By Sara Spock
I decided to move to Florida to help my sick Grandpop about 10 minutes after I arrived home from living and volunteering in South America. I wasn’t prepared give up my freedom by staying under the proverbial parental roof and Pops needed some help. Many of my Peruvian adventures involved road trips with broken down buses, gun-point searches, cement jail cells, and old ladies with roving hands. A good ole American car ride promised to be much more pedestrian.
My little red Hyundai had a new transmission and was packed to the windows with all of my prized possessions with just enough room for a small passenger, my 10 year old sister, Lauren. My Dad and brother Paul were driving point in Paul’s pick-up truck when we headed south at the crack of dawn, stopping only for food, gas, and bathroom breaks. In a previous life, I must have been a long haul trucker because I can last about 18 hours before resting. After a brief stop over with friends in Hotlanta, we were cruising down I75 when the little red car chugged, sputtered, and nearly slammed to a stop. I popped that baby into neutral and coasted down a conveniently placed exit ramp in Arabi, GA. We landed at a gas station that’s only claim to fame was “dirtiest little bathroom in Crisp County.”
Within minutes, the gas station attendant, Bobby, determined my fuel pump died and it would take about 4 hours to replace it. My dad lit up a smoke and propped himself up at the counter to shoot the breeze with Bobby and my brother while Lauren and I sat on the curb in the sun. When faced with boredom, Lauren and I often amuse ourselves by singing show tunes, country music, and old time vaudeville numbers. We were about 10 minutes into Garth Brooks' Greatest Hits, over-singing our hearts out to Unanswered Prayers when a gas station patron interrupted us. He was going to berate us for subjecting all of Crisp County to our antics, ask us to please for the love of all that is good and pure, stop torturing the dogs with our high notes and the humans with every other note. We eyed each other nervously and waited for the tirade.
Instead, he pulled out a business card. Introduced himself as a record company exec and told us to call when we were ready for a career in country music. He turned around, got into his freshly fueled BMW, and drove off into the Arabi sunset. Time raced by: my car was fixed, we were back on the road, and landed in Florida before you could say “Yeehaw!” Somewhere between Arabi and Englewood, I must have lost that business card because it was nowhere to be found when I emptied the car, my glove box, my wallet, my pockets, my gas tank, my sister’s backpack, or my luggage. I like to think maybe Zac Brown or Brad Paisley found it and went on to fame and glory. Yes, world. You can thank me and my pedestrian American road trip for discovering the next great country music act.
~Sara Spock is a Mom, Wife, Penn State Graduate, Substitute Teacher, Freelance Writer and Chocolate Addict. When she’s not inadvertently turning down multimillion dollar record deals, Sara can be found over at The Hero Complex where she tries to save the world, one. recipe. at. a. time.