Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in the Aug. 3, 2016, issue of The Erwin Record.

By Connie Denney

It was a dark and stormy night. …. Well, it did rain, if that counts!

That dark-and-stormy-night part could help set the mood, though. You see, I was leaving downtown Erwin, starting up Bogart Hill when it happened. The first sign I had that something was wrong came with the profound thud of the right front portion of the car hitting the pavement. A tire had blown.

I had been in Erwin a short time when I learned the name of the portion of roadway identified as “Bogart Hill.” Just in case you sit elsewhere as you read this and are not familiar with local road names, let me enlighten you. It is an area with few options. If you are off the road, you are into a guardrail or beyond; or, you are against the side of a mountain. Even if you could move your car, there’s no place to go. I was in the road. 

This is among the times for which I am extremely grateful for the instant communication of the cell phone age. My 911 call brought help right away. Next, a roadside assistance call, next a call ahead to deal with what I knew would be a late arrival. If it were going to happen, it’s good it was not a bit farther ahead, as cell phone service could have been iffy.

The two officers who came to my aid kept the traffic moving and me out of harm’s way. They were professional and polite. Rain came. They did not complain, not even when it took the wrecker a while to get there. I do remember one of them looking out toward Erwin as the moon’s outline became visible – a full moon. They probably anticipated a busy night.

Yes, they were just doing their job. Yes, they face situations a lot more threatening to their health and well-being – although, standing in the road on Bogart Hill on a rainy evening is not to be taken lightly. Still, it was a big deal to me. I appreciate their work, their risks. That was months ago. With so many recent reminders of uncertain times, the certainty of help a phone call away is comforting, indeed.

Speaking of help, it is not always the result of a call for it. Here’s another local story. A friend who had to make some dietary changes asked her visitor if she could use some non-perishable food items. The visitor replied, “I’m sure I know someone who could,” although she was not sure just who that would be. On the next stop of her outing, it occurred to her to ask if that person could use the food. Feeling uncertain at first and hoping she asked delicately, she knew it was OK when she saw the softening of the other woman’s face and the beginning of tears. 

The first woman did not think she was doing anything particularly noble by offering something she did not need. The second person did not see any effort on her part. The third person just knew someone cared and was grateful. 

If you have an uplifting story, do let me know. We need them. (Email them to news@erwinrecord.net)