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I really need a good laugh right now. I bet you do, too. So I need to dredge something out of my history to make us all happy.

This one is called : “High Water”

The year was 1991. My oldest was in second grade and attending a terrible public school in southeast Portland. That’s a minor detail except that it helped push me into homeschooling when my hand was called a few years later: send my kids to a school like this one or…? I chose homeschooling.

We had one car: a 1984 Ford Escort four-door hatchback. We purchased it with 3 miles on the odometer, fresh off the docks. Paid for it up the wazoo after an uninsured driver rear-ended me and “totaled” the car (which lost half of it’s value the moment we drove it off the lot). Insurance gave us a check and let us keep the car; we had to pay for the remainder of the loan. The car died on Highway 213 with a police escort (pun intended), but that’s another story.

High Water was many years before that.

I worked as a parttime secretary/bookstore volunteer/receptionist for a small (but growing rapidly) church. It would one day be a “mega church” but in those days, I still managed the office mostly by myself. The church provided Day Care for me, but as often as not, my young son wandered down into the sanctuary where remodeling was an on-going thing and “helped” the men who were rebuilding the dais or putting Spackle on the walls or…  Levi was a favorite among the construction workers.

We lived in a dinky apartment off of 82nd Avenue, near the future junction of Johnson Creek Blvd and I-205. It was an in-between place for us and where we kept our dog hidden in the garage because we were not supposed to have a dog. The school was located nearby and Arwen’s 2nd grade teacher was a uncommunicative old woman that told me I was too nosy. Quite the opposite of Arwen’s Kindergarten teacher who told me, “You are the parent teachers will love or hate. You are involved in your child’s education, you know what is going on, and you ask questions. I love you. Others will hate you.”

Second Grade Teacher hated me.

It had been raining. Not real unusual for this part of the world.

Levi and I were early on our way to pick Arwen up from school. Early is not unusual for me. We needed to kill some time, so we drove around the neighborhood near her school. We came to a street that went down a steep hill and then climbed right back out. A sign warned: “High Water”. There was nothing at the bottom to give you a visual as to high the high water could be: a foot? or less? I knew a car could go through a foot of water, just drive careful (this was an Escort, OK?).

Um. Three feet of water. The engine died. The water began to seep in the doors. I attempted to restart the engine: nothing.

My son cried out (gleefully, the little devil), “Mommy, dey’s papers floating back here!”

I breathed in. Out. Prayed the sparkplugs were still dry. In with the clutch, turn the key. Engine powered up.

I eased off the clutch and we motored forward, out of the high water. I waved congenially at the people standing at the top of the hill as my car passed them, water dripping out the doors. It smelled like dead earthworms.

We picked Arwen up and drove home.

Yeah, I still can’t remember the conversation as I explained that scenario to my husband. We never did get rid of the dead earthworm smell in the car. But we knew one thing: Jaci can drive a stick shift through 3 feet of water…

(I really should write a book about that Escort – that was only one adventure it took…)

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