I’ve shared before the many things my husband took care of around the house. One item in particular was my car. If the oil needed to be changed, if the engine made a funny noise, he would drop me off at work and whisk it away to be restored to its former dependable self. Except for the occasional times I took a bucket of water and a sponge and washed it in the driveway on a hot summer day, he also kept it clean.
He stored quarters in medicine bottles that were just the right size for them and would stop at the car wash on Saturdays so the car was clean for church. I will say that I have mastered the quarter car wash and have still failed to exhaust his supply of hoarded coins.
Winter has presented a new problem: last week my car was covered with salt and dirtier than its ever been. Since I was in good clothes and on my way home from work I decided to try the automated car wash. There were two long lines but my daughter assured me by text that I could manage. “Just use your debit card,” she advised. I spent my half hour wait enjoying the antics of a Lab waiting for its car’s turn at the car wash. It was so excited that it was a delight to watch.
Finally, it was my turn!! I pulled up, rolled down my window, and put my debit card in the horizontal slot and chose my wash type. Nothing happened. My card seemed to be hanging out of the slot a bit, so I gave it another nudge and still nothing. My card was stuck. The machine kept asking for me to insert my payment. Finally, I got out of the car in the hope that there might be a man behind me with a pair of needle nosed pliers. I wasn’t going to drive off and leave my bank card in the slot.
However, there was a very kind woman in the car behind me. She directed me to a brown door where she said there should be a manager. I walk with a cane, so I hobbled across three quarter car wash lanes and pounded three times on the brown door. There was no answer. Meanwhile, the eight cars in line behind me waited patiently – no one honked a horn, or yelled anything rude – that’s just the kind of town Ellwood City is.
By the time I returned to my car, the woman behind me was already out of hers – with a pair of scissors. She wiggled my card out, one corner at a time until it was free!! I hugged her. She said, “For this first time let me put the card in for you – it goes over here. You put it in the money slot before. (Good Grief! How stupid could I be!)” She slid it in. I selected the wash and she handed me my card. After I thanked her profusely, she said,”Don’t forget to roll your window up!” Then bless her heart she walked back and told each of the drivers of the next 3-4 cars what had happened.
I felt like an idiot but was sure Dennie smiling up in heaven. As I parked at the grocery store I was happy that at least my car was clean in spite of all the drama. But when I got out at the store, I discovered the grimy truth. Because I drive a Honda Fit, a very short and narrow car, the only parts that were clean were the top and the hood! When I got home, I got a bucket of soapy water and washed it the old fashioned way. Now I know why Dennie saved all those quarters!!