Monday, January 19, 2015

silver scenario

     We were, driving along the Trans-Canada Highway, past Revelstoke and up through Rogers Pass where the snow is white, trees are tall, and the trucks are many. Dad was navigating these slush and icy roads. While the rest of the family sat in cozy silence, keeping our eyes peeled for any oncoming traffic that perhaps Dad had failed to see. 
     And it was dark, the mountains were hidden in the blackness. Up near the sky it felt remote. Only the loud engines of trucks, carrying their cargo up and down the steep hills, permeated the eardrum. 
     A notification appears on my phone. A friend says, "No way we are stuck in a line again. Not far from Golden. You too?" 
     I replied, no, we were not waiting in a line-up.
     Then just as I sent the message, brake lights appeared ahead, the line-up. We pulled up behind a Jeep from Washington. The driver and passenger step out. The passenger nearly loses her balance, for the pavement is slick. Instead she grasps the door handle and stays upright. All the males in our Explorer also get out, stretching arms and legs, taking deep breaths of the mountain air. Mom stays inside. We get to chatting with folks around us. I like the feeling, everyone in the same boat, waiting. Why not talk to pass the time? 
     Then another helpful friend a few 100 meters ahead of us informs me that the RCMP said there is a mountain route that would bypass the accident. Well what are we waiting for? Instead of sitting for 2 hours and waiting, we take to the mountain. By this time quite a few vehicles have caught the hint and a long tail of lights winds upward. Snow is pushed up high on either side of the road, while tall spruce and pine complete the picture. The headlights play along the green and white, contrasting needles and snow.
     The snake comes to halt. Has somebody become embedded in a snow bank? We peer forward anxiously. No, we see it now, a Toyota struggles and sputters, tires trying to gain traction on the icy slope. Progress is not taking place. Is it slipping backward? Cam, Dad, and myself race up the hill to push from behind.
     "Thanks brother!" yells one of the two Asian men inside, and they are moving forward.
     Once again the train of vehicles can continue forward. Within 12 minutes we are back on the Number 1 Hwy. 
     Safely in Golden, we decide to stop at Subway for a late supper with Cam & Heather. We order our food. Mom informs the one happy Filipino about the soft drink we had forgotten to take with us on our quick stop here two days before. "Oh!" he said "Here let me give you  a free soft drink this time."
     And he did.
     We sat in a booth and ate our sandwiches. It wasn't long before Mr. Filipino comes along and hands us 8 free cookies! He is so happy. 
     More customers come in to eat. Quite a handful for this late hour. One 30-year-old man heads out the door saying "God Bless You!" to the Subway employees. The setting was happy. Mr. Filipino came to our table once again and got talking about religion. He is a Christian and loves to sing. Back in the Philippines, he used do voice lessons with people and teach them how to sing.
     "I love to sing." he told us eagerly.
     A rough-looking trucker with tattoos and piercings enters through the door. Our friend hurries over to make the two sandwiches he orders. Then a Pakistani man with turban and beard enters, obviously he has communicated with "Trucker #1" previously. As they are paying for their sandwiches, Mr. Filipino says, "Are you truckers?"
     "Yes." they rasp.
     "Well, then you get free drinks!" he says with a smile, obviously having a great evening.
     By this time we are done eating. Mom suggests that we sing a song before we depart. She tells Mr. Filipino. He is thrilled, takes off his plastic gloves and comes to stand near us.
     "Which song will you sing?" he questions excitedly.
     "How Great Thou Art."  we reply.
     "Oh! like the one that goes 'How great…is Our God..' " he begins to sing.
     "No," I say "not that one."
     "Oh is it the one that "such and such" sings?"
     "Maybe…" I say "Just listen and find out."
     We begin to sing. He listens. Eyes wide, mouth smiling. The Pakistani trucker turns and grins, truly beaming. The other Subway employee behind the counter stops her work and listens. The pierced and tattooed trucker is at the beverage fountain, listening. 
     12 people. Random connections. The room is quiet except for our singing. I smile. I like this feeling. God is here, I can feel it.
     Before we are finished the first verse, Mr. Filipino speaks up "Oh! I know this song! I have it playing in my car all the time!" he is overjoyed.
     Mr. Pakistani rushes forward to shake our hands, he loved it.
     Trucker #1 raises his phone in the air "I hope you don't mind," he says smiling "but I was doing a private recording with my phone." He comes over to shake our hands as well.

     We climb back into the Ford, smiling. Such an experience we had. We continue on our homeward journey with happy, tired faces.

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