It was a blistering Fourth of July afternoon of 105 degrees. We had recently moved into our new house in Saratoga Springs, Utah, and with no central air, and un-landscaped yard with no trees, and sweat pouring off of us, we decided that paper fans weren’t getting it and that we needed to get out of town. So we packed up an overnight bag, blasted the air conditioning in our blue ’97 Monte Carlo, and hit the road, feelin’ good.
We decided to go to Wendover, Nevada. An hour and a half on the road, a cool, conditioned hotel room, and a scrumptiouis buffet of steak and crab. Couldn’t get much better than that! As my older brother and I were singing along loudly to Tom Petty on the radio and hour into the trip, all of a sudden the air stopped blowing, the radio switched off, and the engine stopped.
We coasted to the side of the road. My dad got out of the car, looked under the hood, and returned a few moments later. ‘I think it’s the alternator,’ he told us.
We looked out the window and saw flat white land for as far as the eye could see. As we stepped out of the now hot car, the smell of salt engulfed us. We were stranded in the middle of the Salt Lake salt flatts.
We did the only logical thing: used our cell phone to call up a tow truck, and then we waited. It was getting hotter and hotter by the minute, and time was passing like molasses in December. ‘Momma?’ I croaked.
‘Is there any water?’ ‘Nope,’ she said. My brother and I walked out and entertained ourselves by cracking the salt beneath our feet. ‘It’s so hot!’ I complained.
‘I’m so thirsty!’ ‘Just pretend all this salt is snow. Cold, wet snow,’ he said. As reassuring as he sounded, his brilliant idea didnt’ work.
About an hour had passed, though it seemed like five, when we heard our mother’s voice calling our names. We both looked at eachother and then ran toward the car as fast as our little legs could carry us. ‘Is the tow truck here?’ I asked hopefully.
‘Is there water?’ followed my brother. ‘No,’ she replied. ‘But a nice man stopped and gave us some cans of Diet Coke.’ We each took a can and gulped down the hot beverage. Time kept passing, slowly but surely. All of our faces looked like lobsters and our shoulders were fried crispy. Another hour had passed and we finally saw a big red tow truck on the horizon. ‘Hooray!’ we all cheered in unison. When he pulled up behind us, we all climbed in and to our dismay found that he had no water. The half an hour to Wendover was teh longest half an hour of my life, and I had never been so thirsty. We finally pulled into the truck station. I jumped out and ran inside. And then I saw it: the water fountain! Oh, sweet, sweet water! Water had never tasted better! Our car was repaired and we checked into our hotel room. Then we went and ate our buffet of steak and crab, and I had another four glasses of water. That night in our hotel room, we watched the glorius fireworks through our window, and were happy have eachother to share them with. We all learned a lot that day. We have a strong family. Through the toughest (and hottest) of times, we stick together and it always comes out right in the end. We also learned to be extremely grateful for little things like water that we take for granted every day. Needless to say, any time we went anywhere in that car, we made sure we had a water bottle, even if it was just down the street. That was definitely one Fourth of July I will never forget. *********
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