Late Sunday afternoon (the Sunday before Easter) we loaded up and left Camille's house in Birmingham. Jane, AKA the Garmin GPS, told us that our arrival time in the Big Easy would be 10:46 pm. Sweet. So, we drive and talk, I flip through magazines, we discuss cake recipes....and then we heard it.....something like a small explosion, a cat, and a rush of air all at the same time. We look at each other and I say, "It's okay. It's just the air brakes." You see, my grandfather used to drive a semi-truck, which kind of makes me a not-so-much-expert on the matter. Since we were traveling right beside a big semi, the air brakes were the only logical explanation for The Noise.
Well, we drive on and just as we are about to cross into the wasteland that is Mississippi (sorry Aunt Kelli), we hear The Other Noise. This one we easily recognized and it was definitely not anyones air brakes. Camille pulls over and I get out of the car to state the obvious; "Your tire is definitely blown." Camille promptly calls her dad, while I confidently assure her, "It's okay. I can change a tire." (does anyone else see a pattern?)
We transfer all of our earthly belongings from the trunk to the backseat, get the spare out and all the tool do-dads that go along with changing a tire, and I was about to give it a go. (I would like to add the disclaimer that I DO know how to change a tire...I was just confused about which side of the jack faced up. I would also like to add that they need to print THIS SIDE UP on the jack. Anyway...) Right about then David came. David was the sweetest truck driver and when he saw two girls on the side of the road, one on the cell phone and the other helplessly holding the jack and the crank thingy, it was quite obvious that we needed some help.
When we saw the semi pull over and a man jump out, Camille said something along the lines of, "This is either going to be really good or really bad." Thank you Jesus, he was the good kind of truck driver. He very quickly changed the tire and then told us that he didn't think the spare could make it much past Meridian, MS, about 14 miles away. After telling Camille not to drive like she was in the Indy 500, we were on our way and so was David.
(Side note: this little incident and the kindness that David, a total stranger, showed us reminds me that there are still good and kind people in the world...and that kindness should be passed on. Like David said, "You never know when you're going to need help." It's like the Golden Rule. Except in truck driver lingo.)
Camille and I crept into Meridian and after much ado, we settled into the Comfort Inn. Because of our deep distress and sorrow, we thought it appropriate to drown our troubles in a nice dinner at Outback--yum! Since no tire store was open so late, we ate and watched a mini-marathon of "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" in the hotel room. (That show, by the way, will blow your mind). The next morning, after a little leg work and approximately $1,000,000, Camille had some new tires and we were FINALLY on the way.
New Orleans was fabulous. Meredith and Zack affectionately call it "The Big Nasty," but I think it is one of the most interesting places that I have ever seen. It's such an abrupt contrast of the dirty and beautiful, the Old World and post-Katrina construction....and did I mention the food? YUM. I ate my little heart out and loved every minute of it. It was so special to visit Meredith in her post-married life and let me say, she is the most knowledgeable tour guide you could ask for. Having worked for a non-profit rebuilding the city after Katrina, she knows so many fascinating facts and stories....I could ride in the car and listen to her talk all day. I really can't tell you how nice this little trip was. It was a throw back to my college days, hanging out with the girls and talking about everything. So fun. Thank you Zack and Meredith for being such gracious hosts! I might have to just make my way down there again sometime soon.
At the end of the week, my family dodged some tornadoes to come down to our house for Easter. (I missed you Amanda!) It was such a fun weekend with the family and I hosted Easter dinner both mine and Scott's side of the family--Yikes!
Camille has some great pictures of our roadside debacle. Check out scbphotography.blogspot.com
A beautiful church
A New Orleans cemetery...creepy!
Brad Pitt's hurricane proof homes in the 9th Ward, part of the Make It Right campaign.
The French Quarter