Some years ago, we lived in a rather strange old cottage surrounded by paddocks of cows. The house was situated back to front on the block and so our front door was really our back door. There was a big double garage so full of junk, there was no room for our cars. They had to live outside on the parking area which was rather strange too. It was situated at right angles to the driveway and was on a higher level than our house. A few steps led down from this area onto the path below. Sometimes we used the steps and sometimes, feeling adventurous, we’d just jump over the edge, before walking along to the front-back door.

We lived in that cottage for six years. I knew the driveway and my parking spot intimately. I had parking down to a fine art. I could park Andy’s station wagon, the teenagers’ hatchback, even our big old van easily. I could do it in the daylight, in the dark, forward or in reverse, and even with my eyes closed.

This is how I did it:

I’d drive slowly down the driveway and, just at the right moment, I’d turn the steering wheel sharply to the right and pull up neatly on the gravelled parking area. I had to stop the car in exactly the right spot. I knew not to drive too far forward or position the car too far to the left. If I did that, the car would leap right off the parking area and it would fall to the garden path below.

One day I came along the driveway, as usual and I started turning the steering wheel to the right, as usual. But on this particular day, something went wrong. Had I turned the wheel a bit later than normal? I didn’t stop to think. I didn’t reverse just in case. I thought, “I’ve never gone over the edge before. I am an expert at parking. What can go wrong?”

Half a second later, I knew what could go wrong. The left front wheel of the car slid over the edge and the car followed. With my heart in my mouth, I gingerly climbed out of the gently rocking car to survey the damage. Half the car was hanging precariously downward over the path; the other half was still up on the parking lot. Oops! If only I could have gone back a few seconds. If only I had played it safe and reversed a bit before trying again. How was I to tell Andy? It was his car. What would he say?

There was only one way to find out. 

“What’s the matter?” Andy asked as soon as I came through the door.

How did he know something was wrong? I guess the tears and my shaking hands gave me away.

“The car! I drove it over the edge of the parking area! It’s stuck and I don’t know how we’ll get it up again.”

“Are you OK?” asked Andy, and when I nodded my head, he hurried outside. He had to see the car for himself. Surely I was making this up.

But there the car was, looking rather sorry for itself: half of it was up, and half of it was down.

“Callum! Duncan! I need some help!” Andy yelled. I didn’t want to hear any more. I retreated to the bedroom.

Some time later, Andy returned. He had a huge grin on his face. He’d done the impossible. He’d retrieved his vehicle. All four wheels were now back up on the parking area.

“That was the funniest sight I’ve seen for ages,” laughed Andy. “That was some piece of driving!”  I’m afraid your flower pots got crushed but the car’s OK.”

I couldn’t believe Andy had fixed things so quickly. After some thought, he’d devised an ingenious plan for getting the car back to where it belonged. I really have no idea how he did it. Andy was feeling so clever. (He deserved to. I could never have rescued the car.) He couldn’t stop smiling.

Of course, I was all apologetic. “I’ll never do that again,” I promised. I was still crying, but now with relief.

“It doesn’t matter,” soothed Andy, putting his arm around me. “It’s only a car… Anyway, it’ll make a good story one day.” It has made a good story. We always giggle uncontrollably when we retell it.

The other night at dinner, we once again remembered the story of ‘the day Mum drove the car over the edge of the parking area’. Perhaps I should add a few words to that: “the day Mum drove the car over the edge of the parking area and Dad calmly and cleverly retrieved it.’

Haven’t I got a wonderful husband? 

That’s one of the reasons why my Valentine is the love of my life.

Post a Comment

  1. Great story, very descriptive and well told.

    Why is it that when something goes wrong, no matter how often we look at it over and again, it still remains wrong. It never gets put right by itself. Like when I break something. I may look at it several times in disbelief yet it remains broken.

    God bless.

    1. Hi Victor,

      It was such a difficult story to write. When we tell the story within the family, we all know exactly what the house and the parking area looked like. We can imagine it and the story makes sense. I had a lot of trouble trying to describe it for everyone else. In the end I resorted to a cartoon picture. A photo would have been useful but I couldn't find one anywhere.

      Yes, I've had many moments when I've looked at disasters and not wanted to believe they've actually happened. It's an awful feeling that I'm sure we are all familiar with. Those moments make good stories though!

      God bless!

  2. Love it! Great story! (I would have been crying too!)

    1. Thank you, Colleen!

      It's funny how life is made up of stories. Some don't seem so great at the time but later... Later we can often laugh at our mistakes.

      I see you have a Valentine post too. I'm off to read it!

      God bless!


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