Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An Adventure in Oklahoma

I want to share this story because it confirms the existence of a loving Father in Heaven that hears and answers prayers and how He uses others to do that at times.  This earth life can be frustrating and hard, even in simple ways, but He is always there to help us in and through our journey.   He doesn’t always remove the hardships, but rather, He helps us through them.    

I am recording this story in detail to emphasize just how intense and stressful it was at the moment and because I want to remember it like it was.   It's a long story though, so beware!   

We flew from Pasco to Denver, then to Oklahoma City.  We taxied to the runway in Denver and had to taxi back to the terminal because of a problem with the cabin pressure.  We exited the plane and waited in a hallway/corridor area (for possibly an hour but we are not sure of how long it really was).  While there Terry started to chill and shake terribly and we had nothing but a couple light jackets to cover him with.  

We finally began boarding the plane again and the rigors continued. As we were out in the windy and chilly weather ready to walk up the ramp to the plane, one kind man in front of us noticed Terry’s condition and let us both board before him.  I asked the flight attendant for a blanket but she said there weren't any.  A kind gentleman behind me asked if Terry would like his jacket, but it has been so ingrained in my head that we not accept things like that from strangers (due to unknown health conditions of those strangers and Terry’s lack of an immune system) that I had to decline (but wish I hadn’t).  

Eventually the rigors faded before we reached Oklahoma, as did his stamina.

We got the rental car we had previously reserved and found that it wasn't a small SUV like I had requested, but a small Nissan Versa. Oh Bother!  I can't see well in those little vehicles (there isn’t enough window space so I see a little patch of road ahead and behind me, and a lot of car, including the rear view mirror right in my way).  Not wanting to be a bother we kept the car instead of making a stink about it. We asked for directions to Norman and the gal showed us a map and explained how to get there, telling us it was really easy, so we headed out to Norman OK.

As I was trying to get comfy in the drivers seat that was slanted too far back, I found that it wouldn't change position. It became more and more difficult to sit in but I just hoped we would be there soon and I’d try to fix that later.   We continued down the highway and came upon all these road change possibilities and found that we were already confused.  We couldn’t even tell which direction we were going or even wanted to go.  We got a few more miles down the highway and thought we must not be where we should be so we turned off the next exit to try and figure out where we were and how to get where we needed to be.  

Immediately there were no other vehicles on the ramp and the road was dark ... I mean dark. I could not see much at all.  And, if it was dark and we were all alone, who would be able to help us get where we needed to be?  It was then that I realized that my headlights were not on. Oh Bother!  I'm spoiled because the last few vehicles we've owned have the lights come on automatically when we turn on the car, but these did not and I didn’t notice it when we were around so many other lights.   I pulled over to the side of the road to figure out where the switch was, but it took me a while so I was glad that there was no one else on that exit ramp with us.

We found a parking lot so we pulled into it so we could look at the map and get my little pillow out of our luggage that was in the trunk (to use it on the back of my seat), but I could not get the trunk open.  The button on the key fob didn't work and we could find no button in the car to open the trunk, so I finally used the key itself to unlock it. (Side note: we had to park under a street light because we could still not find a light inside the car.)

We did see a large sign over the road that told us we were in Stockyard City but we didn’t know where that was on the map and where we go from there so we knew we needed to find some help. We saw a young man walking out of a restaurant and asked him if he could help us.  He gave us more directions and told us it was real easy.  

File:Oklahoma City OK Stockyards City Entrance Sign (Taken 20120926).jpg
image borrowed from here

So we headed on our way again but somehow ended up confused again.  This time we pulled off the highway to a Circle K.  The first view there was the security guard, with his long (not so clean looking) hair pulled back into a ponytail, standing outside, leaning up against the building, playing with his phone.  The building was an older building and had seen some abuse.  There were several attendants and several customers coming and going and we noticed how all of the people were dressed, or not dressed.  Finally I notice that everyone but the guard and one other person (who was Mexican) was black (which meant I was one of two white people around there), and all eyes were on me as I got out of the car (and I am really uncomfortable when all eyes are on me).  The combination of these things and the frustration already in my mind left me quite anxious but I continued into the store with map and pen in hand, in search of someone who could help us.

