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042513_90BrainerdTunnelRI took this today on my way to East Brainerd after work. This is one of the Brainerd Tunnels which go under Missionary Ridge – a Civil War battle site. Anyway, I got stuck in this tunnel years ago on a Friday night around midnight. I was on my way home from working late at the paper when my car just died – inside the tunnel – which runs up hill. Great. I did have a cell phone, but no one I knew was close enough to help me.

Then I saw a city bus coming toward me at a high rate of speed. I thought, “Great. This is where I die.” It veered into the other lane at the last minute. It had been a close one.

Who to call? The last person I saw on my way out of the building was a sports writer. So I called him.

Dick: “Hello?”

Me: “Hey, would you mind coming to get me? My car is stuck in the middle of the Brainerd Tunnels.”

Dick: “WHERE????”

Me: “Inside the Brainerd Tunnels.”

Dick: “*&^%! I’m on my way!”

Meanwhile, the next car to come through stops right behind me and the person gets out of the car and comes toward me. Great. I just knew it was going to be a big scary serial killer. I had nowhere to go and no choice but to roll down my window.

Thankfully it was a very nice woman who offered to push me out of the tunnel. Why she decided to help me is beyond me – except for the fact she might have been one of those angels you hear about who help people out of life-threatening situations and then disappear.

At any rate, she got back into her car and pushed me out and then drove on her way. I coasted to the right side of the road so Dick could see me. I had no way of getting in touch with him to tell him I had been pushed out. So! I had to stand by the side of my car in hopes of flagging him down.

And then I saw him. Not Dick, but a pedestrian walking on the other side of the street.

Me: “Please don’t notice me! PLEASE don’t notice me!…..Crap. He sees me!”

Stranger: “Having car trouble?”

Me: “Yes, but I have someone coming to pick me up.”

This man had on no shirt; jeans that rode very low on his hips, and well, no underwear.

Stranger: “I can push your car down to the gas station if you want me to.”

Me: I am thinking, “I wouldn’t stop at that gas station during the day. People get shot there. I certainly don’t want to be stranded there at night.” But I just said, “No thank you. I have someone coming to pick me up. It’s nice of you to offer, though.” Smile. Please don’t hurt me.

Stranger: “Suit yourself…..Hey! Do you have any money you could spare?”

I knew it! Me: “No, I’m very sorry. I don’t have any cash, but thanks for offering to help me. I really appreciate it!” Smile. Please don’t rob me……

Thankfully he walks off and through the tunnels toward town. I breathe a sigh of relief. Where is Dick!?

Finally, Dick comes riding through the tunnel and sees me. When he pulls over, he rolls down the window and says: “Like my Woodie?” And of course he was referring to his new/old station wagon, but I was a little taken aback considering my evening. So I stuttered out, “Why….YES! I do. It is very nice.”

He drove me home and I had the car towed the next day, but I always think about that night whenever I drive through those tunnels – thankful I was watched over that night.

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