Three for three

I’m pretty sure this must’ve happened just so I could blog about it.

I got in the van this afternoon to drive to an appointment in Branson.  It was 95 degrees hot outside, so I had spent the whole morning inside in the AC.  I needed to stop at the bank on the way, and I rarely allow myself as much margin as I should, so yes, I was skidding gravel as I pulled out.

Just a few feet down the road, something very large and very black slapped against my windshield, almost completely obscuring my view.  This was startling and disturbing, to say the least.  As I tried to see around whatever it was, it dawned on my lightning fast mind that what was plastered to my windshield was, in fact, a floor mat.

Gradually, over the next four seconds, the light in my brain came on, and a long series of thoughts tumbled through my brain:  When Scott took the guys down to Big Rock to swim after the tennis match yesterday morning, he used the van (our only vehicle with marginally enough clearance to negotiate the gravel down there), and they probably put the rubber-bottomed floor mats on the seats to keep them dry on the way home, and since their wet swim suits soaked the floor mats, he probably put them up on the hood of the car to dry out.  And they probably stayed there overnight on the 4th and were forgotten, what with our cookout, and playing bridge, and shooting off fireworks.

Then, when I got in the van, I didn’t see the mats, because I never see the hood of the van when I drive.  Either I’m too short, or the van slopes down away from the windshield at too steep of an angle, or something.  In any case, I was suddenly seeing floor mat now, and in a very big way.

It occurred to me that I really needed to get that floor mat off the windshield, and that to do so, I would need to pull over and stop.  However, as anyone who has been to our house knows, there is NO shoulder on our road due west of downtown Walnut Shade.  I decided I would continue on to 176, where I could pull off and retrieve my mat.  Just as that thought zipped through my brain, the floor mat flipped off the windshield!  I had no idea which way it went (I was driving 50 mph at the time), and just as I processed the thought that I would now need to stop somewhere and go back on foot to find the beastly thing, a second floor mat flew from the hood to the windshield and bounced off into oblivion.  Wow!

I only spent two seconds deciding that I would not stop to look for the mats on my outbound trek.  For one thing, I had to get to the bank and to my appointment. For another thing, in order to stop to look, I’d need to park somewhere around 176 and hike back, and that would result not only in a lot of lost time, but also in a lot of uncomfortable and unsightly sweat.  No, the Great Mat Search would have to wait.

After my various errands that afternoon, I returned home several hours later, hoping (against hope) that I would see the mats in the road and be able to retrieve them. No such luck, so after parking the van in the driveway, I set out on foot for the Great Mat Search.

I walked on left, facing traffic, which put me on the south side of the road, where there’s anywhere from one to four feet of grass, debris, and unevenly sloping ground beside the road.  I walked to the far side of the cemetery, scanning the rocky downhill for black mats.   Did I mention that at 5:00 PM today it was about 102 and sunny?  It was so hot it was hard to see straight, and seeing straight is vitally important when the cars are whizzing by only a couple feet away.

Nearly to 176, I crossed to the north side of the road and headed back.  Note that on the north side there is a grand total of anywhere from zero to six inches of weeds between the white line of the road and the ditch.  Also, there’s a steep hillside there, which makes it impossible for westbound cars to see Mat Searching pedestrians until both the vehicle and the pedestrian are occupying the same space.  It was a bit scary.  Not only that, I had to keep glancing down for the mats and up for the cars, and anyone who wears trifocals can tell you what a joke that is.

Less than a quarter of a mile from the house, I found the large mat!!!  Hooray!  And less than 100 feet from our driveway, down in the ditch, I found the small mat.  Hooray again!  Dripping to the skin, I inserted each mat into its associated floorboard, thanked God for protecting me and keeping all western Taney County Mat Thieves from stealing our goods, and called Scott to say that we were three for three on floor mats.  “Three?” he asked.  “I thought there were only two mats on the hood.”

“It is true that only two mats came home,” I replied,  “but so did one wife, so I think we’re three for three.”

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