Monday, June 17, 2013

Kate Miller 28: Intermission

Would Kate and her family even make it to Canada? 

28. Intermission / Mother’s Day (May 2013)
            Mister took Exit 1 off the highway into Kittery, Maine, and even as the car slowed, the smell got worse. He had to take a few turns just to find a place to pull over, and when he did, Providence gave him a church parking lot. Only moments passed before people started wandering out of the building, and several came over to see if they could help with the car. One man was a mechanic and he opened the back of his van, behind which the Miller-Wills crew had conveniently parked. He poked around and made discouraging noises. The bad news: some kind of fluid—maybe oil—had sprayed all over the engine block. Going five miles (not to mention Canada) was out of the question before the car could be looked at. The men made some calls, but it was Sunday, and Mother’s Day to boot. Even shops that might normally be open were closed. The good news: there was a hotel down the street, probably within walking distance.
at the hotel, unloading the car
            The crew piled back in the car and minutes later pulled up to the hotel. “Are we there?” one of the young fry called. “Is this Canada?”
            “No, baby.” Kelsey comforted her daughter, “We’re not going to make it to Canada today. We’re in Maine.” She whispered so as to make it more exciting. She turned to Kate, “You know,” she said, “I keep getting this feeling that this trip just wasn’t meant to be. There was the passport thing, and then that pain in my throat, and now this. I even took the van to the Honda dealership to get checked out before the trip…whatever this is, they should have caught it then!” She glared cross-country at the Honda dealership.
            Kate tried to put things in a different light. “You know we were thinking about not leaving until tomorrow anyway. It’s an extra expense, but I’m excited about sleeping in a bed all night. Maybe this is just God’s way of saying that two back to back all-night car trips were a bad idea! Don’t worry, this trip was meant to be. In the meantime, we’re in Maine.” They both grinned at Kate’s purposeful inflection. If it could be exciting for the kids, why not for the adults too?
last-minute Thai dinner
            They unloaded and set up shop in their rooms, and for the next hour, everyone napped. In the evening, they took an exploratory walk. Kittery was a small town, with a hopping Dairy Queen, and lots of beautiful birch trees that made Kate think of home. When they walked by a Thai restaurant, Mister suggested that Kate and Kelsey stop in for a quiet bite while they kept walking with the girls. It was an abrupt change of plans, and both mothers felt a little strange about separating from the rest of the group, but they were hungry. Kate’s stomach began to grumble. Once they got settled and ordered their food (with heart shaped rice!), it was a very pleasant dinner. They talked about pregnancy and motherhood and the dramatic changes that could (and would) come soon. They took leftovers back to the hotel for everyone else to sample, and the evening wore on peacefully.
games and fun time
            By the time Kate got up in the morning, James had already taken the van to a shop to be worked on, and all the others were in the kitchen eating breakfast. Kate watched the girls eating their cereal and oranges and wondered at how oddly familiar it felt. Years ago, Kate, Kelsey, and the girls had spent a couple weeks together at a similar hotel in Ohio when Kate’s grandfather had passed away. Though it had been a sad and trying time, Kate was glad of the experience, and could trace the effect of real affection for, and friendship with her sister-in-law back to that time. Now, as then, the girls seemed content—of course, it wasn’t “Pin-Severed Island” or Green Gables to explore, but there were games to play, tables to run around, and a doting uncle that played Frisbee.

playing Frisbee
The news about the car was both good and bad—it wasn’t a gasket, which would have been costly and time intensive to repair. It was the transmission fluid, which was extremely filthy and probably hadn’t been flushed when the last owner ought to have changed it. (Kelsey gave the unsatisfactory car dealership and extra-fierce long-distance glare.) Nevertheless, the car would be fixed and ready to go later in the day, giving the girls a chance to nap while everything got packed up. Kate breathed a sigh of relief in spite of her previous confident outlook. 
The trip was still on!

Here are some more links to earlier posts:
6. A Day To Remember  (This is two days before Christmas, wondering around New York City...)
7. Christmas Eve (What better time to break the big news?)
8. The Best Medicine (A great day with an old's hard to beat.)
9. Skiing (This post has lots of good pictures from our exciting ski trip--part of my Christmas present!)
10. Back Home (Home is good...especially when you have a newly repaired car and food to eat!)

No comments:

Post a Comment