To most people, it would appear that I’m stranded, once again because of a broken down car.

I’m in a local library because my car is being repaired. They told me that some kind of “damper thing” is out and will take a couple of hours to repair.

“Damper thing?” Yea, that’s how much I know about cars. However, I do know some things about cars, mainly because I’ve learned through experience. I’ve had enough water pumps, broken belts, exhaust holes, and sundry other things ail my cars over the years that after several times of failure, I’ve learned to recognize some of the symptoms.

But this “damper pulley,” now that’s a new one for me. After all, I’m the guy that tried to give his car one oil change in his life time. I got under the car and pulled the oil plug, but no one told me that it was going to shoot sideways, hit me in the face, forcing me to leap into the bottom of the chassis, cut my forehead, and scamper from underneath the car with a bruised head and half-finished job.

That was when I realized why I had been paying $20 an oil change all of those years. It was a practice I deemed the wisest in my case, and it has been my recourse ever since.

In my youthful years, there were times when I tried my hand at repairs. After all, I am a “man” and men are supposed to know how to fix things. However, as life progressed, various lessons taught me that in the case of some men, the gift of repair work somehow jumped the assembly line as they were receiving their faculties for life. I was definitely one of those.

One of the first lessons of that truth occurred when a close friend, my wife, Joyce, and yours truly took the car through a car wash one day, approximately 35 years ago. When we exited, it was quickly discovered that the pressure of the wash had pushed the windshield wipers beneath the hood, which would have been fine, had not a blinding rainstorm blown into the area the minute we hit the highway.

Quite obviously, it was time for the “men” to come to the rescue! But what would we do? Thoughtfully, we were dowsed with rain as we removed the crow bar from the trunk and tried to pry the wipers out from under the hood.

“I’ll try to pull them out and you try to pry,” he said as sheets of rain drowned us with their chilly sting.

Suddenly, Joyce jumped out of the car and said, “I have an idea.”

Reluctantly, the two “men” looked at each other and said, “well, you might as well try because what we’re doing doesn’t seem to be working.”

Calmly, she walked to the front of the car, opened the hood, and presto, the wipers were in perfect working order! Nothing was said as we climbed back in the car and continued through the rainstorm with wipers doing their perfect thing in the driving rainstorm.

Of course, there have been times when it has seemed like nothing less than a “Divine rescue” has intervened to assist the poor creature that was skipped on the “creation line.”

There have been times that I have run out of gas, right in front of the house, other times when the car broke down at home, the day after we had driven a thousand miles from a vacation spot, and other times when tires have blown out in front of the only residence on a five mile stretch.

Over the years, I can’t count the number of times that mechanics have said, “how did you get this here? This should have gone out on you about 50 miles back on the road.” I always shrug my shoulders, look towards the sky, and gave a wink.

Thankfully, I was raised in a heritage where we were taught to face each crisis with a “day at a time,” type of philosophy, whether it is a faltering car along the road or something much more traumatic along life’s journey. It doesn’t always bring a new car, a condo in Palm Springs, or money on trees, but it teaches a simple faith that is worth more than all of the material blessing in the world.

It has also given the opportunity to role model such a faith to our children, who seem to get the point more each day as they get older. But we can’t take full credit for that. Lots of it goes to a set of parents who happen to be my hero to this day for demonstrating that simple trust and faith in God can help overcome the feeblest attempt at trying to change one’s oil.

Nearly 45 minutes has passed since I started writing this column. Hear I sit in an area library waiting for the phone call informing me that that “damper thing” is fixed.

But am I stranded? Probably not, after all, if that hadn’t happened, I probably would have not found myself in this reflective train of thought.