Make it out to Bill and JoAnn
Once upon a time, my “low tire” light came on in my car. This would not be enough to make anyone nervous or impatient, but seeing as I have a life-long fear of driving down the road and my entire tire falling off or exploding like an overfilled balloon, I was not too excited. My husband is well aware of my nightmarish fear and that I am convinced that the moment of the great explosion I would be sent careening off the road down a 400 foot cliff even when driving right here in Wayne County, Ohio.
So he kindly helped with setting up an appointment to have my tires changed, a painfully priced necessity, and after handing over my keys, I settled in with a cup of coffee and few things to keep me occupied while I sat in the waiting room for the next couple of hours.
Soon after I sat down, I realized that the older couple that was also waiting for their vehicle to be serviced were reading the newspaper. The Daily Record, to be specific. And they were just getting to the section that held my column.
Ever since I began writing for the local newspapers, I have dreamed of the moment that I would be in a public place and someone would be reading my very words and glance up to realize that I was sitting right there next to them. I envisioned them looking at me, and then my photo in the paper, and back at me just to double check. Then we’d laugh and chat and assuming they didn’t have major complaints about things that I have written, become instant friends. But this scenario has sadly never happened, in all my six-plus years of being a newspaper columnist.
Until the tire service center.
The woman leaned over and asked her husband if he had ever heard of “Smigus Dyngus,” which was the topic of last week’s column. They worked through the article and by the end were having a debate on how to pronounce the Polish holiday. Unable to resist it any more, I said, “it’s pronounced SCHMEE-goos DING-goos.”
“Thank you,” she said.
“Do you know how I know that?” I asked, fishing for her to make a connection between the picture and the person sitting next to her. But her blank stare told me it wasn’t quite there. “That’s me. I wrote the article.”
And then it came—the look at the printed paper, the closer investigation of my face, back to the paper, back to my face, and finally, “oh my word, it is you! Bill! The lady who wrote the article is sitting right there!”
He could barely believe it either.
I told them all I know about the Polish holiday and we talked about this that and everything else, because that’s what you do when you are sitting and waiting for new tires. They happened to be traveling through town on their way home to West Virginia and had car troubles.
Before they left, she scooted closer to me and handed me the paper. “Could you please sign this? My friends back home will never believe that I actually met you! Here’s a pen. Right here. Can you make it out to Bill and JoAnn?”
Never having actually given an autograph, I was barely able to write my name, which is fairly illegible to begin with. But she said thanks and with their newly repaired vehicle went out the door and headed south to West Virginia to tell her friends that she had met someone famous.
She’ll never know that I’m nothing special, that I’m just an ordinary person with a new set of tires. But I’ll let her have her glory because finally, after all these years, I finally got mine.