“Oh, you ran into my car? No worries.”
There was no actual collision, but honestly, can you think of nicer words to say to someone who you thought ran into your car?
Yesterday was my birthday and it was a very good day.
I started the day with a walk up Porter Fork– a magical, windy little canyon with gingerbread cottages around every corner. Came home to tulips, coaching, errands and picking up a big cake before playing with Fritzie. When my friend Celia texted me about an afternoon walk in the canyon, I couldn’t resist.
I traded my jeans for sweats, threw on my snow boots, and drove up the canyon for a repeat of Porter Fork (yes, it’s that magical). As we started to walk up the canyon, I bemoaned to Celia, “I meant to bring a sled. Then we could walk all the way up and sail down.”
And then, like a sign from the heavens, we spotted a turquoise blue, abandoned sled by the river. Feeling confident we could return it within the hour and giggling like 9-year-olds, we grabbed the sled and nearly skipped up the canyon.
Is it possible to walk or ski up Porter Fork without dreaming a little? Not in my experience. We dreamt of buying one of the cottages by the river, writing novels; planned weddings for our kids and future vacations.
At the top of the hill, we tossed the little sled to the ground. squashed onto it as best we could and whooped with joy as we began sailing down the canyon.
It’s a narrow little one lane road– where the sides are sloped and trees from both sides meet in the middle, forming graceful arches even in the winter. We leaned into the turns, used our feet and hands to propel us on the flats, and fell off more than once.
“How old are we?” yelled Celia as we flew down a particularly steep hill.
Young, very, very, young. 51 yesterday.
At the bottom, we replaced the sled, called out our goodbyes, and with 14 minutes to get home I got into my car.
I put my trusty Volvo into reverse and it
about two feet sideways towards a big green Suburban.
I got out of the car, begged help from the first person I saw (Celia was long gone and there’s no cell service in the canyon). An old man and his wife tried to help, but only succeeded in sliding the car even closer to the looming green Suburban.
Using a red Sharpie, I wrote Erik’s number on a gum wrapper and another kind stranger promised to call him as soon as he had cell service. I didn’t even dare sit in the car to wait, in fear of my weight sliding it the last 6 inches to impact. So, I stood in the parking lot and accepted condolences and advice from everyone walking through the tiny lot.
People offered me beers and snacks, shared their own ‘stuck in the ice’ stories, and agreed (unanimously) there was nothing I could do but wait for the driver of the green Suburban. I told everyone it was my birthday, and we all decided– worst case scenario, I could just sit on the side of the road and eat my birthday cake.
Forty minutes later, Erik and Xander arrived (Xander came just to mock me) and two minutes after that, three people came down the road. “Do you own a big green Suburban?” Erik called.
They did. “You’re not going to be happy with me. That’s my little red car right next to yours.” I said.
And then, those kind words from my new friend Stephanie with the purple hair and big black dog, “Oh, you ran into my car? No worries.”
“I think I love you.” I responded.
They brilliantly maneuvered their massive Suburban out of the lot, waved and made us promise to visit them at Brighton where they teach ski school. Xander got behind the wheel of the Volvo and it slid sideways again, got stuck and finally got out of the lot with Erik laying across the back half.
We drove home with the sunset to a house full of children and flowers and really good cake.
People are good. Life is good. There’s only one movie about Groundhog’s Day (you know it by name) and I love the theme: we increase our happiness by showing kindness to other people. Thanks to everyone who showed me so much kindness yesterday. I’m passing it on.