emerged from the concession with our priorities in tow. My husband with a local handy man who just happened to be patronizing the store and myself with a loaf of whole wheat bread and two cans of tuna fish. Peering under the hood the handyman drawled. “We-al it’s probably either the alternator or a bad battery, or both. How much will you pay me to fix it?” “As much as a gas station charges, I guess.”

Apparently, this fellow sized us up as a poor business deal and responded with “I gotta get back to work at my job. Good luck to ya” and he was gone.

The only option left now was to call AAA. One and a half hours later, and after numerous phone calls of reassurance and apologies, we received what we thought was very encouraging news from the AAA operator. “We’ve got a mechanic to fix your car and his shop is open today. We were elated. We phoned my son of the new positive development and raised the option that perhaps he could get a ride to us. (Baruch Hashem he didn’t because as we found out later that that would have been a disaster.)

At 3:30 in the afternoon, the long awaited tow truck pulled up, but, to our disappointment we were informed “I don’t know what ‘they’ told you (the proverbial ‘they’) but the shop is closed on Sundays.” Seeing our fallen, crestfallen faces, he offered “I tell you what – I’ll tow you guys to the shop and after I’m finished with my shift I’ll come back at 5:00 and fix it for ya.”

Having no other choice we trusted him. Dutifully, we climbed up into the front of the tow truck (I never realized how high the view was from those vehicles!) and tried to make the best of the situation by chatting with small talk. His cell phone rang and he said very audibly “Oy vey! I got another call. I’ll never get home tonight!” “He speaks Yiddish,” I thought is it possible this is an opportunity for kiruv? But his next interjection put a damper on that idea when the phone rang again. “Not another call. Oh J. C.!”

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