North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

March 20, 2014

Danielle Cater: I’ll never live down running out of gas

Danielle Cater: I’ll never live down running out of gas

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

AN NJN EDITORIAL — Have you ever had one of those days where you are functioning on four hours of sleep, and yet you still have to get up at 5:45 a.m. to get the family to church by 7 a.m. on the other side of town? After church you run home to get ready for your 6-year-old’s birthday party and then head straight back to church to help with the services until after 9 p.m.? That just might be a good description of our Sunday afternoon. Whoever said “easy like Sunday morning” obviously didn’t have kids and probably didn’t go to church.

By the time we left church in Hayden, I was ready to crash into my bed and not move a muscle until Monday morning. When we got on the road, my husband informed me that his gas light was on and we needed to stop for gas. This isn’t a new occurence. I have finally positioned myself to be okay with the fact that most days we are riding on “E” in his car.

After we go past the Morris exit, he remembered that we never got that gas he had mentioned. I didn’t really think it was a big deal because his gas light can stay on for 100 miles — you can probably see where this is going.

Sure enough, as we got one mile from the next exit we ran completely out of gas. We were able to spit and sputter our way onto the exit ramp, but there we were, stranded, gasless and tired.

At this point, I have to take a little sidebar and let you know that I was raised by a father who informed me at the tender age of 15 that if I ever ran out of gas, I shouldn’t call him because he would only laugh and then hang up on me. “Only a dummy would run out of gas; there’s no excuse for it!” was one of the sayings my sweet Diddy was known to say.

Being raised on this philosophy assured me that I would never run out of gas, no matter the circumstances.

I had been texting with my brother when we sputtered to a stop, but I knew that the lecture wasn’t going to be worth the gas if I had to call him. You see, he too was raised by my father and we all abided by his rules.

I swallowed my pride and called and asked him to bring us some gas. We had two babies in the car with us so we didn’t have many other options. He gave me a five-minute lecture about “bringing a man a gas can makes his car run a mile, teach a man to buy gas and he can drive forever.” (Yes, a knock-off from the “teach a man to fish” parable.) He then informed me that he was at work and couldn’t. Are you telling me that he gave me that lecture without offering any help? YES!

So then I moved down the line of people who are going to completely tear me to shreds over this incident, but may actually bring us some gas. I called my sister who immediately started laughing, and after ribbing me for a minute, sent my sweet brother-in-law to rescue us.

My brother-in-law Jason and I grew up together. We’ve known each other over half of our lives and we’ve got a good relationship. But we’re both in the same family, and we know that you have to have thick skin to hang with this bunch. He came walking down the exit ramp with two gallons of gas and I thanked him 30 times. But of course, that wasn’t enough gas to even get the car moving, so he and I took off by foot a quarter of a mile, uphill, to the gas station to get another gas can and four more gallons of gas.

At this point I can tell you that my new shoes hurt the top of my left foot and rub a blister on the pinky of my right foot.

After buying a $21 gas can that only holds two gallons of gas (yes, gas stations, we see what you’re doing there!) and letting him take a picture of me holding the empty gas can as revenge, we made our way back to the car.

Jason informed me that he didn’t HAVE to be referred to as a “knight in shining armor,” but if the shoe fits, he would wear it. He said he would never forget about the little people who made it possible for him to be a hero that night. Yes, he is a humble man.

We got back to the car, which now needed to be jumped off also, dumped some gas in the tank — and some gas in the gravel by mistake — and before we could even get it cranked I got a message from my Diddy from India, informing me that they could wire us some gas money if times had gotten that tough in the Cater household. Yes folks, news travels fast (and halfway around the world) when you’re dealing with a family like mine.

So before we even got home, my sister had posted on my Facebook that she had an embarrassing picture of me walking the side of the road with a gas can, after committing the unpardonable sin of running out of gas.

Can I remind you that I wasn’t the driver of this particular car? But I digress. And it didn’t help that he kept repeating, “I have faith we are going to make it.” To which I replied, “Faith in what? The magical gas tank that refills itself?” We laughed about that, until we ran out of gas. Then the laughter stopped.

I’m sure I will wear the scorn of that night for years to come. I’m sure Jason will remind me at every family function that I still owe him one. You’ve never seen a guy so excited to one-up someone as he was to help us out with our gas situation. But it made for a good story and some memories that will be used against me for many months.

I probably should have called a friend or my husband’s family. They would have come and helped and probably wouldn’t have held a picture over my head. But alas, I was born into this crazy family and they are the ones I call on when I need help, whether I should or not.