As I watched the battery light and warning message on the dashboard panel go off, I knew the trouble was only just beginning. "Check charge system". What does that even mean? What's that burning smell? Where's it coming from? Is that temperature gauge supposed to be at the hot level? These are not questions you want to be asking yourself as you are on a small two-lane highway in the middle of who-knows-where West Virginia. But here my mom and I were asking ourselves these questions and hoping that it was just a small malfunction. So as I attempted to not press the gas too often on the hilly roads and my mom called roadside assistance for some emergency guidance (which wasn't really very helpful), we slowly rolled up into a gas station parking lot in Summersville.
Good. A decently busy town so hopefully there's an auto repair shop somewhere nearby. "The manual says don't turn off the engine because it might not turn back on," my mom says before she goes into the gas station store to asks for directions to the nearest repair shop.
I call my dad since he's supposed to be more knowledgeable about these things, "You need to check the coolant and engine," he instructs me. Okay. Here goes. Lots of coolant. Good. "Ahh! I think I broke it!". Yep, the engine puttered out a few seconds after I opened the hood and it was probably hot enough to cook a full course meal. Great.
"Nothing's open on Sunday," my mom says as she returns to the car. Lovely. So we call roadside assistance again. "We're getting a tow to the closest repair shop that's 50 miles from here in Beckley and doesn’t open until tomorrow," she relays to me. Fantastic.
"Call our hotel in South Carolina to tell them we won't make it until tomorrow evening," my mom says. Okay. "You're going to have to cancel and rebook your stay because I can't change your reservation," the front desk clerk replies over the phone after I explain our situation. "I can't. The cancellation deadline already passed. Can't you just hold the room for one night because WE ARE COMING TOMORROW?" Was I not clear enough? "Ohh. I've never had this problem before," he answers. "Please just hold the room. WE ARE COMING TOMORROW." What are the chances he doesn't?
40 minutes later. "Can you start the engine to get the car onto the tow truck?" the tow truck driver asks. "Probably not". But I gave it a go anyways and it sputtered and jerked a few times before engaging long enough for us to get it onto the tow truck. Yay!
Riding in the back of the tow truck we call the hotel company hotline to get reassurance that our room won't be cancelled. "Just notify the front desk and they shouldn't have a problem helping you because I can't do anything remotely," the lady working the phone said. Okay. I did that already so it should be fine.
Still in the tow truck. "If you drop us off at the repair shop in Beckley, are there taxis we can call to get to the hotel we just booked online?" my mom asks our tow truck driver. "Ma'am, there are no taxis here," he says plainly. Seriously! "Okay, can you just drop up off at the hotel then so we aren't stranded?" my mom asks after we agreed on this plan. "Yes ma'am. As long as you pay for the tolls," he says. "How much?" my mom asks again. "40 cents," he replies. A small price to pay for our predicament.
1 hour later at the hotel in Beckley. "Make sure to add water to your coolant before you attempt to drive it to the repair shop tomorrow because there's a leak," he says as we thank him for his towing services. Huh? What leak? So I open the hood to find that we have almost no coolant left and it has exploded all over the engine. "That wasn't like that before when we got to the gas station in Summersville." That's good.
Another hour later eating dinner at a restaurant beside the hotel. "Hello? Okay. We don't need you to change our reservation. We don't care about the money from not staying tonight. Just hold our room until we arrive tomorrow evening." It's the front desk clerk from the hotel in South Carolina again insisting on cancelling and changing our reservation. "Okay ma'am. I will let the night clerk know that you will be coming tomorrow," he says before he hangs up. Okay. Settled. Hopefully.
Next morning at the Beckley hotel. "Yes! It started! Drive slowly and smoothly. It's only a few miles to the repair shop."
3 minutes later in the middle of the road. "Everything is locking! All the lights on the dashboard are on! How much farther?!" my mom panics as you can feel the engine grinding and slowing while the steering wheel begins to lock. "Less than a mile!!" Is this really happening right now?!?!
1 minute later. "We made it!". Barely. We parked over three spots at the repair shop since we couldn't get the steering wheel to turn to park properly.
1 hour later still at repair shop. "Diagnosis is that your drive belt is broken which runs the alternator and then the battery. And the coolant container is broken," the repair man says. Really? Our car is not even 3 years old! "The parts won't come in until tomorrow so what do you want to do?" he says. LOL! This is movie material right now. "Well I have to be at a pro-am tomorrow so we are going to have to rent a car to get down there. And you (my mom) can come back to get the car tomorrow while I'm playing." My mom agrees as the repair man goes to call the car rental place for us.
30 minutes later at the car rental place. "It's a base rate and then you have to pay per mile over the allotted standard mileage," the car rental lady says. What?!?! "We can't pay per mile for a 5+ hour drive to South Carolina and back. Let me figure this out." Yes! I got it! "I have an LPGA contract rate that we can use!" Lifesaver.
Approximately 6 hours later at the golf course in South Carolina (finally!). "I want to do 18 holes." Not really but I need to see the course since I've never played it before. "Well, it's already 6:30pm so I don't know if we will be able to," my mom points out. "Let's try."
On the first hole. "Last time I checked the ball was supposed to roll on the greens not jump 1 foot above the green when I putt." Not getting good vibes.
Midway through 9 holes as the sun is beginning to set. "Nevermind. I can't do 18. It's not going to happen." Exhaustion isn't even a good word to describe how I felt at that point.
1 hour later at our hotel we couldn’t make it to the day before. "Your reservation was cancelled. So you're going to have to book it online again," the same front desk clerk I talked to the day before informed me. YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! "But I told you to hold on to it," I said as calmly as I could as he just repeated himself again.
15 minutes later after unsuccessfully trying to book a hotel room at a much more expensive rate. "We're leaving. The rate we have to pay now is much more expensive than what we booked for," my mom tells the front desk clerk. "Wait, I didn't realize you were having trouble. Let me call my manager," he says panicked at our decision to leave. Seriously?! You didn't think we were having trouble after our week long reservation was cancelled when you said you were going to hold it?!
Good thing there was another hotel close by with rooms at a much more affordable last minute rate with a much more attentive and helpful staff.
After my mom drove back to get our car the next day, the rest of the week was much more calm. I played okay and was poised to make the cut after the first round. Unfortunately, things just didn't go my way. One too many 3 footers missed and one too many errant out of bounds shots. But to be truthful, I was kind of glad to be going home early. I didn't want to be on this weeklong struggle anymore. And if you can believe it, I actually had even more problems than what I've told you about, but it's unnecessary to go any further. Enough has been said.
So what's the takeaway? Honestly, I realized that when I looked back on that week, I was pretty confident that we were always going to be okay. I didn't know how "okay" at the time, but I knew we would be "okay" enough. And I knew at the back of my mind that it could've been so much worse. Our car could've exploded. We could've been hurt. We could've been stranded. We could've had no helpful people along the way. But none of those things happened. And that's how I know God always comes through. Yes, I know some would say that nothing really went our way that week, so that statement doesn't really make sense. But that's what faith is. Believing that there's more to your story than you can see right now; God can see the whole arc of the plot; and the ultimate goal is perfect for you. For me, golf may continue to be a big piece of my plotline or maybe not. I don't really know. And it's important to have situations like the one I had (maybe not this extreme) to remember that there's so much more than just the bubble you live in.
Just one more side note that I need to address so we can be the awesome human race we were meant to be:
When it seems like we are only moving backwards instead of forwards, it is time to take the fire of broken hope and trust that burns within and turn it into a blazing wildfire of passionate action for love and compassion.
Thanks for reading! :)