Saturday, April 19, 2008

Our American Journey - Day 13

God had some fun with me today. Our hosts in Dallas, Steve & Elaine Maddox, were away for the day, so they provided us with gift cards to a couple of local restaurants for our meals. We were on our way to an IHOP (International House Of Pancakes) for brunch when it happened. I was sitting in the left turn lane, waiting for a break in the oncoming traffic before turning into the shopping mall parking lot. Finally there were only two vehicles left, a pickup truck that was preparing to turn into the mall too, and a car further back that had cut across all three lanes and still had its left turn signal on. Assuming that it was going to turn into the other left turn lane for oncoming traffic in front of me, I pulled out.

Suddenly Kathy yelled, “Mike, he’s not turning!!!” I stepped on the accelerator and shot into the parking lot right behind the pickup truck just as the car whipped past our rear end. “Wow,” I said, “that wasn’t a real bright move on my part, was it?” I should have known better than to assume he was going to turn just because his signal was on!

Driving through the parking area to the IHOP restaurant, I became aware of a motorcycle policeman coming up behind me. But no lights were flashing and no siren was blaring, so I continued on. Then the flashing lights came on. My heart sank. Great! I thought. That’s what you get for messing with Texas! Pulling over and stopping, I undid my seatbelt. “Don’t get out of the car,” Kathy cautioned. “I wasn’t planning to,” I replied. “I’m just getting my wallet.” Reaching into my back pocket, my heart sank even further. “Oh no!” I groaned. “I changed pants this morning and forgot to re-pocket my wallet. It’s still on the night table at the Maddox’s!” “Oh, boy…” whispered Kathy.

The policeman appeared at my window. I powered it down. “Hello, sir,” he began politely. “Do you know what you just did at that intersection back there?” “Oh yeah,” I replied ruefully. “I shouldn’t have turned when I did.” “That’s right,” he went on. “You could have had an accident. We have a lot of accidents at that intersection. Can I see your license, please?” “Ummm, I’m afraid that I left it back at the house,” I said with as much remorse in my voice as I could muster. “Would you give me a chance to go back and get it?”

“Weeeeelllll,” said the policeman with a long Texan drawl, “I see that y’all are from Canada, so I won’t make you go all the way back to Ontario to get it." He smiled. "How long did it take you to get here?” “About a week and a half,” I said, “since we were visiting friends on the way down.” “I was up in Canada once,” he continued. “I took my motorcycle training up in Michigan and spent a couple of days in Sault Ste. Marie. The Canadians there treated me real nice, so I’m gonna return the favour. No sense making you pay a ticket from all the way up there.” We spent a few more minutes talking about Ontario mosquitoes, Texas heat, and how hoth were good preparation for our work in Africa. Then the policeman wished us a good day and left. Whew! God bless Texas!

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