Friday, January 9, 2009

Found On Road Dead

I actually drive a Chevrolet. This past Sunday, Chris, Alex and I went on a long camping trip to Big Bend - the second such trip in recent weeks. It's winter now and getting cold in the mountains - a perfect time of year to camp, to hike and to avoid venomous snakes. And so there we were, driving down I-10 past the City of Ozona and onto Ft. Stockton. I had about a third of a tank of gas and had 70  miles to go to the next gas station. Well - the state of the economy as it is, it seems that famous Fina station with the ginormous Texas flag out there in the middle of nowhere has gone out of business - only the blue star part of the flag left flying on the flagpole. I felt that worrisome feeling in my gut as I slowed down to 70 - hoping to stretch out what gas was left to the next small town of Bakersfield where I knew there was an Exxon and Chevron - the only two buildings in the city. Ooops - ran out of gas on I-10 and in the middle of nowhere and eight miles short of gas. No one would stop to help - all those silly Californian's and Minnesotans and whatnot escaping the cold, running dope, illegal aliens and such. I called the SO there in Pecos County - they had already heard about us. Apparently, ever since the Fina went out of business, the Deputy in that area always carries extra gas with him. Anyhow - along comes this little old rancher - a mexican fellow named Herman. He pulls up in his little truck - with his rifle in the front seat, dead deer head in the bed with assorted ranch stuff - old fittings, wrenches, cans, ropes, suitcase etc. "Where ya'll going" he says. Were going to Big Bend to go camping I respond in return. He smiles as if familiar with the place and says, "we'll, ya'll don't have too far to go." I explained that we had run out of gas. "It's about eight miles to the gas station" he says , "that's a long way to push." He thought for a moment and then moved a few things around in the back of his truck, pulling out a tow rope. "I'll tow you down the service road real slow, you hear. "  He tied off the rope, got into his truck and slowly pulled us off the interstate. Before long we were turning into the gas station - a one pump lane that was occupied. I was certainly thankful and appreciative of his kindness. We weren't quite up to the pump yet but close enough for us to push it in the rest of the way. Alex, our wayward charge, was with me when I leaned into Herman's window and handed him a hundred dollar bill. He smiled and leaned back a bit and said, "Ya'll don't owe me nothing" refusing my gesture and then motioned us away from his window. "Ya'll step back now so I can pull you up to the pump." I turned to Alex and said, now that right there is a good man - and don't you every forget what he just did for us and don't you ever forget his name. Herman Fernandez was his name -70ish and living 17 miles from Bakersfield, Pecos County, Texas. We arrived at Big Bend right on time, as we planned, without delay - because of Herman's timely good deed. 

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