02 Jul Christy: Best laid plans
This week I connected with Michael Williams and the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children to set up a time that these wonderful children can come and see what we do on harvest. We had to postpone a couple of times because we didn’t make it to Kingfisher, Oklahoma, when we were supposed to. Finally things worked out before Father’s Day.
I’ve been looking forward to hosting Michael and the kids from Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children because after talking with Michael over the phone, I was really touched by what he does. The organization he works with gives children homes when their parents aren’t able to and they provide a wide range of resources to help these kids have a hopeful future. They also help single moms with tools to get on their feet and succeed in balancing work and raising their children.
Friday morning arrives and I am still in Texas. We finished the day before, and Paul sent one group to Kingfisher, and he planned to take the remaining group to Anthony, Kansas. I needed to end up in Anthony and Kingfisher was on the way. I decided I would just pull my camper and trailer to Kingfisher, drop my trailers at the campground, then I could just run out and meet Michael and the kids at the field. It didn’t go that way.
As I’m entering Chickasha, I hear a ding and the engine light comes on as I’m approaching a red light. I stop, and then I can’t go. In the middle of traffic I began to panic a little. Zoey starts to cry, and I call Paul. He relays a few things I can try, nothing works. I decide I just have to call the police. A wrecker is called, and after a couple helpful bystanders diagnose. It seems it’s the transmission.
When the wrecker arrives, the driver, Joe, jumps out and says, “I’m going to hook my cable to you, and I’m going to pull you about a mile down onto a side street so we can get you out of traffic.” My eyes went wide, what if I can’t stop? I put it in neutral, and away we went. It felt like hours, and I don’t know if I’ve ever gripped a steering wheel that tight before. On the side street, I unhooked the pickup and Joe took our poor old pickup, Zoey and I to Dodge.
Mind you, it’s about 100 degrees outside, and Joe says, “I’ll take you to a restaurant, you can cool down, and I’ll pick you up and bring you back when someone comes to get your camper.” I took him up on his offer.
Rhonada’s pickup can pull my camper, and she was only a hour and a half away in Frederick, so she high-tailed it Chickasha to come and save us. Joe stuck to his word and picked Zoey and I up and delivered us back to where my trailers sat so when Rhonada arrived, we’d be ready. Joe stayed with us to make sure we were safe.
As we settled up my towing bill, I thanked Joe. When it was time to part ways, a handshake didn’t cut it. I gave him a hug and I had tears in my eyes as I walked back to my trailers re-hooked to a working vehicle. In these instances when you break down in the middle of somewhere you don’t know, sometimes you get lucky enough to meet a special kind of person who becomes your hero. Joe was that person for me. I saved his number.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to Kingfisher in time to meet Michael and his group, but thankfully one of our third-year guys, Patrick, was there to meet them and show them the ropes. They brought lunch to our guys, and the kids rode in the combine and semis. Patrick sent pictures, and Michael, too, while I was going through my ordeal. I’m so happy they were able to still enjoy their visit.
No matter how we set out to accomplish things on harvest, we are never fully prepared for harvest’s curve balls. You can plan ahead all you want, but sometimes it just doesn’t go as planned. I’m so thankful and grateful things worked out to some extent, and I’m preparing myself for whatever comes up next.
Christy Paplow can be reached at email@example.com.
All Aboard Wheat Harvest is sponsored by Case IH, Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc., BASF, Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children, Gleaner, ITC, Westbred, Huskie, Western Equipment, US Custom Harvesters, and High Plains Journal.