News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

August 10, 2008

The Off Season: Having faith restored for free at mini-mart

Not everything you read in this newspaper is about human nature at its worst, but I know that on any given day most of the news is pretty ghastly stuff: suicide bombings, raging wildfires, gas price hikes, church shootings…

But there are a lot of good things that happen in this increasingly mean world in which we live; unfortunately, they just don’t get much ink. That’s why I appreciated the letter that Linda Cooper had in the July 27 Tribune-Star in our “Reader’s Forum.” As she related, earlier in the month her car broke down at the corner of Brown and Wabash. Seeing her plight, a young man stopped to help, eventually giving her a ride home. Later, her neighbors took her back to her car and waited for a tow truck with her.

As Linda said, “The kindness of a stranger and neighbors still exists and is alive and well.”

I think so, too, and I can prove it. This particular story really starts at the time my car wouldn’t. A few weeks ago, after a blast furnace of an evening watching the parade and mainlining junk food at the Parke County Fair, my wife and I drove our car out of the fairgrounds parking lot south into Rockville.

As we cooled off in our own little four-door refrigerator and sipped the last of our milkshakes, we gabbed about why the fair and 4-H and small-town living are good things. Ironically, we also chatted a bit about our car having a touch of a mystery illness.

For the past few months the family ride would occasionally balk at starting. Before you think I was totally irresponsible, I’m happy to let you know that at the early onset of the problem, I took the car to a local dealership to have it checked out. After diagnostic cables were hooked up to her like an automotive life-support system, she got a clean bill of health. However, as is most often the case in such matters, the car wouldn’t act up when we wanted it to.

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