Friday, January 18, 2008

December 2002: Harley Saves Christmas!!

Here is the story that many of you love so much. It may seem that we have made this up, but sadly it is all true! I have tried to condense it down, because it can take hours to tell. Enjoy!

Bart and I moved to St. Louis in August 2002 for Bart to explore if he was being called to be a pastor or not. He left Seminary the first time and had questions on if he was burnt out or not supposed to be a Pastor. So, we decided let's go figure it out. By December, we were out of money, Bart was exhausted from working two jobs and going to school full time and I was having a hard time getting even 5 hours a week at my job. Now, I refer to these times as the Dark Ages for Bart and I. Not that I like to air our dirty laundry but to understand the beauty of the end of story you must understand where it began. Bart was rarely home and I didn't even see him some days. When he did come home he was either sleeping or studying. Life was tense in our household and I was miserable. We fought more than we ever have-EVER and even slept in separate rooms for awhile. Finally, one day I approached Bart and said I was moving home. This was the beginning of December. I told him if he wasn't home by Christmas day, this marriage was going to have some serious problems - then I left St. Louis.

Bart finished his semester and finished working his jobs. Cut to Christmas Eve evening. Bart calls to tell me he will be home late Christmas night. I beg him to be there when I wake on Christmas morning. He agrees, although at that time I had no idea how tired he was. He leaves at 3am that morning so he can be home by 9am.

I wake up Christmas morning at around 8am to a phone call from Bart. I ask if he is almost home, and he says he is only outside St. Louis by one hour. WHAT??? I finally realize Bart is whispering and I ask what is going on.

He says, "Baby, you have to get me out of here. My metro is in a ditch. I need you to call a tow truck for me and get me out of here"
T: Where are you?
B: I am in a house with large women wearing tweety shirts and chain smoking. Some man named Harley picked me up and brought me to his girlfriends grandparents house. I am calling from the bathroom. GET ME OUT OF HERE"

I have never heard Bart so panicked. Here is what Bart experiences before, during and after the tow truck comes to his metro. Then I will share the ending of story with you.

  • A semi flies past Bart on the highway, he hits black ice, runs off the road and buries his front end of the metro in a snow covered ditch. He is trapped in the car and spends the next 4 hours or so covered in blankets waiting for someone to see him.
  • He is awoken by a tap on the window. A man named Harley (who had been out of jail for only 6 months at this time and a Wiccan) saves him and takes him to the Tweety House
  • I call and get a tow truck and tell Bart to get out to the car. During this time Harley offers to drive Bart home. No thank you!
  • Before taking Bart back out to his car, Harley tells Bart he needs to stop by an apartment. Supposedly, Harley's girlfriend's brother is in jail and Harley is supposed to be keeping an eye on his girlfriend. The girlfriend reportedly has a boy in this apartment with her.
  • Harley stops at the apartment and pulls out a large knife. Bart stays quiet and still. Harley knocks on the door, goes in, has some words and comes out. No knife needed. Thank God!
  • Harley returns to the truck and takes Bart to the metro. He offers to stay until the tow truck comes. Bart says "I am ok. Thank you".
  • Bart waits and waits for tow truck. (It is Christmas Day. Imagine how much that cost us!)
  • Strangers stop on the side of the road to offer help. Bart alerts them to the tow truck coming. A woman gives Bart cheap walmart gloves, for which Bart is grateful.
  • Tow truck comes and Bart gets back on the road, no injury to the car. (As much grief as I give that car, it is a tough little thing)

Bart finally pulls into Tulsa around 5pm but still needs to shower. We are at some friends of the family's house sharing Christmas gifts. FINALLY, at 6pm Bart knocks on the door and enters the house. CUE THE DISNEY MUSIC. I am sure we have all had moments where we have said things, fought, etc and always assumed our loved ones will return later to us safely. Bart and I had some rough times before his trip home and had shared some harsh words.

The minute he walked through that door, every hateful word, action and separation plan we might have made went out the window. The relief and joy I felt at having my husband home and safe again was all I wanted that Christmas. It was the best Christmas gift I ever received. Nothing will ever top that night. I hugged him so tight and couldn't let go.

This really is a funny story, especially if you hear it in person from us. However, most of the funny stories that exist between Bart and I usually have a touching moment for us. I enjoy being able to laugh with him, but it always means more to me if our relationship gains something from these times too.

We painted a bulb that Christmas for our tree (it is a tradition we do ever year) with Bart's metro buried in a snow mound and it says Harley saves '02. So- to Harley- wherever you are now- thank you for the greatest Christmas gift ever - the safe return of my husband!!

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