Thunder. Just like this time a week ago when my husband left for a bike ride up Old San Antonio Road. I knew I’d need to rescue him. A storm was coming, complete with four separate warnings from the National Weather Service.

He took off. I sat on the front porch to wait for him to text me that he needed a rescue.

It hit all at once. The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees, the wind picked up and blew over a basketball hoop, and the sky turned dark. Hail was surely on its way. I jumped in my son’s truck and headed out.

The truck is named Bessie, and it belonged to my mother-in-law. She had no more use for a ’93 Ford Ranger, so she gave it to us to give to our son when he turns 16 next month. He named the vehicle.

The text came while I was driving. My husband told me to pick him up at the bridge, but we couldn’t agree on the definition of that simple word. I picked the wrong one. Finally, sick of waiting, I drove on and found him about a mile further up the road. It was beginning to rain. Within minutes, it was hailing.

There’s no cover on Old San Antonio. I drove Bessie on, slowly.

When we got to town, my husband said, “We should pull into Sonic and wait it out.”

“No,” I said.

I couldn’t see a thing. It was still hailing. Almost no one was on the road.

Sonic was up ahead.

“We really should pull in,” my husband said.

“I just want to get home,” I said. Home was another three miles.

Down Main. Right on Elk. Left on Travis. Right on Llano, which was flooding, even in the center. A huge truck sprayed me, and I couldn’t see.

Left on Driftwood. Almost home. And I forgot that every street in the neighborhood drains into Driftwood. It’s a river all the way up to the truck’s tires.

Right on Ridgewood and just feet from the stop sign to my own beloved Crestwood, Bessie died.

“The engine’s flooded. Ease her on over to the curb,” my husband said.

It kept raining. For days. It hasn’t rained like this since 2007. It cleared on Saturday and Sunday. Gorgeous.

We had Bessie towed Monday, and the mechanic said it’s over. We’d have to replace the engine, and even a rebuilt one costs many times more than the truck.

And then we had to tell our son.

My husband said it was all his fault for taking that bike ride, which, incidentally, is exactly what I thought last Monday night. But I don’t think that anymore. All I can think is that I’m the stubborn idiot who would not pull into Sonic. I think of all the happy mommy bloggers and how they haven’t murdered their only son’s only truck.

I picked my son up from the place where he works out after working out at school.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

“Nothing,” I lied.

“Is it me?”


He ran through every person and situation I could possibly be mad at. I tried to change the subject. He wouldn’t budge. I pulled into the driveway. Safe inside, I admitted it.

“I killed Bessie,” I said.

“I know. It’s OK.”

I started to cry.

He walked away.

I stopped—fast—and followed after him. “No, really. It’s my fault. I’m sorry. We can’t fix it, but we’ll get you something.”

“It’s OK, Mom.” He reached out to hug me, and he was totally sweaty in his Lehigh University T-shirt, and I let him.

“I’m really, really sorry,” I said.

“You know what this means,” he said.


He smiled. “Leverage.”


  1. It was my fault.

  2. Leverage? Doggone it, Megan. You have yourself a smart one. And a kind one. 🙂

    I take those sweaty hugs too. I think sometimes they are the best ones.

    My condolences on Bessie.

  3. I once broke a lovely, glass teapot Doug brought all the way from Germany. It survived a transatlantic flight but not my clumsy fingers. It was his souvenir from a month in northern Germany to remind himself of how much he enjoyed their daily afternoon tea times. I felt awful but he did forgive me. He was 16 or 17 at the time. Scott has passed a milestone and is growing up, after all. What a wonderful Mother’s Day present!

  4. Sweet story, Megan.

    And rain at last … Sounded more like a deluge though.

  5. Good story 🙂

  6. Great storytelling!

    and what if…. it’s nobody’s fault and Bessie was just ready to go?

    🙂 You’re son is pretty smart though. Leverage is always good! 🙂

    thanks for the smile this morning.

  7. I totally would have pulled into Sonic…but only for the excuse to have a milkshake.

    Love the last line — it made me smile.

  8. This one made me cry. I was there with you every turn Megan. I could see Ian saying the same thing and humbling me with his grace, then wit.

  9. pastordt says

    I cannot possibly put into words how much I LOVE THIS STORY. You had me every inch, every turn, every flooded street. And that son of yours? I’m thinking he may be related to you. :>) Thanks for this, Megan. Love, love, love it.

  10. Oh, I just loved this. Thanks for sharing. I totally relate and that’s exactly how my kid would react most likely and I have no idea how I got to be so lucky. (I know they’d react that way b/c I’ve done my share of mom screw ups. And they tend to take care of me….sigh.)

  11. RIP, Bessie.

  12. charitysingleton says

    Leverage – That may well be the favorite word of teenagers. It’s right next to the politicians’ favorite, “political capital.” I love this story. I think it was just Bessie’s time.

  13. OH I JUST LOVED THAT LAST, PERFECT WORD! Oh, how it speaks volumes of the kind of person he is (grace, foresight, shrewdness, engrepreneur? sense of humor?), and the atmosphere you’ve created around him. This totally made my day.

  14. I absolutely love this! If only my children maintain that sense of humor when they grow older. I love the line about the happy mommy bloggers. Great post! Glad to have discovered you.