(Dear Readers. I thought my Simplicity stories had ended, but I gift this one last one. Enjoy.)
The Green Bay Packers were playing the Cleveland Browns on this wintery Sunday afternoon. Don and I were returning from a family Christmas gathering, traveling along Interstate 90, listening to the game on the radio. As a Packer fan, every play relayed by the sportscaster was one disappointment, one frustration after another. We had endured mile after mile of road weary listening. As I exited the interstate into our village, the Packers scored a touchdown and the game took an exciting turn.
“They might pull this off,” my hopeful voice shared with Don who doesn’t share my excitement over professional football. Turning to look at him, he indulged me with a nod and pointed ahead. The on-coming lane had a stopped vehicle with flashing blue and red lights.
“Is that about me?” I asked Don with confused thoughts. If this were about me, wouldn’t the flashing lights be behind the car? Again, Don pointed his finger, indicating that I should pull onto the side road. Totally baffled, I felt my thoughts scrabbling to make sense of this odd occurrence. There was the game. Then the flashing lights. What happened in-between? I followed Don’s finger and parked the car on the side road.
“Was I speeding?” I admit to being unaware of my driving as the game had captured my full attention. Certainly, I had done nothing wrong. Or had I?
Slipping my driver’s license from my wallet, I was ready for a stern face and the news it brought. I rolled down the window.
“Had you on radar. Twelve miles over the limit. Was there a reason for your speeding?” the state patrolman inquired in a soft spoken but intentional kind of way.
“Yes,” I replied full of confidence in what I was about to say and with curiosity as to how well it would be received. “The Packers just scored. We have been listening to this frustrating game since La Crosse. I guess my enthusiasm is to blame. That’s all I can say.”
An ever so slight smile came across his face. The kind that is both amused, yet trying to keep composure as a serious on-duty professional. “You are right. They did just score,” he responded letting me know that he, too, had been listening to the game. Politely, he asked for my driver’s license and proof of insurance.
Except that there was.
He noticed that the insurance card I had with me was for our other car, not the one we were driving. As he returned to his vehicle with my driver’s license, we dove into the papers and manuals in the chaotic glove box. Not there.
Shortly he returned with an official looking paper.
“Did you find it?”
“We did not. It’s Sunday, but we could try our insurance company to verify information.”
“Not necessary. I have written you a warning for both your unreasonable and imprudent speed, and operating a motor vehicle without proof of insurance.”
I took a deep grateful sigh. Lucky me.
Then he added.
“Have you moved recently?”
“Yes, just last month,” I replied in a matter of fact tone. The old address on my driver’s license did not match the new address I updated on-line. Is this what he was talking about? Little did I know what would come next.
“My wife and I went to your open house when it was on the market. It had a name, your house. What did you call it?”
“Simplicity,” Don and I responded in unison. Unbelievable! Were we really having a conversation about our house with a state patrolman who pulled us over for speeding after a Packer touchdown? Curiosity and amusement started to take over my jumbled mind, releasing the panic of being caught as a speeding criminal. The worry lines on my forehead were turning into a smile on my face. This conversation had taken a turn for the better.
“Yes, Simplicity. That’s right.” He changed his gaze, previously focused on me, to include Don as well. “We loved your house. Especially the porches. We began dreaming of how we would live there. You guys have created a beautiful home. It is exactly what we will be looking for in a few years. Would have put in an offer that day if the timing had been right.”
We thanked him for his kind words. Were we friends, I wondered, now that we shared a mutual admiration in a house named Simplicity?
Before he left, his gaze returned to me.
“In the future, when the Packers are playing and you are driving, be mindful of your enthusiasm.” This time there was a smile on his face.
Don and I sat alone, without moving, without talking, taking in what had happened in the last few minutes. A touchdown celebration was jarred into reality by flashing lights, followed by the awareness that our proof of insurance wasn’t where we thought it was, resulting in a story about Simplicity.
As I turned the car around for the final leg home, more mindful of a respectable speed on the familiar village roads, I turned to Don and spoke in a way that felt like an exclamation point, like a conqueror of impossible odds.
“What a story! This would have been totally worth it even if we were given a ticket.”
“A great story and totally NOT worth a ticket,” was his most practical reply.
But most certainly a story that deserves a P. S. on Simplicity’s blog.