Part three ended with – I used my other hand on the mike to send that most dreaded message…”22 to base…I am stuck and can’t get out.
No driver in a shining wrecker would chance by, see my predicament and rescue me if my pleas were still unheard. Only in the movies.
“Where are you, 22?” came the response from base.
I was not leaning treacherously toward a deep ditch or buried to the axle where a culvert was supposed to be or blocking traffic. I was sitting in a gravel driveway facing the road about twenty feet from my front wheels. My rear wheels, though, were mired in mud.
Communication quickly became confusing with base and boss both trying to talk to me at the same time. I cut off the helicopter whirring of the defrosters and the rhythmic beating of the wipers. That helped offset, too, the mounting complaints coming from the cargo behind me.
To assess the situation himself, my boss had grabbed an incoming bus and driver and a long yellow towrope and had headed my way. Directions to that particular driveway were not easy for me to convey. He knew every road in the county, and he probably thought I had left it…along with my senses. I was still disoriented from driving backwards; that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I could not pinpoint my location accurately.
With continued talk between base and boss, I could tell he was getting closer but he was still in the fog about my exact 20. Then I had it, a good indication of my whereabouts!
“22 to boss…I’m at the house for sale by owner just past the driveway of the residence that had all the horses where I used to stop before the students graduated.”
All that detail. He would know for sure now!
“Boss to 22…Why don’t you teach your kids some French while you’re waiting?”
So much for clear communication. My muddled mind in the muddy bus could not fathom how another bus could help the situation. How would it back up to me to pull me out? There was hardly room for one to boogie, much less two to tango.
But my boss and helper (wouldn’t you know it would be the one who taught me how to drive a bus) did it with ease. They had the situation scoped out before they even came to a complete stop. They pulled in, attached the towrope, shifted the cargo in the bus all to one side – I filed that trick for a next time – backed up a few yards, and voilà!
They didn’t add to my humiliation by not using the towrope, or by backing the rescue bus into the same spot to turn around and head back to school. They let me be the lookout as they backed up to my original intended turnaround. My pride recovering, I delivered the rest of the precious cargo, mysteriously muffled now, and wondered about tomorrow’s weather.