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Certain Man’s Wife, the
Traffic Cop and a Winter Day  

 

                Now it
came to pass that January 13th, the year of our Lord, 2009, was a most
scrambling and bustling and busy day for Certain Man’s Wife.  There were many things to be accomplished and
much was joyfully anticipated, but the day was fraught with unexpected events,
as well.

                It all
started well enough.  There was a young
friend, Dinah, who had begotten a beautiful, healthy, fat baby son, and Friend
Tammy, with her usual benevolence, had discussed with CMW about a baby
shower.  Of course, there is nothing more
pleasant than a baby shower, and it was with delight that CMW planned to
attend.  In talking with Tammy, CMW
discovered that it would be nice to have some help with meals, so she told
Friend Tammy that she would be glad to bring a casserole or something for the
family for supper.  All of these things
were discussed on the Saturday before the Tuesday when the shower was to occur.

As the plans were being finalized,
actually the afternoon before the shower, she said to Friend Tammy, “By the
way, is there anything you need yet for the refreshments?  I’d be glad to he – – “  She actually stopped, mid-sentence, because
she suddenly remembered that she had, in fact, already promised to help with
the refreshments.  Something
specific.  Chicken Salad Sandwiches.  On homemade bread. 

“Oh, that’s right,” she said, trying to sound
confident.  “I am bringing something, am
I not?”

“That’s right,” said Friend Tammy,
brightly.  “I am counting on you for the
chicken salad sandwiches.  Does it still
suit?”

“Yes, it does.  I had actually forgotten about it, so I am
glad you reminded me.  I have some
chicken in the fridge that I can cook up, there’s bread in the freezer, and it
won’t take long to make the chicken salad. 
I will bring it.”  And CMW flew
off the phone, got her two chickens into the pot and got them started cooking
rather speedily.  There were various
activities that evening, and CMW even spent a happy time at the home of Eldest
Son and his Sweet Wife.  When she came
home, there was some laundry to finish and kitchen to straighten and the
chicken to take off the bones.  Certain
Man, still feeling lousy after having two wisdom teeth taken out, went to bed
early.  And CMW, with no one to bother
her, sped through the rest of the laundry and then looked at the two chickens
waiting to be deboned. 

                “Oh,
well,” she thought wearily.  “What gets
done tonight won’t have to be done tomorrow morning.”   So the midnight hour found her carefully
deboning the chicken and getting it into the fridge.  There would be time in the morning to mix up
the casserole and make the chicken salad and sandwiches.  It was a short night, but CMW felt pretty
good, in spite of it all when she got up on Tuesday morning.  And she flew around, getting Our Girl Audrey
and Blind Linda ready for Center and out the door.  Eldest Daughter showed up with the two little
boys she babysits for who had come for hot chocolate at “Aunt Mary’s house,”  and she cheerfully pitched in and
helped.  She wasn’t planning on attending
the shower, but as the time passed, she decided that it was something that she
could, after all, accomplish, so she made arrangements to go along, taking
Carson and Nevin with her.  CMW’s Sweet
Mama was also going, and she showed up at the house about a half hour early,
and lent her ready hand to making sandwiches, helping with the casserole and it
was with a great flurry that everything got done and loaded into the trusty minivan
for transport.

And so they all set forth.  Eldest Daughter and her two sweet little
fellows in the one car, and CMW and her Sweet Mama, following.  And the way to Sandy Bend Road is very long,
and very twisted and hard to remember sometimes.  The little caravan did much conversing with
each other over the cell phones, and one of the vehicles missed a turn, but
eventually they arrived at the place where they were to hide the cars.  There was a bitter wind blowing, and there
was a large yellow dog that frightened the two little boys, but eventually,
everyone got themselves across the frozen garden and into the warm house and
there waited for Dinah and her little family to return from a doctor’s
appointment.

Eventually, Dinah and her happy, bib-overalled
husband, their precocious three year old, and their precious 4-day old, put in
their appearance.  Dinah was properly
surprised and there was a sweet, sweet little baby shower for her and her baby,
with many thoughtful and useful gifts and a nice array of refreshments and
wonderful punch.  CMW and her Sweet Mama
didn’t tarry around too long, as they didn’t want to overly tire the new
mother, and they had hoped to make a trip into Sam’s Club for some much needed
supplies since they were almost to Dover anyhow.

So off to Sam’s Club they
went.  It was so painfully cold that they
sat in the warmth of the car for a while, building up the courage to sally
forth.  Eventually, they hustled in,
rounded up their groceries and paper products and such, checked out, went back
out into the bitter cold, loaded the car and headed for home.  The heater was bravely putting out heat, and
CMW was feeling pretty pleased with the way things had gone.  That morning, she had requested Youngest
Daughter to be home for Our Girl Audrey’s bus, because she was pretty certain
that they would not be home for Audrey’s 
2:45 arrival from Center.  This
suited Youngest Daughter’s schedule just fine, and she was quite willing to do
it.  However, as CMW made her way down
through the traffic of Dover, she realized that she should easily be home before
Audrey needed to get off the bus.  As
soon as she was out on the freeway, she decided to call Youngest Daughter and
tell her that she needn’t worry about being available for the bus.

