Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lessons from my Mother Part 3

My Rambler and the Flood

One of the benefits of being a teenager who had a mechanic/gas station owner for a father was getting free gas and a car that always ran. The first car I drove after getting my license was a very fast, hot white 1958 Chevy truck (see blog picture). I felt so cool driving around in that truck. I was the envy of every male at my high school. But sadly Dad ended up selling it. To my initial dismay he was able to find a killer deal on a used flesh-toned Rambler. I can't even begin to describe how ugly this car was!!! But eventually I came to love that Rambler. It was one of those "it's so hideous it's cool" kind of cars. Since no one else in the whole world had a car quite like it, everyone knew who was behind the wheel.

That car took great care of me through High School, that is until the winter of "THE FLOOD"! That year in San Luis we had continuous rain for days. Since this rarely happened, the city was ill-prepared for all that excess water. We ended up having enough water running down our streets for us to literally float through the neighborhood. All the kids thought it was a blast.

Before I continue I need to give some background. My mother had a huge phobia. She was not just afraid of water, she was truly petrified of it. When we went camping to Bass Lake every year the deepest Mom would venture into the water, even on the hottest days, would be up to her knees. When we'd go boating, Dad would have to bribe her to set foot onto the boat. Once in a while she'd go for a ride, just because she knew how much it meant to all of us to have her with us. But the whole time her hands would be clinched in fear and as soon as the ride was over, she was always the first one out and on to dry land.

Back to my story; near our high school there was an area of the road that took a big dip before going up the hill to Johnson Ave and on to our home. Even after the majority of flooding had past, there still remained a large lake of water on that part of the road.

It was a Sunday afternoon and we were all driving home from church. I don't know why, but both my parents, Tani and I were riding in the Rambler. When we came to the flooded part of the road I remember my dad making the decision to just keep going. He was sure the water level had receded enough that we would be just fine.

He soon realized he'd miscalculated when water started seeping through the cracks of the doors. That's all it took...Mom took one look at that water coming in and lost it...started screaming that we were all going to drown. This was accompanied by my dad's angry voice telling Mom to calm down and hysterical laughter in the the back seat from Tani and I. Total chaos. The more scared Mom got, the funnier it became and the harder we laughed.

To top it all off, in the middle of the pond the engine on my Rambler sputtered and died. We were stranded!! We had to get out and walk. Oh I wish you could have heard my mom's screams when we opened the door and the water poured in, up to our knees. She was sure we were all goners.

Now picture this: my Rambler with water up to the seats, sitting there flooded, my family dressed in church clothes with Mom's umbrella open to protect her hair from the rain, all of us sopping wet, walking through the pond and rain to dry land. I have often wondered if anyone saw us and what they must have thought. My mom was SO MAD she didn't talk to any of us for the rest of the day. But for us; we're laughing still!!!

We Will Never Forget Mom's:
-Swedish pancakes
-butterfly kisses
-way she could spin her eyes
-cucumber and tomato sandwiches
-Jack and Jill went up the hill
-getting up early to step on snails (usually in her bare feet)
-eating orange peels
-cutting her toenails for .25 cents
-tolerance for all things reptile
-pulling out her grey hairs for a penny each
-place at the lake, sitting in the shade with a novel and sunflower seeds cheering us on
-encouraging eyes, her listening ears
-magic touch of her hands

Submissive to the End

Toward the end of Mom's life when she was still able to speak, Mom shared with me a critical learning. I was crying to her, bitter that she was to be taken from us at such a young age, so not ready to let her go. I asked her if she was angry with the Lord for making her go through this horrible trial. Her answer still rings in my ears. "My life has been FILLED with the sweetest blessings life could afford. It's time I pay my dues. I don't ask the Lord why me. I ask Him and you why not me?. My angel mother; always the example, submissive to the end.


  1. I wish I had half the long suffering humility that grandma had. She was one amazing women, even when - especially when - life was unfair to her. I also love the rambler story...what a hilarious image in my mind!

  2. That is so funny. What ended up happening to the car. Did grandpa get it working again?

    She was so amazing. I love that question. I pray I can feel that way throughout my trials.

  3. My Dad was able to resurrect that car and Tani drove it through her years in high school. That car just wouldn't die!!!! I still smile when I think of that car. It will always be the picture of us walking through the flood with Mom's umbrella. What a sight. What a memory!

  4. These stories are GOLD! What a gift to give your children and grandchildren. And someday you can print these off into a blog book for posterity (like on

    Love you guys.