serendipity and good neighbours   12 comments

Posted at 4:14 pm in being alone,Nova Scotia

Serendipity. Perhaps it will be Serena for short. Meet the new-old jeep purchased with a handshake a couple of weeks ago. Of course, there’s a back story.

About three weeks ago, I got to thinking that my trusty van which has weathered several winter trips to the southwest, was in need of some maintenance and repairs. However, how was I to arrange this? I live alone and have only the one vehicle. I have no one to ask for a ride anywhere — at least no one who would not be inconvenienced. And so I began thinking about trying to find a reasonably priced vehicle to purchase as a back-up and general run-about car.

I perused kijiji looking for something local that might fit the bill, but didn’t see anything too hopeful. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed an ad on the bulletin board at the grocery store. It read, “2003 Jeep Liberty, good condition, $2000” and a couple of phone numbers. I had no pen on me, so I committed the numbers to memory with the intention of calling that evening. However, after arriving home, the numbers had vanished from my memory. Too bad.

A couple of days later, I went to the local lumberyard to buy a sheet of plywood. Just after it was loaded, I noticed a silver jeep with a for sale sign in the window. The numbers jogged my memory. They were the same numbers as seen on the ad in the grocery store. I looked around for someone to ask about the jeep, but everyone was busy with customers, so I departed with the intention of returning in a day or two to find out to whom it belonged. A couple of days later, the jeep sort of forgotten due to so many other things on my mind, I was filling a gas can at the local gas station. I looked up and there was the Jeep parked behind my van, waiting for its turn at the pump. There was a young guy at the wheel. Someone was chatting with him about whether he would be playing fiddle at some local event that weekend. Hmmm… THE Jeep, and it was owned by a fiddler. Interesting.

I walked back to ask about the jeep, then went inside to pay for the gas purchase. I moved the van up alongside the Jeep over on one side of the parking lot. We talked for a few minutes. Me asking a few questions and the young fellow producing a wad of parts invoices to show me what he had fixed on the jeep since buying it a little over a year ago. He wanted to buy a full size truck now. I gave the jeep a quick looking over — under the hood, looked inside and sat on the seat to see if it was comfortable. Then I said I’d probably take it — that I’d think about it a bit more overnight, but that I’d probably be down to the lumberyard to put a deposit on it the next morning. We shook hands on the deal and departed. I did return the next morning to put a couple of hundred bucks down, and left instructions for him to deliver it to my place in about a week — after my yard was less jammed full of roofing company vehicles (the roof was being replaced that week). It was all pretty casual.

Thursday morning came and I dropped by the lumberyard to give the young fellow the all clear to deliver the Jeep the following evening. I went to a music jam that evening. The next day, while I was out and about and driving home along the highway that runs by my place, there was a huge bang from the front end of my dependable van. It swerved crazily as I tried to get it stopped without crashing in the ditch. Finally, it came to a halt. I sat at the wheel regrouping my thoughts. I looked up to see a man jogging quickly toward me. He called, “Are you okay?! I heard a huge bang from up at my house. Sounded like something terrible happened.”

I climbed down out of the van and we walked around to the passenger side. Indeed, something bad did happen. The passenger side front wheel was twisted around into a crazy angle and the van was lying sort of canted over in a huge rut dug into the shoulder of the road. I knew at a glance that it must have been a broken tie rod end or control arm.

The van was off the road enough that it was in a relatively safe spot. The man from up the road ran back to his house and called a tow truck. When he returned, he and I and an unknown but very nice woman who had immediately stopped to help, got my canoe unlashed from the roof of the van and carried it up the road to the man’s house. He offered me some apple juice while we waited for the tow truck. He asked if I would like anything removed from the van and offered to drive me and my stuff home, then backed his van up where we could remove several heavy pails of plaster, a couple of big pails of water, and a grocery order. Then the tow truck showed up. Unfortunately, the van’s size and the kind of damage would require a ramp truck, so the tow truck driver put some pylons around to make the van more visible. He said to me, “It’s all looked after now. I want you to get that worried look off your face. I’ll take care of the rest.” The tow truck departed and my newly acquired friendly neighbour drove me and all my stuff the 3 or so miles home to my place, helped me unload, then drove off after telling me not to worry about my canoe — it would be safe in his yard until I could come by and pick it up.

An hour or so later, the Jeep was delivered by the young fellow. He signed off all the papers on it and I handed him the cash for the Jeep. I couldn’t do anything about getting the licensing done until after the weekend, so the Jeep sat in the yard for three days. The next morning, I thought I should try it out — after all, I hadn’t even driven it around. I backed it around the front yard and it seemed okay.

After the weekend, a fellow widowed friend drove me to Digby to get insurance and a licence for the Jeep. I had made some phone calls ahead of time, so the whole process went very smoothly. We returned home, me with licence plate in hand. She departed and I stuck the plate on in readiness for driving to a kitchen jam at the arts centre that evening.

The Jeep and I have had a couple of days to get to know each other. Sure, it has a bunch of little things wrong with it. Yesterday, I epoxied the brackets for the rear lift glass shocks back into place. There will be other things to take care of, but basically, the little Jeep seems pretty decent for two grand. I’m happy. I drove it out to the garage that’s going to work on the van — if it can be repaired. A very nice mechanic who everyone says is the best and also a good, straight, honest guy – thinks the van can be repaired and that the damage probably isn’t as bad as it looks. I told him to take his time. I have my little Jeep now… Serendipity, that is.

