LAST MINUTE MUSINGS: You should always carry a spare

Thursday, November 7, 2019

There have been a few changes in the Jernagan family this week.

The first, and most visible, is that my wife Nicole is no longer in the employ of Tri-County Bank & Trust. After nine years, she was ready to not have to drive from Greencastle to Roachdale and back each day.

I know many of you have much more extensive commutes, but Nicole is happy to be working right here in town, just up Franklin Street from me and a short drive from either Deer Meadow or Tzouanakis, should she need to be there for the kids.

She’s also excited at the new things she’ll learn as a loan closer for Aames Title.

You should all be seeing a lot more of her around town. Her hope is that she’ll soon come to be known by her given name and no longer as “Jared’s wife.”

The second, much less visible, change is my learning of what so far appears to be a mild health concern. Pending the results of some tests, the doctor believes life should continue as normal.

Regardless, it has me thinking more about my health and what’s becoming a laundry list of ailments as I approach my 40th year on this earth. I’m committed to taking better care of myself -- eating better, exercising more, working less, stressing less.

My hope is that, in a much different sense, you’ll be seeing a lot less of me around town.

The third change, and one that will be the jumping off point for our narrative, is that we’ve started listening to Air1 90.5 FM.

Now, I haven’t entirely given up my personal favorite, 92.3 WTTS, and I still recommend our hometown 94.3 WREB, particularly for local sports. (Doug Wokoun and Jarred Duff have made quite a broadcast team this year, haven’t they?)

But we’ve been trying to make some changes in our lives from a spiritual perspective — more scripture reading, more prayer — and when Nicole discovered the station earlier this week, I thought it sounded like a good idea.

And so, Thursday morning as we were taking the kids to school (a task in which Nicole can now take part), the morning show on Air1 was asking callers to answer the following: “Forty percent of Americans say they carry a spare one of these in their cars.”

My first thought was tires, but that’s a frightening thought, isn’t it? You should all be carrying a functional spare tire in your car. No exceptions.

When I still owned my dad’s old pickup, I once spent about 10 months driving on the spare (not a donut, mind you) while the flat one sat in our driveway. Any trip out of town terrified me that I would get another flat. It just didn’t scare me enough to drop a couple hundred bucks on a new tire.

I’m not made of money you know.

Other suggestions came in, both from hosts Dan and Michelle and from callers. Michelle suggested a spare snack. While that might be wise for a diabetic, Dan laughed at her for the suggestion. He was probably right to do so.

I wondered if it might be some sort of tool. A winter coat (at least this time of year)? Other warm things?

Nicole suggested perhaps an umbrella. I wasn’t sure how that would be “extra.”

I knew Nicole was interested in hearing the right answer, which was unfortunate because she was out of the car, taking Hannah into class when the response finally came. And I forgot to tell her the correct answer when she returned to the car.

But we’ll return to that.

In the meantime, Nicole was enjoying her fourth day on the new job. She was on her way to take part in a closing in Brazil when a small mishap befell her.

We were on the phone (hands-free for her, of course) enjoying a nice conversation, when suddenly she let out a sound of either major annoyance or mild horror.

I soon learned that she had been opening a Coke and spilled it all over herself and the interior of our Chevrolet Equinox.

It was immediately clear that she couldn’t continue to a professional meeting like this, soaked as she was in sticky, caramel-colored liquid.

And so she turned around and headed for Greencastle. I also began the short trek across town to do whatever I could to get her in the door and back out quickly, lest she miss her first closing.

It was actually a pretty impressive operation, her in our bathroom making a quick wardrobe change, while I was outside wiping down the seat, console and steering wheel of the Chevrolet, covering the seat with a dry towel for the trip.

I came back in as she was arriving back in the living room, ready to make a fast — though not too fast ­— trip to Brazil.

As I saw her to the door with a kiss, a thought occurred to me I had to share.

“Honey, you know that trivia question on the radio this morning? The one you never heard the answer to?”

“Yee-aah?” she said, unsure of why her childish husband chose this very moment to bring this up.

“It was pants,” I said with a grin. “Forty percent of Americans carry an extra pair of pants.”

As she closed the door, she did not return my grin.