Betty Beharell, my great-aunt, on her 100th birthday
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So, my partner’s been admitted to hospital. Unexpectedly. He’ll be in there for somewhere between 2 and 4 weeks; they can’t be more precise, they have not much idea. Otherwise healthy as any other cycling-to-work, rowing-thrice-weekly, midlife-fit dude, he’s got a random thing happening with his facet joints in his lumbar spine, and only 42 other cases have ever been cited. Anyway. He was admitted in a big rush last Friday and so far is doing fine. It’s serious, but heading the right way.

I take our sons to visit him after school most days. Today, we were heading down the highway, and I was a little annoyed at my car, as the air conditioning had decided to keel over and die. It was hot, today, the first day of autumn, at 3:30pm. We took the freeway: it’s faster. At our exit, we met a small wall of traffic waiting on the exit road, which is a gentle downhill slope. This road leaves the freeway in two lanes, meeting a four-lane major road before looping back under the freeway. It was on this road that my car decided to die, drifting a not-generous 15 metres or so before resting in the MIDDLE of the four-lane intersection. In the middle of a lot of traffic.

I tried to restart it, desperately, stoopidly. It was dead as. Then the first nice man arrived, a tattooed tough stocky bloke from a truck to my right. We determined there was no hope —  “battery’s dead” in as many words, then he said “right we have to get you out of here” (there were 2 little boys in the back seat and a hell of a lot of cars, oh, everywhere) and all of a sudden they came from everywhere. Blokes. Kind blokes. From each direction. There must have been nearly a dozen. They all pushed, and in less than a minute we were out of the way, still in a busy spot, but safer. These men disappeared before I’d even got out of the driver’s seat, and I never got to say thanks save yelling out ungraciously. Wonderful people.

So then the first tow truck moved us to a nearby car park, then the RACQ mechanic came and said it needed another tow to a mechanic, then my wonderful parents came and collected the kids and took them to visit their dad, and finally the tow truck took my car, and me, to a mechanic, which I had chosen because it is within walking distance of my parents and I could then collect the boys from their grandparents.

Wasn’t the sunset amazing today? I watched it from the big cab of a tow truck heading due west.

When we deposited the Volvo at its ultimate rest, I remembered that my 94-year-old great aunt lives around the corner.

So I dropped in.

Great Auntie Betty. Why do I not spend more time with this wonderful, gorgeous, spunky, wise, loving, energising woman?

I left Betty’s house dancing up the street. What a wonderful gift time is. I am so grateful for today. And all it took was a car’s breaking down.


4 thoughts on “Betty

  1. Nicely written piece and your site works well on mobile (cept maybe this comments form). Credit to you. Cheers.

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