This morning, I picked up a bottle of Gaspereau Valley wine and dropped by at the helpful neighbour’s house to pick up my canoe. He came up from working in the field out back. We tied the canoe up top on the jeep. He even found a good piece of hardwood to make a cross-bar for the roof rack. We had a good chat while we secured the canoe in place. As we finished, I presented him with the bottle of wine. He wished me luck and, once again, I thanked him as I drove off for home.

Serendipity. Not just with regard to the timely arrival of the Jeep, but with the van not crashing worse than it did, or in a really bad location. And for finding a good garage with a good mechanic and tow truck driver. And for all the wonderful help of a neighbour whom I’ve never met before. And a friend to drive me to the licence office to get the Jeep’s plates. All is reasonably well — in a summer that has been a little more stressful than it should have been.

I think Serendipity is a good name for this Jeep. And it wears its canoe hat very well. And Sage and Shelby seems to like lying in the shadow that it casts out on the grassy lawn.

Written by bev wigney on August 15th, 2014

12 Responses to 'serendipity and good neighbours'

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  1. Always hard when a vehicle needs work but as you said very serendipitous how this all went together. I’d say– nice things come together for nice people. Of course, I know it’s not always that simple– but nice when it is 🙂

    Rain Trueax

    15 Aug 14 at 4:52 pm

  2. Such a great story of serendipity! Glad it all worked out so well. I’m looking forward to reading of your future adventures in this new jeep.

    robin andrea

    15 Aug 14 at 4:54 pm

  3. I’m glad to hear it worked out, Bev, but especially glad you were uninjured. Serendipity is a wonderful thing…makes the world seem just a little brighter.


    15 Aug 14 at 5:01 pm

  4. I love this Bev.
    And, I got teared up at this: “It’s all looked after now. I want you to get that worried look off your face. I’ll take care of the rest.”
    So many times, this is exactly what I need to hear.


    15 Aug 14 at 5:17 pm

  5. Rain – Yes, it is nice! Also so cool to meet some wonderful people!

    robin – Really, considering what happened, it couldn’t have worked out better. The canoe fits so well on the jeep that future adventures seem certain.

    John – It was a pretty scary incident. Fortunately, the van and I have a lot of history together, so I think that improved the odds of coming to a halt without either of us getting too badly injured!

    megan – I practically got teared up when he said that too me. I know how I must look when things go wrong. Nice when someone recognizes that look and says just the right thing.

    bev wigney

    15 Aug 14 at 5:33 pm

  6. Wonderful story. Cool van! Gosh! I wish we had neighbors like this. It’s very touching. I guess this answers my story about whether or not you still canoe. Where do you do that? I’m still unclear (or it has leaked out of my sieve-like memory) exactly what the body of water you live next to is. Is it a lake, a freshwater stream or a piece of the ocean sticking it’s tentacles inland?


    17 Aug 14 at 11:55 am

  7. Joan – Yes, I do still canoe. There are a lot of lakes, rivers and streams that are perfect for canoeing. In fact, this area is particularly known for being one of the best places for paddling in the maritimes. The stream alongside my place is too rocky and shallow for the canoe, but a couple of miles upstream on the same river and there are wonderful areas of stillwater to explore.

    Mark – It was amazing that this whole thing worked out as it did. I would have been in quite a predicament had I not already begun to make arrangements to buy the jeep. Everyone was also so helpful. THanks about the house. It’s coming along. Still so much to do, but it’s coming together more and more with each passing summer!

    Leslie – It sure was scary, but the nice part was that I got to meet a new and very kind neighbour!

    bev wigney

    17 Aug 14 at 9:19 pm

  8. Isn’t it cool when so many things come together like that? You must be living right.

    Also, I didn’t get a chance to comment on the previous post. Your house is really turning out nice. I get the feeling that it’s becoming a magical place.


    17 Aug 14 at 7:28 pm

  9. Wow – scary but worked out so nicely – serendipitously even! Always lovely when people are so kind.


    17 Aug 14 at 7:53 pm

  10. Somehow my blogger dashboard didn’t let me know that you had posted this on August 15. When you commented somewhere else, I clicked on your link and found this post a while back but haven’t been able to respond until now.

    It’s fascinating how we are suddenly moved to do this or that and how unforeseen consequences unfold subsequently. Your story is a fine example of that process, and it gives me a good sense of the genuine kindness and generosity of some of the people in the community where you live. It’s good to know that although we may live alone at times, we are not alone at all.

    Good to see the dogs in their splendid good spirits, and I love the way the canoe wears its hat (-:


    2 Sep 14 at 4:52 pm

  11. I meant the car (-:


    2 Sep 14 at 4:53 pm

  12. Hi am — There was a problem with this blog awhile back and I had to change the settings so that it uses (or maybe doesn’t use) permalinks. That may have something to do with why the post didn’t show up on your dashboard. By the way, I’m way behind on reading everyone’s blogs this summer — sorry I have not been by recently. It’s just been a difficult summer and I have not been online very much.
    Yes, I agree about how odd it is that we do one thing or another and how that often begins a cascade of other actions or reactions. I find it happening quite often and I usually just sort of let it play out. I can’t really explain why I like to let serendipity rule, but I just do. Oddly, so many times, it works out quite well. I also trust my intuition about people and if someone seems trustworthy to me — on an intuitive level — I often run with that too. That’s actually easy for me to do here in this community, which as you have commented above, really is a place of genuine kindness. I have found that to be true ever since my first summer spent here. I love the place and the people and have rarely been disappointed. Although I live alone, I am surrounded by good people.
    The dogs have had a great summer here. The three of us have just been enjoying each other’s company. I’ve enjoyed having them by my side almost every moment of every day.

    Bev Wigney

    2 Sep 14 at 8:24 pm

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