After my recent visit to NYC and getting hit by a bicyclist, I began to realize how much our society has changed. Sadly, not for the better. I was reminded of it once again last Thursday…
It started with a wonderful business trip with my friend and co-entrepreneur, Kathryn Raaker. We took a 2 hour jaunt to Irish Acres/The Glitz Restaurant in Versailles, KY. The day could not have been better! The sky was cloudless, 76 degrees, slight breeze and to top it all, Kathryn forgot her cell phone. Needless to say, it was a “quiet” time which allowed us to talk TO one another instead of OVER one another on the phones. I loved it!
On the way home, we hit the I-275 loop in N. KY around 3:30, so with little time to spare before the rush hour, Kat suggested we go via the Anderson Ferry. Now, I can only tell you the memories conquered up by the mere mention of the Anderson Ferry! For years when we were children, our grandparents had a house on Lake Williamstown. Way back then…..there were no expressways (yes Virginia, there was a time when expressways were few and far between) and we often took the Ferry to cross the river from Ohio into Kentucky. I was excited to see even the road had not changed. It was filled with twists and turns and still just a little over one car width wide. The entrance to the Ferry was already filled with cars at 3:40 p.m. So we pulled into line, rolled down our windows and talked–the thing both of us love to do most of all!
There were two ferries full which went ahead of us and then we were first in line for number three. Each time a ferry fills the slots with 11 cars or trucks, it meanders across the river, held up by barges if necessary, and gives the cars about a 10 minute ride to the Ohio side of the “big muddy.” I was enjoying the ducks on the banks, and Kathryn, being a pro at the ferry since she lives in the area on the other side, explained that around 4:30 or 5 p.m. they start running the 2nd ferry which was tied near the bottom of the ramp. We sat talking, waiting our turn on a pretty steep incline of a ramp. After about 10 minutes, in fact, shortly before the ferry docked for the third time, my car did a “put-put-put” and died. I was out of gas! Well, not “really” out of gas, as my gauge told me I had 1/8 of a tank. But apparently, the incline of the hill pushed the gas forward and would not allow it to reach the necessary part of the tank to start the vehicle.
Being first in line, as the last cars emptied from the Ohio side onto Kentucky soil, the ferry car-director began to wave me onto the ferry. But my car would not start. Being first in line, the 30 or so cars behind me were not happy and began to go around me after a few honks just in case I wasn’t paying attention.
11 cars went onto the boat. Now, grant it, if I could get to flat ground, I was certain my car would start. But straight ahead of me, on a 45 degree slope, was the Ohio River. If I put it in gear, I would have no power steering or power brakes and dropping into the river was not on my agenda. And I am very agenda-driven.
So Kathryn, being the brave soul she is, decided to get out of the car and go onto the ferry. They had no gas can filled with gas for us to borrow, or even an empty one for that matter. So she hitched a ride with a white SUV and headed for the other side. Of course, she had no cell phone with her to communicate with me, so I waited.
On the way she borrowed “Craig from Delhi’s” cell phone, called her brother-in-law who lived closest to where we were, and asked for help..
As chance would have it, a barge was coming up the river, so the ferry was delayed a few minutes… As chance would have it, as they exited the ferry on the Ohio side, a train blocked their exit to the gas station just on the opposite side of the road.
So I waited, enjoying the beautiful river, the sun shine and breeze. I was afraid to turn on my radio for fear the battery would also die, so i sat quietly. Alone. With no way to communicate with Kathryn. The ferry returned and 11 more cars got off and 11 more went around me to get on. This went on three more times. then they started running the second ferry, which only holds seven vehicles. Although I was able to get the car started once, I was afraid of getting on the ferry in case Kathryn was heading back with the gas on another ferry. She had no phone. So I waited.
In all that time of cars getting on and getting off –88 of them to be exact– not ONE of them stopped to ask me if I needed help, a phone or oxygen! I could have been dying and they would have smugly passed me by, quickly turning their heads to avoid eye contact, should I dare to shout out HELP ME! and they would, obviously, have to say no. After all, most grandmother looking women in business attire ARE mass murderers, rapists and thieves. At 5:20, Kathryn returned with her brother-in-law and a gas can in tow. Thankfully, he was able to get enough gas in the tank (with no funnel), and my car started.
I say all of this to not only give you a laugh for the day, but also a warning not to go on the Anderson Ferry if you are low on gas, but more importantly to say, Chivalry IS dead! What has become of our society? We are blind to the needs of others, so engrossed in our own lives that the people around us are invisible. And if not invisible, they are ignore-able at least. We are afraid of being inconvenienced, afraid of being asked to give of anything that we don’t want to part with including our time, energy or money.
I spent my hour and a half enjoying the river view, realizing it may be God’s way of saying, “slow down, take a breath and enjoy the view.” Which I did. I was reminded over and over of the song by the Rhett Walker band which says “You say, come to the river, Oh, and lay yourself down and let your heart be found, You say come to the river, Drink from the cup I pour and thirst no more…
My tank might have been empty, but my soul was filled.
Sigh… another lesson for another day.


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