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  • A Musing Pastor

Atta Boy! Thumbs up!

Never met a person who didn't like to hear affirming words. Atta Boy....or girl! Great job! Thumbs up to you! There may be some folks reading this who've rarely heard these encouragements and if you are one of those people, I'm sorry that your life has had so few of these esteem builders. Let me offer this reminder to you. If you understand that you are created by God and hold the image of God within you then that knowledge alone makes you special. Clearly, all of humanity can claim that place of dignity within God's created order. The problem finds itself squarely in humanity itself who often have trouble acknowledging another person as good or worthy.

Today after working on some church stuff in the morning, I headed out to take a short hike on the Mid State Trail. I was driving for about 30 minutes, hiked for about an hour, and then drove back home. In total, I was gone about 2.5 hours - ish. In that short time, I saw people give me a thumbs up and blink their high beams in appreciation. Here's why.

Driving on a narrow road that would be frequented by vehicles hauling RVs to the State Park, will create places where one must pull as far off the road as possible to allow the RV to pass. Twice I rounded a corner and saw RVs coming and both times I dove my truck off the road and sat and waited. It's pretty cool when the person approaching understands the sacrifice made to make their life easy and acknowledge it.

Having pulled an RV on narrow roads and not been given wide berth reminded me why I should offer one. I am now figuratively patting myself on the back. Great Job Randy; you remembered some of the lessons your dad and mom tried so hard to teach you both by their words and actions.

Fast forward to the return trip home. I will confess right now that I drove home a bit over the speed limit. Why? To say I was in a hurry would be half correct and the other half would be my hypocritical view of observing 'all' traffic laws. Aside from my hypocrisy, this story will have redemptive properties (NOTE: Redemptive properties do not validate my speeding).

Hold on, before you crucify me, let me finish. As I rolled down 322 and neared the East Charles Street exit I lowered speed and descended down the ramp. I observed a SUV parked alongside the right guardrail, three ladies were standing behind the vehicle and the spare tire leaned against the guardrail.

For a brief moment, I thought I would proceed on home, but a nagging feeling persisted in the 3 seconds of indecision as I drove by them and I continued on into Rec Park Parking lot near the pool, parked the truck, and climbed the embankment to offer assistance.

As I approached their car a vehicle pulled in behind them and out jumped a fellow about half my age and we both simultaneously asked if we could help them. He grabbed the jack and I grabbed the lug wrench. In the cutthroat world of those who compete for fame and glory, Scott and I both claimed our task of service and within less than five minutes had the tire changed and the family on their way to Lancaster.


To make this story longer than necessary, the mom had driven to PSU to get her daughter and bring her home for the weekend. The Grandmother had tagged along. They all admitted they had never changed a tire and being from Lancaster had no local contacts. As Scott cranked the scissors jack, I broke the lugs loose. The flat tire slid off and the donut tire slid on with no problems. Here's where the story has some neat twists.

  1. Scott was brought up help people in need. I introduced myself and we shared a moment of pride in our upbringing. Brothers from different mothers so to speak!

  2. We both thought it normal to lend a hand and not worry about getting dirty or working near a busy highway with speeding cars whizzing by.

  3. The folks from Lancaster said, "We went from the worst day to the best day with you two fellas stopping!"

  4. The flat tire on the back of the vehicle blew out and completely shredded the inner sidewall from the tread (not abnormal).

  5. Had the front tire blown out and disintegrated that badly most likely the car would have crashed.

  6. Scott Charles and Randy Scott both had good upbringing and mechanical know-how to change the tire along the busy highway.

  7. We both have a new appreciation for NASCAR pit crews who change four tires and fill the gas tank in about 14.5 seconds.

  8. Scott led the family to the Sunoco station to checked the spare for proper tire pressure.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I heard dad's voice whisper from heaven, "Atta boy son!"

PS: As I crawled over the guardrail to shinny back down the bank into Rec Park, I told the family, "Oh, by the way, I'm a PITT fan helping the PSU family." We all chuckled and parted company.

PPS: I hadn't planned on going out to hike today. The time spent on the trail was exactly the time necessary to place me at the scene of a flat tire that needed changed. I'm still not sure why I was practicing my Richard Petty driving technique coming home. I'm glad I didn't walk up to the family with my can of Fix-a-Flat!

"A Musing Pastor"

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