No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: One of those Father-in-Law Favors

Friday, my father-in-law asked if I would do something for him. He had to be out of town on a semi-emergency, but he had committed to hauling a load of food from a warehouse in Cleburne, Texas to his church in Early, Texas. The church was hosting a charity food give away on the Saturday before Easter; and a warehouse in Cleburne had donated a large supply. It just needed to be picked up and trucked to Early. It is approximately a three hour drive. Several others from the church would also be hauling.

We asked all the pertinent questions, like, did we need to bring anything besides truck and flatbed? Did we need to contact anyone, or just show up? He gave us a contact number, which we called and explained that we would be picking up the load for father-in-law because he had to be out of town. The contact person said, “Great. Thanks for your help…” and gave us the address in Cleburne. The contact person said that the items were stacked on pallets and wrapped, ready to haul. At the warehouse, the pallets would be loaded by forklift onto the flatbed, and we would be good to go.

We said, “Sounds easy enough. We’ll be there.” We showed up and backed in to the appropriate spot.

We noticed that the wrap around the pallets looked pretty flimsy. It looked more like shrink wrap from a kitchen than heavy duty wrap for hauling loads. HHmmm. The forklift driver loaded the front of the trailer with a pallet of oatmeal, followed by a very tall, double pallet of tortilla chips and finished out the load with a pallet of cookie dough on the rear of the trailer. Again, we thought, HHmmmm. Those chips were pretty light; and that shrink wrap looked pretty flimsy. We had not brought tie downs. The funny thing is, I’m usually over-prepared for things. This time, for some reason, I had embarked on this journey totally under prepared.

We looked at each other dubiously and said, “Well, let’s try it.”

We headed out.

Let’s just say, it did not go well. By the time we reached the outskirts of Cleburne, headed south on 67 toward Glen Rose, the tall pallet had shifted significantly and much of the shrink wrap around it had shredded in the wind. We stopped and got some rope and tied down the top row of boxes of chips.

We hit the road again.

Just outside of Glen Rose, the shrink wrap around the front pallet began to shred. This was a bigger problem. The boxes of oatmeal were little and would be more difficult to secure. Sarah looked in the rearview mirror just in time to see a box of oatmeal fly.

I looked for the nearest place to pull over. We topped a rise, and to our left, facing oncoming traffic, with its lights on, was a highway patrol car. “Oh, great,” Sarah said. We pulled over as another box of oatmeal rolled off the trailer and bounced across the highway. It skidded right in line with the patrol car door. We looked at each other and just had to laugh.

Traffic was heavy, so retrieving our boxes was going to be tricky. We waited and waited for the highway patrolman to turn around and pull in behind us. We just knew, for sure, that he had been told about our unsecured load, and that he was probably waiting for us. One box of oatmeal had landed in front of his car, and the other had landed in line with his car door in the lane of traffic, and drivers were having to go around it.

No action from the highway patrolman. He did not make any moves. He sat in his car, with its lights on. We could see him moving around in there, but he never saw us, it seemed. Finally, with a break in the traffic, I walked out into the lane and retrieved the troublesome box that drivers were having to go around.

With the help of another passerby, we gathered our boxes and got back on the road. We stopped at the next hardware store and secured that load enough to where it would take an act of Congress to undo. I’m surprised we didn’t get an award for most creative string art. We finally made it to Early, with the rest of the pallets intact.

The next time “Dad” says, “Hey, I have a favor to ask…”

Well…we’ll see.

 

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