My morning began early with having to drive my daughter to
campus because she is having
car trouble. After dropping her off, I went to the downtown University of Tennessee Knoxville church where we had left her vehicle overnight. Neither the fob nor the spare key will open the doors and I
try every combination of button pushing and key twisting I can think of. I finally
call Nissan and they are puzzled also. I concede momentary defeat and call AAA
who responds promptly.
The tow truck driver is especially energetic and friendly and makes what could be an awkward encounter easy. He has to do some extra work because we cannot get into the car to release the emergency brake. We are both engaged in figuring out a way to get in through the trunk (which the fob does open by the way) when we are approached by a young man who looks to be in his 20’s. He is dressed nicely and appears clean and rested.
I presume we are targeted for being in a church parking lot because he leads with “I need ya’ll to pray for me.” I turn my attention to him when he says, “I am trying to make a final decision.” I immediately wonder if he means FINAL-final and brace myself for a pastoral intervention. He then explains he is trying to decide among the many different options and offers he has. So I am put at ease that he is likely talking about employment opportunities. I have noticed through the years that many panhandlers have “just got a job” and need gas money, etc. I begin to expect the extended hand at this point. This is where it gets kind of strange.
“You know, it’s hard out here for an
East Tennessee country boy
with the way the world is now. Especially for a distant cousin of Heath Shular
and you know what that means.” Um no, I really don’t get the relevance
here. If you do not know, Heath was a popular quarterback for the UT football
team back in the early 90’s. The fellow has lost me now and I wish him well
with his decision and resume helping the tow truck driver. “Are you broken down?” he asks. Despite
the fact that I am freezing my tail off and dealing with a frustrating
situation before having my first cup of coffee, I still manage to refrain from
responding, “Ya think?”
At this point he slowly wanders off to presumably try his pitch on some of the people heading into the Chocolate Festival at the convention center. The AAA guys laughs, “Well, he was pretty weird, wasn’t he?” He never openly asked for anything but the prayer, so that is what I have given him. He may be a little mentally unstable, so I will ask ya’ll to pray for Heath Shular’s long lost cousin, too.