And while she was talking on her
cell phone, she was blithely going down the road (it isn’t against the law in
Delaware) and approaching a construction area near the airbase.  So wrapped up was she in the conversation
that she never noticed any speed limit signs, though she knew she was
approaching the place where the speed limit was lowered.  She suddenly became aware of a Dover city
police car, parked in plain view, directly across from the gravel pit that is
along this well traveled highway.  She
thought momentarily that maybe she was going too fast, but looked down and did
not necessarily think so.  Certain Man
repeatedly tells her that there is a “cushion” and it seemed to her that she
was within the “cushion”.

Now let it be known that Certain
Man’s Wife is not a fast driver, as a rule. 
She has been driving almost 39 years and in that entire time, she has
gotten one (1!!!) speeding ticket. 
This is not to say that she hasn’t deserved them, but she usually tries
to keep her speed down, as she does not like to pay fines, and she doesn’t like
points on her license, with the accompanying high insurance bills.   But there is another compelling reason.  She really doesn’t think it is a good
testimony for Christians to be breaking the law.  It seems especially incongruous for a
Mennonite woman (who is dressed like a traditional Mennonite) to be sitting
beside the road in the company of the traffic cop.  (She
has even secretly applauded her sister in law who has been known to reach over
and forcibly remove her husband’s black hat from his head when he is barreling
down the road at an excessive speed.)
So, it really isn’t her intent to get
herself into situations where she warrants the attention of the enforcer of the
speed limit.

However, it became obvious that the
(negative) attention of this particular traffic cop had been obtained, and as
she passed him, he pulled out behind her with an expert, fluid motion.  There was nowhere for him to pull her off
because of traffic barriers that began just as she passed him, so he followed
her for quite a distance before turning on his lights.  The entire way, CMW was making helpless
comments to her Sweet Mama.

“Oh, no!  I believe he is after me!”

“You weren’t really going that
fast, were you?”   Asked the ever
supportive Sweet Mama.

“Well, I didn’t think I was into
the lower speed zone yet, but maybe I was . . . He hasn’t turned on his lights
yet . . .maybe he is just going down here to turn around or something . . .I
probably was going too fast . . . course I couldn’t pull off here, anyhow. . .I
hope he isn’t going to pull me off. . .oh, dear!  He is! 
There go the lights!”

“Oh, Mary Ann!  He isn’t!”

“Well, it certainly looks like he
is!”

Certain Man’s Wife obediently
pulled off the road and stopped.  She flipped
the power switch that put down her window and waited.  Suddenly, someone knocked on the window of
the passenger’s side.  Surprised, CMW looked
up to see that the policeman was on the passenger side of the car.  There have been some unfortunate accidents
lately on Delaware roads involving people along the road helping people, and
apparently, he wasn’t going to take any chances.  Certain Man’s Wife flipped the button to
lower the window where he was standing.

“Ma’am, I’m Trooper B from City of
Dover police force.  You were speeding in
a construction area.  I clocked you going
61 in a 45 mile zone.  I need your
license, registration and insurance cards, please.”

CMW fumbled in her purse and
retrieved her license, she opened the glove compartment and found the necessary
papers.  “I’m sorry, sir.  I didn’t realize that I was into the reduced
speed zone yet.”

“It was clearly marked a mile north
of where I clocked you.”

This was hard for CMW to believe,
but she decided that she would say no more. 
The policeman took her license, and insurance cards.  “You don’t need to give me your registration,”
he said, “I don’t need it.”  (Apparently
he had already verified that)  “I will be
back.  This won’t take long.”  His breath made white clouds in the cold,
cold air.  His manner was professional,
and he wasn’t surly.  He headed back to
his car.  CMW wondered grimly why those
big blue and red lights had to be so bright and noticeable.  Cars were going by in great numbers.  She was mortified beyond words.

“You should probably put up your
window” said Sweet Mama, sympathetically. 

CMW had neglected to close it when
the policeman had appeared at the opposite side.  Funny, she hadn’t even noticed how cold she
was.  She put the window up, and waited
pensively for the return of the policeman. 
Suddenly she thought, “I really ought to pray about this.”

And so, she bowed her head and
silently entreated the Lord for a small miracle.  “Lord Jesus, I know that I deserve to have
been caught.  I really wasn’t paying
attention, and I know that I’ve been getting careless.  Would you please grant me favor in the eyes
of this policeman?  Could you cause him
to have mercy on me?  I know that I don’t
deserve it, and I have no excuse, so all I can pray for is mercy.”

And then they waited.  And waited. 
And waited.  Sweet Mama was quietly
sympathetic.  CMW kept an eye on the
activity in the car behind her, and there didn’t seem to be much.

“He said it wouldn’t be long,” she
said to Sweet Mama, hopefully, “but it does seem to be taking a long time.”  Aha!  Suddenly
the door of the police car opened and the officer came up to the passenger side
window of the minivan.

“Mrs. Yutzy,” he said kindly, “I’ve
done some checking and it seems that you haven’t had a traffic ticket for a
very long time.  I think your last one
was 1998 or ’88.” 

