Rainy track meet replete with recall activity

It was a dark and rainy night. Actually, a dark and rainy afternoon at an “away” track meet. The weather report for the day was so turbulent that I threw an extra umbrella and towels in the car “just in case.” The day did not disappoint.

Borrowing the cell phone of a teenager whose parents clearly love her much more than I love my cell-phoneless children, my daughter called 30 minutes before I was to leave work to come watch, to inform me the track team was still sitting on the bus, waiting out the downpour. It it didn’t stop and the lightning continued, the meet would be cancelled.

Great. The only thing worse than driving somewhere for something directly after work is driving to nowhere for nothing directly after work. I chose to set out, anyway. A lifetime of Michigan living has taught me the weather would likely reverse itself during my journey, so I might as well take my chances.

My chances paid off. By the time I pulled into the track parking lot, I no longer needed to use my windshield wipers. Interestingly, I had begun my day in a bigger city in the opposite direction, having my already-fixed and functioning windshield wipers replaced at a GM dealership. A year ago, they suddenly stopped working. Lots of rain over the few days I had to wait for their repair made driving challenging when I couldn’t see through my rain-streaked windshield.

Naturally, I took the problem to my local repair shop, where, $245 in parts and labor later, I was once again able to see things before I ran into them. Four months later, I received a recall notice from GM. I was told they would keep me posted on what to do next, but if I’d experienced a wiper problem and had it repaired, I should stay tuned for reimbursement instructions.

Reimbursement appealed to me. After going several months without word on the situation, I went online to the company’s recall portal. That got me to customer service, which connected me to the closest GM service center, which informed I would have to get my wiper transmission re-replaced.

“But I don’t need anything replaced,” I protested, hating to have to miss more time from work over stupid windshield wipers. “My trusted, small-town mechanic already did that.” I was then informed that in order to get reimbursed for the previous repair, I would have to have the GM-certified technician at the GM dealership re-fix what was no longer broken. Ca-ching! Suddenly it made (dollars and) sense to me!

Back at the track meet, I experienced a similar feeling of all-rightness. Huddling in the stands with friends, my raincoat hood cinched tightly around my face, I remembered the rain-soaking I took on the pre-qualifying night for track regionals as a high school senior. I was there high-jumping and each leap into the rain-soaked pit was a backward plunge into a sopping wet sponge. Ironically, I got soaked for nothing, as I did not place in high-jump at the regional level. However, I had another race to run and didn’t want to do that soaked and freezing. What to do?

“Would you like to dry your clothes?” asked a newly familiar voice. It belonged to an athlete from the hosting school, on whom I had a huge crush. He lived just two blocks away and was offering me the use of his parents’ clothes dryer.

In a move that had the potential to get us both in big trouble, I left the track meet and walked with him to his house. I wore something of his and we hung out in his basement while my uniform stuff dried. It was the start of a 35-year friendship where we’ve been there for one another during many subsequent storms of life. Those supportive ties have had us drying one another’s tears many more times in faith and love than that one track apparel occasion.

So matter how wet, cold, windy and dark the track meet became the other night, nothing could destroy the warmth of those cherished memories – except perhaps if the newly, unnecessarily-fixed windshield wiper transmission quit working on the way home.


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