Yesterday was a very uneventful day for me, until 10:30 PM. My son, E, called me on the phone. He lives here in town and is going to college, majoring in some sort of Geography where one does environmental planning for cities and towns.
I laughed to myself, thinking, "He really must think I'm naiive if he thinks he is going to pull one over on me tonight."
After a few words of greeting and small talk, I asked him if he thought he was going to try and get me for April Fool's, because I was ready for it. He said, "What? It's April Fool's? Oh, now you're really not going to believe me when I tell you what I'm about to tell you. I'll just call you back another time"
My curiosity got the best of me and I said, "Oh just go ahead and tell me."
After a long, pregnant pause he said, "I've been expelled from the University. I was in the administration office on Tuesday and these three guys started getting insulting with me, making fun of my Indiana State hat, and it escalated from there. I was having a bad day anyway, and I just couldn't handle these three f_____s messing with me like that, so I ended up breaking one guys nose, breaking a knee and laying out the third."
Why is that so believable? Because E. loves to fight. He does MMA throwdowns and just waits for anyone to even look like they want to fight. He would be in the fray in 2 seconds. He's a really good boy, but he has that little bit of extra testosterone in him that needs an outlet. If he had a girlfriend or something I'm sure he would settle right down. But no girlfriend, he's busy with school right now. ;) I've been surprised that he hasn't gotten into more trouble than he has. So far he had kept it down to a few late night escapades with paint ball guns, and one or two meetings in an empty parking lot, but nothing involving the law or disciplinary processes.
At this point I was still skeptical and rolling my eyes, but then he told me that his court date was May 15th and that he was probably, in addition to being expelled, looking at 6 months in jail. He told me that his roommate's dad was an attorney and would probably agree to represent him for a reduced rate and that he could probably get the sentence down to maybe a month, and that he could get it expunged later. As far as the University, he could probably enroll in the "other" university in town, although it doesn't have his major and he would totally lose this semester, that is just finishing up.
My despair began to set in and I started seeing a bleak outlook for my son, who I had such high hopes for. In addition to finishing up school, I also had hoped that he would serve a two year mission for our church. He is 21 right now, and the standard age for serving is 19. He has had braces until just this past month and that has made it impossible for him to go out at this time, as they don't allow missionaries to go out with braces. So he has just gone ahead and finished more school. With a police record and being expelled from school, a mission for the church would be next to impossible. They just don't let just anyone go out. You can't have felons out serving the Lord. They need to at least have their acts cleaned up!
My eyes started tearing up and I started telling him things like, "I KNEW that MMA throwdown stuff was bad. You start thinking you can take it outside the ring. Now look where it's gotten you. Are you on steroids? What the heck were you thinking? And this, after all my begging and pleading for you to keep yourself out of trouble...." I told him I had to go.
I told my husband what had happened and I was in tears because this was devastating to me.
Then the phone rang, and there was E. on the phone again. I prayed that he was gong to tell me, APRIL FOOL'S! !!!
The day could have been so much worse than it was. Actually it was a pretty good day! But it could have been a crummy day...if I had gotten that ticket.
Every city has one--a road that says 30 mph but where everyone wants to go faster because the very nature of the road invites you to. The road is wide, uncrowded, open, long, made for driving......well, faster. I was driving that street, as I do almost every day, since it's how I get home in Sandy, Utah. My mind was elsewhere, thinking about a million other things, planning what to make for dinner, planning out the next day, weighing the importance of one activity against another, wondering if I will have a job by the end of this month. My speed crept up, unbeknownst to me, to about 20 miles over the speed limit. I was in my driving trance.
I noticed a quick flash out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and saw an on-coming car. Wait, did that car just flash its headlights? Why, I believe it did. I don't see that too often here in the city. As a matter of fact, hardly ever.
When I lived in Floyd, Virginia, I saw it all the time. The shortest way from Floyd to Christiansburg is Rt. 8, a 30-mile stretch of country highway, with a speed limit of 55 mph. Since Floyd is such a tiny place (it boasts all of one stoplight), one finds many occasions to go to the larger town of Christiansburg! It is a beautiful stretch of road, with hills and trees and views that are breathtaking. After all, it is right on the border of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While there are many places where one needs to go much slower than 55 because of the sharp turns, the blind entrances, and the steep uphill climbs, not to mention some sheer drop-offs, there are other places where 55 mph is just really tough to abide by. I often found myself flying down the road at speeds that were closer to common freeway speeds on I-15.
Of course, it was a favorite lurking place for the County Sheriff's men. They had such clever places to hide. A favorite place for them was right at the bottom of a hill that was hidden until you passed them, almost always over the speed limit. Of course they weren't always there, so you just had to know that maybe, they would be waiting. But country folk look out for one another. Just as it is so common for people to raise a friendly hand in greeting as they pass each other in opposite directions on the road, so it is also the practice to warn your fellow southern citizen that the Fuzz is on the prowl! You can almost be certain that if someone knows that the cops are in the vicinity, you will get a warning flash from your oncoming friend! I can't even count the number of times I was saved from a sure write-up because of the friendly flash of an oncoming car's headlights!
But this time, it was the neighborly flash of a car from my city neighborhood. It was surprising, really. Nevertheless it came at a welcome time, because sitting on the side of the road as I rounded the bend at the crest of the hill, was a cop. He had his speed gun out, ready to sock it to me. But he didn't get me that day, thanks to the flash of some headlights from an unknown neighbor.
While that incident made me very grateful and happy, heck it saved me at least $80, it also created a bittersweet memory of the life I once lived in the hills of Virginia, where cops have it hard because everyone warns their neighbors and where they greet one another with raised hands as they pass on the road.