We did not begin our cross country drive until Boris, the master mechanic at the bottom of my hill, gave the car his okay. Part of that okay involved a gift box of two quarts of oil, power steering fluid, and brake fluid. Each container was carefully labeled just in case we confused motor oil with power steering oil. The brake fluid, Boris added, can be used in a pinch for clutch fluid. And so his label reminds us of that.
This morning I remembered the Boris gift box untouched in the trunk and decided to check the car's oil. Several minutes of dip stick study convinced me that we were at least a quart low. No problem. Just unscrew the oil cap and put in one of the Boris quarts. Except that neither one of us could get the cap off.
Oh well. We needed gas, anyway. So through the heavy fog we drove the ninety yards or so to the Exxon station. Proximity to expertise did not remove the oil cap. The man at the pump next to us seemed friendly. I asked for his opinion regarding this recalcitrant cap. He didn't even smirk as he just lifted it off.
"It's just a half turn, then lift. These things are tricky." Because of his kind manner, I didn't feel at all foolish.
After we poured the new quart in and replaced the cap, our new friend came over and made sure one quart was sufficient. It was.
While all this was going on, a man limped his way to the car at the pump in back of ours.
"Can you get by me?" I asked him.
He smiled and assured me that he had all the room in the world. It was his knees that were the problem.
His wife joined him and they explained that they were driving from Memphis to Dallas for Thanksgiving with family.
"We're headed to Memphis," I added feeling not quite prepared for this type of by the road visiting but beginning to enjoy it.
By the time his knees were working and he had painfully climbed into the car, I had pulled our car into a parking place so we could buy a quart of oil to replace the gift oil.
The man and woman waved and shouted, "Happy Thanksgiving!"
Within minutes we six -- the man at the other pump, the man and woman from Memphis, and the three of us -- had driven in different directions into the fog.
Sometimes even the briefest encounters can leave lasting and fond memories.
That's the way it was in the heavy fog of Mt. Pleasant, Texas.