THE engine on my car snorted, coughed and died.
I knew my wife was glaring at me. Of course, I wasn’t looking at her. I was intently studying the road dead ahead. It had suddenly become very interesting now that I couldn’t get there.
The springs on the seat beside me squawked and then came her voice:
“Humph! Well! Out of gas again! Nobody’s fault but your own. You knew very well you should have filled up at that last service station!”
The road ahead was still interesting. I hated to turn my head and face those accusing, justifiably angry eyes.
“Well, you might as well start walking back and get some gas,” the long-suffering voice continued. “And I’ll have to sit here and suffer in the heat and wait. Guess our trip is ruined. We’ll be late to Aunt Maggie’s dinner and the whole family will be mad at us again. Oh, Fred, why didn’t you watch the gauge?”
All the way back along that hot, dusty road I was mentally kicking myself. I had known the gas was getting low. I had known the station was there. I had known that I should stop and fill up. But I had been thinking of something else. I figured I could make it on to the next town.
Well, I hadn’t made it and here we were. I swore I’d never do it again. From now on I’d watch the gauge. From now on I’d remember it is just as easy to fill the top half as the bottom half of the tank. I wouldn’t take chances.
Through a crazy fog that was split with red splinters of fire I heard the quiet voice of my wife: “Yes, Joe, he’s drunk again. I only wish I knew what caused it this time. He had been getting along so well lately. Why, he hadn’t even felt that he needed to take the time for all those AA meetings anymore. Why did it happen again?”
I clutched my sodden pillow convulsively. Through that battered brain and retching remorse of mine, I knew the answer.
I had let the “tank” run dry.
I hadn’t meant to quit AA. Just seemed like there was so darn much else to do. Anyway, I figured that if I missed the meeting this week I could go next. The trouble was there had been too many “this” weeks and no “next.”
So the tank was dry. I had ruined another “trip.” And now I had to start the long, weary walk back to fill up again.
But, as I prepared to start, I prayed:
“Let me remember that even a ‘Power greater than ourselves’ can’t keep the tank full if we don’t stop by the station regularly.”