I have never appeared in an episode of “Lost” but I can identify with some of the situations the characters have found themselves in!
I can’t remember if it was 1979 or 1980, but all I know is that it was one hot summer!
Of course that would not detour my friend, Nola and I from taking advantage of a great opportunity to take a fun trip to Colorado!
Nola had this amazing, green 1968 Mercury Cougar that would have been a classic back then and for sure is now. (Spoiler alert to guys who are into cars: this story is going to leave you in a puddle of tears, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
It was (mind you I did use the word, ‘was’) a dependable car and we had no reason to believe that we couldn’t have a great trip sight seeing and cruising our way through the mountains like a couple of nineteen year-olds, as we would try to confidently prove our boyfriends and parents wrong in their concerns that this wasn’t a good idea!
Packing up all that we needed for the trip and making sure that Nola’s mechanic brother had serviced the car, we headed towards the hills or rather, ‘mountains’ for the grand adventure, leaving our skeptical boyfriends and parents behind.
All went well for the first two or three days that we explored the area of Colorado Springs and Woodland Park, hiking, eating and basking in the fragrant pines that surrounded our cabin.
On about the third or fourth day into the trip, we began to notice that the car was starting to overheat.
Of course, we weren’t too concerned, so we found an auto shop in Castle Rock and poked around the town until the work on it was done.
It was very interesting that after paying a rather large sum for whatever repairs needed done, we headed through the mountains only to discover that the car once again, began to overheat!
This concerned us a bit, so we pulled into a Whitewater rafting place, filled a jug with water, opened the hood to a steaming radiator and poured it in there to cool things off.
By now, we were a bit stressed and a bit hot ourselves, so we decided to find a phone and call Nola’s mechanic brother who tried to figure out and diagnose a problem from his shop in Wichita.
We would try this and that and maybe we stopped at another mechanic shop before the vacation time was coming to an end, getting fleeced out of more money before it was time to head home.
I can’t remember if it was Lamar, Colorado or what town it was but if one knows the area, there is a highway that heads you east to Wichita and one that heads you south to Oklahoma.
We were happily cruising along one of those lonely highways when we began to realize that our car was getting extremely hot again.
Thankfully, we had a jug of water, so getting out in the 103 degree temps to fill it up on a lonely and empty road, was the only option we had until a nice trucker stopped by to see if he could help the two hot and sweaty young ladies.
He must have either been a Dad, a husband, Superman or a responsible citizen, because he was concerned enough to ask what we were doing out in the middle of nowhere and where we were headed.
After hearing that we were going to Wichita, he pulled out a map and showed us that we were actually on a fast route to Oklahoma!
What? How did that happen?
It seems that little highway intersection in Lamar was where we got hung up and now we would have to start heading east and back north to get on track.
We thanked the trucker for his help and continued on a different direction, further into No-where’s-ville.
I don’t think we had driven 15 miles in the blazing heat of midday before the car started to overheat again. (Spoiler alert for parents of teenage girls: don’t read any further!)
This time, when we pulled over, a truck full of young guys decided that a couple of girls their age stranded on a highway in the middle of nowhere, was a good opportunity to make some new friends, and they gladly offered their assistance.
Of course, we were young and somewhat naïve but not enough to leave ourselves at their mercy by acting stupid.
We declined their help, acting totally confident that we knew the cars problems and had our bases covered but thanked them for their offer.
After quickly jumping back into our car, and watching as the boys laughingly made their way to the truck, heading in the opposite direction, we limped on down the road with our very dehydrated car until she finally gave up and would move no more.
Looking up and down the road, all we could see was one lonely farm house sitting on the flat prairie beckoning us to find refuge under the shelter of her sweltering roof.
Leaving the car on the side of the road and walking up the dirt drive to the house, we were greeted by a snarling German Shepherd who was just certain we meant to pull of another episode of “In Cold Blood” on his watch.
Did I fail to mention that as a child I was traumatized twice by attacks from German Shepherds?
After a few sniffs of these two sweaty girls and detecting that we were as harmless as two teenagers lost on the prairies of Kansas, the dog let us pass him and enter the steps to the front porch.
If we weren’t both traumatized enough at this point, imagine our horror, when the woman of the house answered the door and half of her face was missing!
Bless her heart, we knew not what the problem was, but trying to conceal our expressions, act like adults and ask if we could borrow her phone was almost more than we could pull off!
After radioing her farmer husband, who was working in the field, and getting his permission to let us in, she handed Nola the phone, who quickly burst into tears and declared she was done calling her brother and she would leave the cry for help and who to call up to me.
As I considered our options and pondered this huge ‘adulting’ responsibility being thrust upon me, I put on my big girl pants and did what any other nineteen year old stranded on the prairies of Kansas would do.
I called my Dad!
Now, on my end of the phone, all I heard was, “Hello, this is Ernie Frazier speaking, how may I help you.”
On Dad’s end of the phone he heard silence.
Then he heard blubbering.
Then he asked, “Shelli, is that you?” Evidently, he had heard this sound before!
When I could finally breathe again, I explained to him what had happened and told him that the woman of the house, who by now was holding a sweet little baby, said that we were outside of a town called “Big Bow.”
Believe it or not my father, who lived in western Kansas most of his life, who used to sell insurance all over that area, had no idea where that was!
After figuring it out, it was decided that he would call his best buddy, Frazier Wynn, who was a mechanic in Copeland, KS and he would drive the two to three hours to tow us home.
We spent the rest of the afternoon having a wonderful conversation with the lady (she had cancer), playing with the baby and praising God that as usual, He takes good care of us!
The moral of the story is:
The car died, the girls got rescued, the boyfriends had a great laugh and the parents breathed a sigh of relief.
It might not make the script for an episode of “Lost” but it was enough of a drama to entertain me for a lifetime!