Eating crow at Raven Grill

Published 2:17 pm Monday, June 15, 2015

Take care of your car and your car will take care of you. I’ve been following that wisdom with regular tune-ups ever since I bought my car. My automobile has been reliable. That’s why I’ve never bought a membership for roadside rescue, in spite of my husband’s advice to the contrary. Now it looks like I’ll have to eat a bit of crow.
It all started about two weeks ago when I got back in my car after a meeting and turned the key.  Instead of the familiar rumble, there was the unmistakable click of a dead battery.  No worries, I’d heard this before. There were jumper cables in my trunk and two friends chatting nearby. One helped me push my car out of the parking space while the other pulled her car around.
Fifteen minutes later, my engine was purring like a well fed cat. I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR we sang and fist bumped each other.  Who needs AAA when you have your own jumper cables? The next week, another friend and I took Momma to her favorite restaurant. Since her stroke, she owns a handicapped sticker, but I forgot it at the nursing home. Surprisingly, there was an open parking place right in front with plenty of room to maneuver a wheel chair. On her way to the front door, Lillie noticed my front left tire.  Flat as Pita bread.
So we did what any self-respecting women would do given the situation, we walked inside and ordered lunch. Salmon served on a white tablecloth makes everything better. Besides, I needed  my strength. As our waiter came and went, he had no idea he was being considered for the role of rescuer.
I also kept an eye on the parking lot. I would need the space next to my car no matter who fixed the tire.  The car in that slot became free just as our waiter brought the bill. Lillie dealt with the waiter and my mother while I ran to reserve the spot. Another car pulled in before I got there. I donned my saddest expression.
“Would you mind parking elsewhere?” I asked pathetically and pointed to my deflated tire. The elderly woman looked at her husband and then back at me. “Are YOU going to change that tire?” I shrugged.  Again with the sad face. Her husband put the car in reverse and backed away.
Her question nudged my memory. I had charged my own battery. Maybe I could change this tire. While popping the trunk, another car pulled in. This time the driver was much less sympathetic. Ultimately, the sweat rolling down my face must have convinced her. She moved her car, too.
This time I opened all the car doors, raised my hood and trunk and threw my wide brimmed straw hat into the middle of the parking space. Forget fashion statement, the hat was called to a higher purpose. I made a mental note to buy an orange cone and peered inside the trunk. Where was the spare tire?  I speed dialed my husband. He was not the least bit interested in driving 3 hours to change a tire for someone who refused to sign up for roadside service.
“Did you move my spare?!” I accused him. Some questions are too dumb to answer. “There’s a panel that lifts up,” he said with a sigh. “Look under there.”  What I found looked more suited to a clown car than a full sized automobile. I rolled the tiny replacement to the front of the car and reached into the glove box for the owner’s manual.  T for tire or F for flat?
Suddenly, our waiter was standing beside me reaching for the jack.  Before he could start, the restaurant manager appeared. “Go back to your patrons, Manuel. I’ll do this.” And that is the story of how Neville, the sweet as pie manager of the Raven Grill in Houston saved my bacon and filled me with the milk of human kindness.
I’m trading in my jumper cables for a membership in AAA.   Who knew that lunch at the Raven Grill would come with a serving of crow?
Donia Caspersen Crouch was raised in Southeast Texas and lives in Austin. Want more?  Donia’s  Stories of Hope and Humor can be ordered at dccrouch17@att.net.