A Man Who Thought He Understood Directions

There’s some property near my house that has a big ol’ solid steel gate across the road that accesses the place. Just behind the gate, there’s a bridge that crosses a gully with some pretty icky water in it and snakes, too, of course.  Yesterday this fellow got himself stuck behind that gate. He had been to the little store on the corner and someone told him about a short-cut back to where he came from, he saw the gate open, and thought that was it. It wasn’t. He was on the wrong road to begin with.

As he was walking down the road on the property, he saw a truck driver who works for the man who owns the place and was told he could be sued for trespassing. (I know- it’s file charges, not sue, but that’s what he said.) He told the truck driver he was just taking a short-cut. I saw him on his way back there and saw the truck come out and knew he was most likely going to have to wade the gully to get out. (My sons’ friend, Skates, slipped and fell backwards into that nasty water once, and he was sort of stunned by the experience…was very quiet for hours afterwards.)

A bit later after the truck left I heard pounding and knew this fellow had realized his predicament. (The truck driver locked the gate on his way out.) By the time I got down to the gate he had already tried scooting underneath and had decided to try to coming over the top. He was contending with barbed wire and the spikes on top of the gate.  And he was, oh, a good 12 feet from the ground. He said it was awful high up and I told him his feet weren’t as far from the ground as his head was so that shaves a few feet off the distance. He wasn’t encouraged to make a leap for it. He told me he thought that road was a short-cut but it came to a dead end. I wondered why he had to go over a half mile to a dead end to figure out he wasn’t shaving off a block and a half. I told him there wasn’t anything but swamp between where had been and where he was trying to go and that was no short-cut.

He was afraid he was going to get his pants hung going over the top. (He was wearing long denim shorts and a big t-shirt that kept getting in his way.) I was afraid he would lose his future generations on top of that gate. I asked about getting over to the hinge and putting his foot over and onto that but there was too much barbed wire on that end. He was getting scratched by what he was already contending with in the middle. I told him I could call the owner but then he’d have to tangle with him over being on his property, or he could wade the gully. He didn’t like either of those options. I told him he didn’t want to be on “Funniest Home Videos” and he looked at me with big eyes and agreed. He asked if I had a truck and my truck wasn’t at home so I said I didn’t. I told him another of the owner’s workers may come back before dark but maybe not. He climbed down and said he was going to take his pants off and I could hear him undoing his belt so I told him I was going on home. He obviously didn’t want to be left alone because before I could take two steps he was coming back up to the top of the gate. I don’t know what comfort it was to have a small 52 year old lady to talk to about the mess he was in, but he sure didn’t want me to leave!

My aunt who lives nearby, called my dad, who lives a bit further up the road, and he came down there. He got his truck and a ladder. We set the ladder up in the back of the truck and held it steady while the man climbed over onto it. I don’t remember the last time a stranger was so happy he hugged me. He hugged us both and shook our hands and God blessed us and even told us his name.

Well, God bless Michael, who will probably never go for another short-cut in his life.