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Shotgun greeted me with wiggles and jumps. I tethered him outside the carport to relieve himself of the dayís fluid intake, made a bathroom stop myself, then brought him inside for his dinner, however late.

I knew I must let Mike know I got home okay. The answering machine light was blinking—seven messages waiting. Rather than listen to them, I called the hospital. Because it was so late, I asked someone at the nursesí station to make sure he knew I had called and was home.

"Let me see if heís awake," the nurse who answered said. Within seconds, she returned. "Heís awakeówaiting for your call. Iíll put you through."

Mike answered, and I related my sad story of car trouble mixed with an hour long tow truck event, topped off with my scary ride home over unfamiliar back roads in an unmarked taxi with an unknown driver.

"Honey Ö" He sobbed so hard I could barely understand him. "I should have been there."

"Itís okay, Mike. I made it home. And with all your presents, too. Everything is fine here. "

"Thank you Ö but I shouldíve Ö" His sobs took over.

"Never mind," I said. "You couldnít help it, and I did all right. I canít come down tomorrow though, with no car. And I donít want to drive the Jeep—itís too frisky for me, and hard to stop."

"Thatís okay. You need a day off." He sniffled.

"I donít know how long the car will be tied-up. Iíll have to wait until Monday morning to call and find out."

"Okay, honey. Thank you for all you do."

"Youíre welcome. Iíve got to get something to eat and get some sleep now. Iíll call you tomorrow sometime."

We said our good-nights and hung up.

More exhausted than I knew, sleep came quickly. If I had any bad dreams due to that eveningís formidable events, I did not remember them.

Sunday dawned bright and clear, indicating a warm day ahead. Mike was eating breakfast when I called, and expecting a boring day. I, on the other hand, anticipated getting caught-up on home chores and updating my annual special offer to retailers of my Swedish Christmas book.

I had just stopped for a bite to eat around noon, when I noticed my close friend from the ninth grade pulling into the driveway in her little royal blue car. "What a nice surprise," I mumbled. Then saw her husband pull in behind her in their truck.

"Oh noÖ" I knew what it meantóshe intended to leave her car for me to drive until mine was repaired. I met her at the back door, where I tried to refuse her offer. It didnít work.

"I know the pathology on Mikeís leg is due in tomorrow," she said. "You need to be thereóto hear for yourself whatís in that report."

"Are you sure you want to do this?" I asked, leery about driving my friendís fancy little car in Seattle traffic.

"Yes." She pushed the ignition key into my hand. "The gas tank is full, and you know how to shift it. Use it as needed."

They politely refused my invitation to stay for coffee, then climbed into their truck and drove away.

I hurried into the house and directly to the phone. This unexpected kindness would surely make Mike smile.

Thank you, God!

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