The degree to which I’ve gotten my straight-laced Mormon mother to accept my Paganism is that whenever anything mechanical in her house breaks or goes haywire, she blames Hermes.
Yesterday, my mom and I set off for a doctor’s appointment, (I’m legally blind and can’t drive, so I’m lucky enough to always be chauffeured by family and friends). When she went to start the car… nothing. No engine roar. No ticking, No thudding. No last gasp. Nothing.
No big deal.
We went back in the house and called AAA. While waiting for AAA however, she said something akin to, “Why is Hermes messing with us? Get the hell out of our lives Hermes.”
It tickled me, but I warned her anyway, “Now you’ve done it. Now you’ve really done it.”
The AAA man came out, diagnosed the problem as a dead battery, and gave us a jump. The car died again in the driveway. He gave us another jump and told us he would follow us to Sears or wherever so we could get a new battery. We made it maybe a mile or two from the house before the battery died again and we ended up stalled out on the side of an on-ramp.
The AAA guy came around the car and gave us a third jump, but we all agreed it would be better to get a tow truck to take us into the dealer because clearly there was something more complicated afoot than the battery and nobody wanted the car to die going 60mph on the freeway.
The AAA man had another call to go to, but he told us before he left that he was going to put in a call for a tow and ask them to rush because we were stuck in such a precarious spot.
An hour went by. No tow truck.
I called AAA and a lady told me that she saw the call and would have dispatch call me back as to their ETA.
Another hour went by. No tow truck. No phone call.
I called AAA again and the young man who answered said there never was any call for a tow truck. There was the initial call we made that morning, but no one had ever actually put in for the tow. He got our information and sent someone out rush rush and, by golly, the tow truck actually showed up.
Mind you, dead battery and all, the air conditioner in the car worked the entire two hours we waited. I also just happened to have a tiny bottle of sunscreen in my purse so I didn’t roast through the car windows. It felt akin to the miracle of lights.
When the tow truck got there however, we had a problem. There was no way, no how my elderly mother was going to make it up into the tow truck. She tried mightily. The tow driver, who was one of the most mellow people I have ever met, moved the tow truck down an embankment to make it lower for her to step up into. He brought out wood blocks to try to make stairs for her. Still, no luck.
Because we had to wait that two hours however, my bestie was home from work. She lives five minutes away from where we were stranded. I called on her to come pick us up, as my mother would be much better able to get into her car, and my friend was there in a blink. We got in her car and headed to the dealer with the tow truck not too far behind.
From there, everything went smooth as silk. They kept the car overnight but have a shuttle to bring us back there in the morning, my friend took us home, and we had a nice dinner out along the way.
As we were driving home, my mom complained about Hermes again. Why does he have to break things?
I asked her why it was always his fault when things broke, but always “Heavenly Father’s” credit when they got fixed.
She said, “That’s because Heavenly Father is a better god.”
My friend immediately put her hand on the dashboard and said, “Hermes, you know I’m not the one who said that, right? I love you. I think you’re great.”
I told my mom that just because Hermes is the god of transportation and travel doesn’t mean he’s responsible for making the car immortal. If the battery had to die, which it did because truly it was time, we should thank him for it being under the best possible circumstances. No one was hurt. The car is easily fixable. We had to wait in relative comfort. The only thing we really lost was time, and we’ve all got plenty of that.
She didn’t have an answer for that.
When I got my friend alone later I chuckled and said, “Personally, I just think Hermes is happy to be part of the conversation.”
And I believe that. I believe he did take care of us as I am his ever-devoted devotee, and I think he finds my mom’s acknowledgement of him hilarious. It’s like being one of the family, even if it has to be the red-headed stepchild.