“I’ve only ever had one in my whole
life,” said CMW quietly.

“Well, I’m going to do some things
here to help you out.  For one thing, I’m
going to completely ignore the fact that you were in a construction zone.  Fines are double in construction zone, so we
are going to not even mention that. 
Secondly, you were 16 miles over, but I’m going to write you down for
the very lowest amount that I can — 5 miles over the speed limit.  And since you haven’t had a ticket in such a
long time, you can go into court, and receive Probation Before Judgment
which means that you pay your fine, but if you don’t get any more citations in
the next six months, the whole thing comes off and there are no points, no
record of the incident at all.”

“That’s very kind of you, sir.  I really am sorry.  I do try to be careful, and I appreciate your
efforts on my behalf.”

“You’re quite welcome,” he said
cheerfully.  He went on to give CMW a few
more instructions concerning the contacting of the court, reminded her to be
careful and bid her adieu.

CMW’s Sweet Mama closed the window
while CMW perused the ticket.  It looked
harmless enough, but CMW was quite saddened by it.  Soberly, she pulled the minivan out into the
line of traffic and headed for Milford.

“I’m so sorry that happened to you,”
said Sweet Mama as they started down the road.

“Yes, well –“ Said CMW,  “I’m kinda’ sorry myself!”

“You didn’t deserve that!” said
Sweet Mama heatedly.  “You worked so hard
this morning, and took all that food.  It
doesn’t seem fair!”

CMW looked at this beautiful lady
that she calls “Mama” and felt that familiar rush of love for her.  She can always be counted on to take CMW’s
part in a fracas.  She is intensely
loyal, fiercely protective and always wants what’s best for her children.  “Ah, Mama,” she said, and had to laugh.  “I did deserve it!  When you think about it, I was given a great
mercy today.  I really did deserve that
ticket.  I was going too fast.  And he could have thrown the book at me.  The fine for being five miles over the speed
limit is $60.00.  If you think in terms
of $60.00 for each five mile increment, and realize that I was actually into
the fourth increment, I could have had a basic fine of $240.00 and if he hadn’t
taken off the construction zone business, my fine could have been close to
$500.00.  Plus, I shudder to think how
many points that would have been.  But to
be given Probation Before Judgment on top of everything else – all I can
say is that I have been given a GREAT MERCY today.”

“You’re right,” said Sweet Mama,
ruefully.  “But I sure wish he had
decided not to give a ticket at all. 
That’s the way I would have liked it.”

“Yes, well.  Me, too.” Sighed CMW.

And the trusty old minivan brought
them safely home, through another speed trap and on to the inviting shelter of
the big old farmhouse at Shady Acres.  How
comforting and wonderful it was to be home to the fire and the welcoming warmth
and light. 

 CMW has had herself quite an interesting few days
since then.  It’s funny how fast everyone
else out there is driving.  It would be
easy to glare and mutter at the disappearing taillights as people go roaring
around her, but a saying of her Grandma’s keeps her heart in check.

“Others may.  You cannot.” She would say when her children
wanted to do something that she felt was not in their best interest.  CMW doesn’t know what God is saying to all
those other people out there who are speeding and getting away with it.  But it does seem that His words to her heart
are just that:   “Others may.  You cannot!”  

And that is the news from Shady
Acres, where Certain Man’s gentle love and good humor were not rocked in the
least bit by this ripple on the sea of life, where Certain Man’s Wife’s eye on
the speedometer is a bit more steady, and where all the children are unduly
amused by their Momma’s misfortune.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “

  1. You told a very upsetting story in a most amusing way! It was a blessing the patrolman reduced your fine! Praise God. A very entertaining tale but it must have been quite nerve wracking at the time.

  2. Awesome post CMW errrr….lead foot.  =D

  3. Great post! I enjoyed your story. I want to read it to my husband sometime,he’ll get a kick out of it!

  4. Great story! A nice way to put a not so nice situation!

  5. I think I enjoyed this story so much because I could see myself in your situation – and I have never received a traffic ticket (although I have deserved one at times).  You are a great storyteller.

  6. Great story, Mary Ann! And great mercy, praise God! The only time I got stopped for speeding, I said to the officer, “Well, you have the privilege of being the first one to stop me for speeding in my 21 years of driving.” He said, “Well, I’ll just give you a warning.” Believe me, I’ll try that line again if I ever need it. Only the number will be a lot higher than 21, ha, ha!!

  7. By the way – how’s the knee this morning?

  8. Great story and a good reminder of our testimony – I, who have quite a lead foot, needed it!  Thanks for the exhortation……

  9. no cushions I learned that the hard way.

  10. That is such a sinking feeling to look in the rearview mirror and see flashing lights. He must have seen the gentleness in your face and took pity upon you. It could have been so much more costly.

  11. Did my mother ever tell you the story where she was pulled over the one time ever for speeding?  She was so flabbergasted she snapped at the officer if he’d checked his equipment that morning.  Well according to MN law you had to calibrate your radar gun before your shift, he hadn’t, so mom got off scot free much to the amusement of her kids. LOL

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