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Dennis Marek: Don’t let the horoscope do you in

August 4, 2018

The trip was planned for months. Drive to Colorado, fly two grandsons from California unaccompanied to Denver, meet the airplane and then drive the two up the mountain for three days of experiences. Of course, the plan had some risk. While the boys, 10 and 11, had flown before, they had not flown unaccompanied by an adult. They were game.

Arrangements were made with Southwest Airlines to have the parents take the two to the gate and for my wife and me to be at the arrival gate in Denver. We had purchased four new tires for the car two weeks before the trip, had the oil changed,and we were ready.

That morning, my wife read our horoscopes for the day. They were both ominous. Mine said, “You might need to talk to someone to express your anger rather than misplace your feelings.” Hers said, “Pressure builds in an odd way. Try to remain levelheaded.” Undaunted, we packed the last of the items in the car and drove out the lane right on time at 8. I immediately noticed the “low tire” light came on. We stopped and saw that the left rear tire was low. Since we were headed for I-57 anyway, we made a diversion to our tire man at Roy Brothers on South Schuyler.

Each bay was full, but they quickly removed the tire and found this huge construction nail through the tire and noted it had demolished the inside of the tire. It was not to be repairable. Jim Roy started making calls around town to see if anyone had that size tire locally. They did not, but it could be ordered and perhaps be installed the next day. That did not suit our plans at all.

My internal well-being was raging by this point. I knew exactly where that unusual nail had come from. The repairs at the 308 exit had been going on for months. We had to drive through that site every time on our way to and from Kankakee and our home. Of all the trips through there, why was the nail plaguing us on our departure date and not earlier? I thought of our horoscope and wondered.

My wife, the usual half-empty lady, was not down at all. “We can still make it,” she said. I was just grumpy by this point.

Jim made more calls and said he found the tire in Channahon and could have it in Kankakee by 3. What with the changing, we couldn’t be out much before 5! I stayed grumpy until my wife suggested we drive our other car to Channahon and retrieve the tire ourselves. Jim made the call for us to make the pickup, got us home to get our other car and we were off.

The people in Channahon were great as well. The drive took 40 minutes each way and they had our tire in 5 minutes. We were back in Kankakee by 10:30, dropped off the tire, exchanged cars and were back at the garage by 11:30. The car was ready.

We left immediately after thanking all. One of the mechanics laughingly said this misadventure might make a good article. Hmmm.

We drove as far as Omaha, Neb., that night, not to our usual first stop on the far side of Nebraska, at Ogallala. We found a motel and were off again the next morning rather early. We arrived in Colorado on time. The plans stayed in place. We picked up the boys on time.

The point of all this is that when something unfortunate happens, even if predicted by a horoscope, there might be a way to correct the problem with some clear thinking. The second part is that it sure helps when you are a local dealing with local people who are more than willing to help you out of a jam. The attention we received at Roy Brothers was without equal. Being mad at the construction company for not gathering up their nails would do no good. Being grumpy or mad would do no good. But clear thinking and having the input from the professionals got the job done. Sometimes, we also need our spouse to keep us thinking positively. Thanks, Cathy, and thanks to the crew at Roy Brothers.

P.S. The trip was without equal. These young Californians got to see their first mother moose and baby, watch a herd of at least 40 elk traveling down the mountain right next to us, raft down the Clear Creek waterway, ride their first Alpine slide and play miniature golf before flying back to Mom, Dad, and a jealous younger sister. Your time will come, Kate, but I might carefully read my horoscope that day before setting out.

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