As I was walking in I was looking through the window, surveying my surroundings, wondering who was least busy and most knowledgeable, that I might choose to help me.   A young man (dressed quite normal looking) passed by and opened the door for me and asked if I needed directions.  I obviously said yes and asked if he knew directions.  He was confident that he did, and then kindly gave me directions, allowing me time to write them down and then told me it was really easy.  That is when I knew I was in trouble.   We had heard that a couple times before and it seemed to me that easy meant something different than I had originally been taught.

This kind man offered to let us follow him because he was going that direction, but I didn’t want to be a bother so I just repeated the directions back to him to make sure I had it right.  He then insisted that we follow him, so I agreed and went to the car while he finished what he needed to do in that store.  We saw him look for us to make sure we were still there, and in a couple minutes he came out and over to my window to let me know that he would get us on the right road and would wave us on when he needed to exit, and that we should just keep going as he directed and we would find Norman.

By the way, this man informed me that we were in Del City.  Finding it on the map made me realize just how lost we were.  But then, there is no Norman on the map, and no Stockyard City either, so how were we to know where we were and where we should be going?  We just know that Del City isn't in the right direction, and we think we can see where we may have taken the wrong exit. (It looks much easier on this map than when we are on the roads out there.)  I should have printed my own directions before leaving home, but didn't think of that at the right time.  Oh Bother!

This kind man got in his really nice small SUV (lucky guy) and drove slowly and carefully, making sure to not let any other car get between us and blinking ahead of time to let me know where he was going next.  It all seemed quite easy for a few turns until we came upon an area with three or four different options (by now, we have learned that that’s how it is in Oklahoma).  He took the first far left option and that is when we became most grateful for his help because we knew we would not have taken that turn and we would have been lost again.

We continued following him for a few miles and he rolled down his window, suggesting that we might pull up beside him, so we did.  He smiled and told us to continue on this road and we'd run right into Norman and that he would exit here, and then he said "See, black people are good people!" as he continued his way over to the right and off the highway.  Of course we agreed and I had to laugh at myself because it was then I realized how distraught I must have looked while walking into that Circle K.  

We continued down the highway and we did find Norman just as he said we would. I wish I had this young man’s name and address so I could send him a thank you note and gift, but instead I just pray that the Lord will take care of that for me. This man was our angel and we love him for that.


Our adventure wasn't over though. We saw our hotel and got checked in and settled in our room, and turned on the heater that filled the room with a terrible burn smell that in a minute had the fire alarm going off.  Oh Bother!  We just wanted to rest and sleep for the night.  We got that cleared up and got in bed ready for sleep at about 12:20pm.  What a day!

Next morning we were off to find Skyler and Lisa’s apartment.  And yes, the map made it look easy, even to me.  So we headed on our way down Lindsay St. to find Houston Ave., but when we got to the OU campus the traffic was being redirected.  We thought that should be easy too, because we could just take the next road over and continue on to Houston.  Right!   Well, it was campus and campus has no rhyme or reason to their streets.  Not only that …, but it was homecoming and people were everywhere and people were standing with parking signs in every directions trying to coax us to park in their area for a $20.00 or $10.00 fee.  We weren’t going to the game, so much to their disappointment we were not interested in parking in their lots.  We stopped to ask a few of those attendants where Houston St. was and no one knew, not even the college looking students.  Oh Bother!  We finally entered another street with “no outlet” so we called Skyler to find out which direction we should go next. 

We made our way back up to Lindsay St on the other side of campus and continued on our way to find him standing beside the street side so we would know where to turn.  We made it! 


It was interesting to note that our trip back to the airport was confusing too, but less of a problem.  We had written directions and street signs telling us where to go, but the two did not seem to tell the same story, so with what little knowledge of the area that we had previously gained we made it safely back to the airport with time to spare.  We were on our flight and headed home.

Oh Bother!  We were right in front of the air conditioning vent that was blowing out freezing air and Terry began to chill and tremble again. No blanket on that plane either.  My feet were still freezing cold a couple hours after that leg of the trip.

We were so happy to be in the comfort of our home when we arrived safe and sound Monday night.  We said hi to Anthony and we headed to bed.

I am reminded of a 1970's song with one phrase that fits well here - "The things we do for love!"
Yes, it was all worth it! 

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