Saturday morning I opened the curtains at my mom’s house to let the beautiful autum sunshine flow in. That’s when I saw the Mourning Dove. He was alone, which was unusual; there are two that live in the hedges near the birches in the front yard.
What was also unusual was that he was sitting on the driveway, all puffed up, and completely exposed. He wasn’t near a flowering pot (which is empty now in preparation for winter) nor was he near the bench or the foliage behind it.
And, he was staring intently at the garage door.
I looked up Mourning Dove as a spiritual animal just because. I’m not sure how much weight I assign to these things, but something made me wonder what spiritual meaning this bird has, so I typed it in while sipping coffee.
The dove was staring at the garage. My dad’s car, his pride and joy but my car now, was parked in that garage.
Some people believe a Mourning Dove is a messenger from a loved one, perhaps someone who has departed your life in some way. I kind of rejected that idea initially, but for just a moment, I thought of my dad.
Fast forward to a lengthy day of driving. First I drove 30 minutes east to pick up the girl child. She was working at her bakery, so I stopped in and had her make me a latte.
Next, I went to the house, allowed Tucker to cover me with slobber, made my working girl some lunch and off we went to Niagara Falls. She had a ringette game there, her first of the season.
Originally, we planned an hour and 15 minutes to get there. The GPS however had other plans, indicating it would take at least an hour and 44 min. Two hours in the car to play an hour of ringette… Sigh.
But it was fine. Sonja napped a little, and we chatted a little, and we marveled at the beautiful colour in the October landscape as we entered wine country. We got to the arena in time (hour prior to the game) yada yada. Afterwards, she was hungry and craved junk food, so I caved and let her have McDonalds.
Then came the long trip back into the city.
We managed to drive along the highway at the limit until we got to the suburbs at which point the blue line on the GPS turned red. Traffic was blocked, stop and go, congested for the remaining 50km.
“I’m gonna pull off,” I told Sonja. “We’ll drive along the Lakeshore.”
Highway speeds here in Canada are typically are 100km/hour, but most people drive up to 120. Lakeshore isn’t a highway and travels through towns, so there are stop signs and traffic lights, but it’s a much more scenic drive, especially this time of year with the colourful trees. It was getting dark though, but the visual consumption was just amazing. A pleasant distraction much preferred over full highway driving.
We moved at 60km/hr most of the way and made decent time. We were both glad we didn’t stay in the highway chaos.
As we got closer to the city I was looking forward to exiting the car. I’d been driving over four hours today and getting fed up. All I had to eat was an almond pastry at Sonja’s shop and fries at the rink. Ugh. I thought maybe some fresh veggies, or some fruit and cheese might be nice to have, maybe with a glass of wine? 🍷
We were about 5km from home when a car ahead of me slowed down to make a turn. He made a slow, awkward turn and when he finally got out of my way I pressed on my gas pedal to speed up and keep going when suddenly, my car wasn’t speeding up. In fact, the pedal wasn’t giving gas to the engine. I looked down to check if I somehow accidentally switched to neutral, but the stick was still in drive.
“Mom, what are you doing?” Sonja said as she looked up from her phone.
“Something’s wrong with the car,” I told her and managed to inch around the corner into a side street.
I turned on the blinking four-way lights and turned off the car. After waiting a while I turned it back on and the whole car sputtered and died.
We just sat there and stared at the dashboard.
And this is where I was treated to a most fascinating transformation: my freshly-baked 15-year-old girl kicked into action as if she was an old pro at this sort of thing. 😀
This girl… 🥰
First, I dug out my licence, CAA roadside assistance card and insurance paperwork. Next, I was digging around looking for my reading glasses because I’m old, it was dark and there was no light.
While I was doing that Sonja said “I’m calling dad.” At the exact same time she said that her dad texted me he was done hockey and was going to stick around for a drink with the team and coaches.
The timing was uncanny; it was as if the planets aligned. Meaning, hockey was over, not just beginning, and he was available to talk with… That was most helpful and reassuring. I have basic knowledge about cars but he’s a pilot and much more in the knowhow about mechanical car things.
Anyway, while I was fiddling around with my bag Sonja spoke into her phone.
“Car’s dead.” She said.
Then she repeated it several more time. At that time I worried he misunderstood something and made her put him on speakerphone.
“Nobody’s dead,” I reassured him. “But the Saturn died. We’re going to call CAA.”
The Saturn is a 2002, 20-year-old car but had very low mileage and no rust when my dad owned it. He took very good care of it and after he became too ill to drive, I bought it off him. This was over two years ago, and although we had to sink some money into it, it served me well with all the schlepping kids to rinks and trips to haul groceries.
Sonja meanwhile took my card and called CAA, but of course the automated voice told us there would be a delay, yada yada, we all know how these things work. We tried to get to a live voice but it didn’t connect. So Sonja, before I had a chance to think, started an online request on an app in her phone. I mean, I didn’t tell her to do that but would have, but she was much faster and, of course, technologically comfortable. She got an almost instant connection which told her the next available tow truck would be by in 40 minutes.
We sat back and looked at each other.
“I have to pee,” I said, because of course I did. 🙄
Meanwhile the communication between Sonja and her dad continued. He was 20 minutes away at his hockey rink and drove home, dropped the boy and his gear, and drove over to Sonja and my location. He got to us about ten minutes before the tow truck arrived, which ended up coming by earlier than the original estimated time of 40 minutes.
The planets were really aligning. 🪐
Another thing: less than two minutes from our location was a Tim Hortons, which is a popular coffee shop in Canada and has, of course, restrooms. 💃
By this time, my phone’s battery was almost dead. Lucky I had Sonja with me, but what’s more, I had remembered to bring a battery bank with me, one I bought months ago. These battery banks are chargeable at home and mine provides up to 18 hours of juice. I don’t always bring it with me, but I did that day and now counted my lucky stars for having been properly prepared. 😀
See how good I’m getting at noticing the positives among a bunch of negative events? ☺️
By the time the tow truck arrived I was back at my car’s side.
The three of us watched him load the Saturn onto a flat bed truck and it was at that moment when the Mourning Dove popped into my head.
Did my dad’s spirit come by to say goodbye to his car that morning?
You think what you will, but I think this is a beautiful thought.
Thank you for reading my post. 💟