The first morning was scorching, pushing 90 degrees before 8 o’clock. In the small cab of my husband’s khaki Jeep, who we've dubbed "Conrade," I bounced along the scenic “easy” trail that led us to a look-out point aptly named "Top of the World." We dared to swing our feet over the ledge long enough for this picture.
On the way down the mountain my patience got tested because it was MUCH bumpier and hotter. And I began feeling that sickness feeling (the sickness I got, see "Inopportune Sickness" post) way in the back of my throat. To top it off, Dale’s sway bar (read the thing that keeps the car from bouncing like mad) broke (well it didn’t really break, but that’s laywoman’s terms for what happened). The entire caravan of 30 Jeepers stopped on the road, scores of men got out of their Jeeps, swarming around injured Conrade.
I sat inside, trying not to think of other places I’d rather be. That’s when I realized that while I was sitting inside these men were giving up their own air conditioned cabs to lay down in the dirt and inspect Conrade's problem. Two men were laying flat on their backs, squinting into the dark recesses of Conrade’s front end. Prying, levering, suggesting, I heard, “Hey JT you have an allen wrench?” “What about using this rock, it’s large enough to jerry-rig the sway bar from re-attaching.” Tool bags come piling out of Jeeps, men are getting greasy, sweaty, but even more determined. I watch sort of dumbfounded that they want to help make this happen. I want to announce, “Hey, it’s not really worth all this work in the dirt and heat of the afternoon, let’s just get out of here and get home.
Then I overhear one of the guys say to Dale, “It’s really hard on her, huh?” I glance over and see he’s talking about me. I quickly pretend I didn’t hear, trying to wipe the disgusted, befuddled look off my face. I sit and feel like a wimp. Then I hear Dale’s rejoinder, “Actually, she hasn’t complained at all.” I feel my heart jump with amazement. If only I was as good a woman as he thinks me.
The men never did get that sway bar working, but I learned that controlling my tongue mattered more. Because I did I can look at the pictures and remember the men’s teamwork, Dale’s trust that I could make it with him, and his praise of me in front of those hard-working Jeep guys. I'm proud to be his Jeepin' wife.