Monday, November 9, 2009

The Chariot Ride

We named our car “Larry” partly due to a dear departed friend, partly echoing a dear departed relative and finally because my husband contends that St Lawrence is the patron saint of good parking places.

Yesterday was such a lovely bright blue day, the “Chamber of Commerce” weather that Northern California enjoys so often. We determined to take a drive. The hubs drove because Larry is a manual shift car.

While I’m confident of my abilities in many areas, driving with a stick shift and clutch is not among them. The last time I tried this feat was in the 70’s with my first (now ex) husband’s sports car. I’m short so I had to grip the steering wheel tightly to stay in contact with the pedals. Every time I shifted gears, I had to pull on the steering wheel to get my foot to the clutch. So each time, I crossed into oncoming traffic. Both the sports car and I survived the ordeal but only barely. Oh, and, of course, the ex got the car in the settlement.

“Where do you want to go?” Did I tell you I have the BEST husband?? He is. So a false start or two happened in my life but he is Mr COMPLETELY RIGHT (except politics, of course, but that’s right for me too).

“Ancient Ways in Oakland!” Ancient Ways is a great little metaphysical shop on Telegraph in Oakland with an extensive variety of cool stuff and a hub of readings and learning. Check it out This was my first time going there. I expected it to be wonderful since Thalassa, founder of BATS and Daughters of Divination, holds classes there. I wasn’t disappointed.

A pleasant ride, a couple of Mary Greer books and the latest edition of Mountain Astrologer later, I was in line for checkout when my husband called my cell phone from the car. Larry would not start.

Like our cats and dog, Larry is a “rescue” car. We like to say we’re an all rescue family. We bought Larry from a priest friend of ours. With that kind of background, it seemed only fitting to name the car for a saint. And now was the time we could use a little divine intervention.

Purchases in hand, I ran to the car, hoping the hubs had not blown his own gasket. The tow truck was there thanks to the miracle of AAA along with our angel, Rafael. OK, strictly speaking, he was the tow truck driver Rafael. But he was our miracle of the moment.

Rafael, as it turns out, is a “foodie” along with being a tow truck driver, cute as a bug and very upbeat. Once Larry was firmly lashed to the truck and we were underway, Rafael pointed out the vegan restaurant where his friend is a chef who is most assuredly NOT vegan. We traded secret ingredients in recipes where I cited a truly inspired Oaxacan seasoning for chicken we found in Chino one afternoon a few years back. We discussed in depth the accidental discovery of penicillin and its effect on World History.

Hardly a triumphal return home, our ride nonetheless reminded me of the Chariot.

We could have focused on the inconvenience and bad timing of Larry’s breakdown on a lovely Sunday afternoon or the anticipation of the unexpected expense of repair. But instead, the energy of the Chariot prevailed. Our “horsepower” could have run in opposite directions, dissolving into chaos, anger, fear, blame and quarrels. I imagine our angel Rafael has the opportunity to listen to a lot of that.

Our Golden Chariot rolled into our town with its three chatty passengers and one wounded late model used car named for the patron saint of good parking places. We parted in good company and wished each other well.

The message of the Chariot is that we can choose happiness in the face of adversity just as easily as we can choose to let life’s unexpected moments defeat us. Today, we chose victory, to keep the day sunny and enjoyed the ride.

Best wishes!


  1. Larry has made a "start"-ling recovery after his starter was replaced. We are now diligently looking for the patron saint of just-in-time-funds for unexpected expenses! Thanks for asking!