I saw the cruiser sitting in the dark driveway and knew I was never going to get away with it. Sure enough, the red and blue lights flashed instantly as he pulled up behind me. I obediently pulled over.
I must have looked like hell warmed over after the day I’d been through. Emmy had been up coughing a lot the night before and so neither one of us had gotten very much sleep. I called the pediatrician that morning to get her an appointment while Lily was at preschool. After testing Emmy’s oxygen levels in her blood, they decided to put her on a nebulizer. I wasn’t going to be able to pick up Lily from preschool on time, so I had to call my sister-in-law to pick her up. In the meantime, the doctor gave Emmy a prescription for an inhaler and a special spacer with a mask to help with her breathing. She was so little, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get her to use it.
It had been quite a day. By the time I had to go to Church Council, I was exhausted. I should have stayed home. But I must have thought I needed to be there, so I went. I was a few minutes early, and the new secretary asked for my report. I told her I needed to give an oral report since I didn’t have time to type one up. She responded that in order for her to put my report in the minutes, it had to be a written report. She would include it this time, but next time I needed to type it up.
I was seething. Giving an oral report as my position of Chair for the Board of Parish Education had never been a problem before.
I sat down at the table. Due to a recent rearrangement of rooms in our church and school, Council now met in the old parsonage. This meant I was sitting in my old living room. I was facing the wall where our couch once stood. To my left was the wall where I used to practice piano. To the right was the dining room where I sat doing trig homework. Instead of a dining room table, two desks and a computer sat in that space. The whole house was full of memories, made sharper and more bittersweet by the fact that it had not been long since my mother died. I stared at the windows which used to be covered by drapes she had sewed. The wooden floors under the conference table had been refinished by Mom. Dinners had been served at 6:00 p.m. every night, with all six family members, including my busy Dad, required to sit at the dining room table. As the pastor, Dad had a lot of meetings to attend after dinner, including Council meetings.
I barely listened to the reports of other Chairs. The emotions swirling around in my head made me feel like I would explode. Nine o’clock finally came, and I excused myself early, due to my sick daughter. Anger made me speed down the quiet, empty road in the dark. As a result, those red and blue lights flashed behind me.
My address now, however, is in a couple of suburbs over. As the officer explained to me that this section of road was only 25 mph, I didn’t say that I had grown up down the street. I didn’t say that my dad would drive really sloooow on this same stretch of road just to get others to slow down. I just nodded my head and said okay. I told him my daughter was sick and I just wanted to get home.
I was lucky to get off with a warning. I had been speeding. I deserved a ticket. I would have paid the fine, uncontested. I drive on that same road quite often, and now I drive like my dad. Slow and steady.