Did you ever do something, thinking it was the appropriate action to take, only to discover later that your previous thought was totally erroneous, you knew nothing could be done to change the outcome; and the only thing left was to pray and hope for the best?
Well, I was definitely doing a lot of praying and hoping for the best while hunched over my steering column in an attempt to peer out my windshield as it rained cats and dogs.
My eyes bugged out and my jaw dropped open when I turned on the windshield wipers. Instead of the usual straight blades of rubber going left to right, these snake-like creatures started meandering to and fro as I heard metal scraping against the window.
I quickly closed my mouth and gritted my teeth. If truth be told, there was probably smoke billowing from my nostrils. I was on the verge of turning into that fire breathing dragon. But I had no one to hold accountable but myself.
All I could think about was “why did I get two sixth grade boys from my class to change my windshield wipers?” Well, it was plain as day smacking us directly in the face. Those two boys on my basketball team did not take “Windshield Wiper Installation 101.”
“So guys, you knew what you were doing? Aye?” I remarked while glancing in the back seat through my rear view mirror at the pair.
Then the blame game began. “I told you we should have left those metal rods in the wipers,” one said to the other.
“But I could swear I saw my dad take them out before he put new wipers on his windshield,” the other shot back.
I was in my third year of teaching at Praise Christian Academy in North Versailles, Pa.; and I had been the junior high boys assistant basketball coach for the same number of years.
We had an away game all the way in Houston, Pa. clear down in Washington County. The worst part of it was the fact that I had to drive through downtown Pittsburgh before hitting Interstate 79 South.
Needless to say I was terrified. I always avoided driving in the Steel City at all costs because with so many roads going this way and that, not to mention all the detours, it was very easy to get lost or go down a one-way street in the wrong direction.
Lucky for me, I was the caboose in a caravan of vehicles going to the game , so it gave me comfort to know I was following someone that knew where they were going.
The drive down wasn’t too bad. It was a sunny afternoon. It was that trip back to our school that turned into an absolute horror story. It was dark, overcast and a torrential downpour that made Noah’s Ark look like a day at the park.
Not only were my windshield wipers not working properly, but I was having a difficult time seeing the brake lights of the vehicle in front of me. I was mortified.
I had known for a couple of weeks that my wipers were going bad. I even went to the auto parts store down the street and bought a new pair. Unfortunately for me, I was inept when it came to anything dealing with an automobile.
So there they were – two brand new wiper blades laying in the trunk of my vehicle. They weren’t doing much good in there as we pulled into the opposing team’s parking lot and the pitter-patter of rain began to trickle from the heaven’s.
What was I going to do? Although I knew better than to ask two of my sixth grade boys to help me change my wiper blades, desperate times called for desperate measures. And that is exactly what I did.
Christian Armstrong and Matt Robinson were more than happy to help.
Luckily, the junior high girls game was first, so we had time to go out and change the windshield wipers and be back before the boys had to be on the court.
I began to regret my decision to ask these two for help when they began removing parts from the blades. I asked them if they were supposed to be doing that. Matt assured me that his dad did it all the time.
But that had to be the furthest thing from the truth; and I realized it when I turned the wipers on shortly after we began the return trip home.
It was only by the grace of God that we made it back to the school in one piece. Straightaway, I went back to the same auto parts store and bought yet another pair of wiper blades.
To this day, I still don’t know how to change my wiper blades, but at least I’m smart enough to go to the Auto Zone in Clinton where they change them for me.
Mark S. Price is a former city government/county education reporter for The Sampson Independent. He currently resides in Clinton.