Saturday, March 19, 2011

Laughter is good for the soul

Riding for hours in a car this weekend gave me time for reflection of other trips I have taken over the years.  I especially thought about one trip last fall with friends - maybe because laughter and GPS devices were involved - just like this weekend.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about friendships and how they evolve over time.  I wrote about childhood friends, work friends and just friends from all walks of life.  This is a story about church friends and a trip we took.

After going to the same church all my life, we moved to Van Wyck in the mid 1990’s.  I tried for a while to continue to go to my home church, but distance was a factor and it just didn’t feel the same by not living in the community.  I found that I was missing more and more Sundays services, circle meetings and social get-togethers until finally I made the hard decision to find a new church.  After visiting several, I found the perfect fit.  I have since made some wonderful friends in my new church family and I have never looked back.  Our women play such a vital role in the growth and character of our church.  We care about each other and genuinely have fun together.

We do a lot of social things together – we often go to Florence for a Plant and Garden Show in the Spring, and a Blowing Rock Home tour in July.  About three years ago, our Presbyterian Womens group started a tradition of holding a Womens Retreat in Montreat, North Carolina in September.  Over the years, we have formed our own little car groups and now there are four of us who go in Camille’s big Suburban – not because we need the room to ride in, but because we need the cargo area for our shopping purchases from the nearby town of Black Mountain and the Asheville Farmer’s Market.

Camille, Lynn, Linda and I are the Fearsome Four.  We all know how to navigate our way to Montreat, but we are all having such a good time talking and laughing that we sometimes forget to make a turn.  This past September, Camille asked me if I would bring my GPS along.  This is not Lady Garmin that Henry has in his truck.  This one I have named Mary Margaret – she is mine.  We wanted her along to keep us on track.  All went pretty well with Mary Margaret except the one time that I thought she was wrong and we ended up having to make a u-turn.  My fault – not hers.  But for some reason, on this trip we had trouble adjusting her volume.  She was way too quiet.  I think she was intimidated by all the loud women in the car.

Now, Camille drives that big old Suburban with all the finesse of an 18 wheeler and she can push that bad boy down the road.  She had been carrying on a conversation with Mary Margaret all morning.  When Mary Margaret would say “In six tenths of a mile, bear right”, Camille would say something like “ok, I heard you”.  They were getting along pretty well.  Until, all of a sudden she started talking back – or at least Camille thought she did.  I don’t think I can give this story justice – you had to have been there!

Mary Margaret had just told us to turn right ahead.  Camille was adjusting her rearview mirror to make sure she could get in the right lane.  All of a sudden a loud voice started speaking to us. (Remember that Mary Margaret had been talking quietly).  There was a lot of noise going on in the car so the voice was loud but muffled.  It sounded like it said something like “Honestly, may I help you?  Huh?....  Camille turned and looked at me with a puzzled expression.  “Your GPS is talking to me”, she said.  “Hey, it’s never done that before!” I said.   Again, the voice speaks.  This time is was still muffled and sounded like it said “Instant!  May I help you?”  The voice sounded perturbed. Camille sounded even more perturbed when she came back with, “No!  You cannot help us” and then “Glenda, shut that thing up!”  I started fiddling around with the controls.   Then the voice said, “Ma'am!  Do you need any help?”

We were all by that time looking at each other as if a ghost was in the car with us.  It was spooky.  We didn’t answer – we all got very quiet and just sat there with our mouths open.  Then, it said very plainly, “Ma'am, this is ONSTAR, do you need any help”?  Oh, that’s what she said…  Camille came right back at her, “No, I don’t even have ONSTAR, but we don’t need any help”.

Uh, Camille….apparently you do have ONSTAR, I thought.  We were all laughing so hard by this time that we don’t know what happened to the ONSTAR lady.  I'm sure she thought we were ALL blonde, instead of just me.   I recently saw a commercial and the person called ONSTAR by a little button on the rearview mirror.  When Camille adjusted her rearview mirror, she must have hit the button.  If Camille ever really needs help, she may have used her one and only chance of “crying wolf” with ONSTAR.  The next time, they’ll probably say, “Don’t answer!  She has a car load of laughing ladies with her”.  It’s good to have friends to laugh with.  And next time we’ll invite Mary Margaret back.   I could have sworn I heard her laughing with us.

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