So before I move on, there's a piece of part I that I failed to mention. So I'm mentioning it now.
It's true, Tuesday morning I spoke with my mom and cried on my way into Athens (highly unusual, its the wee hours of the morn when I'm driving to work), and I had left a few minutes early so that I would have time to stop by church on the way to work...the part that I left out was that I was also pulled over.
For you locals, you know how 129 between I-85 and Athens always has cops on it? How Arcade is known to be a speed trap? Yeah, I know that too. I mean really, I drive the road every.single.day. It's not like it should've been a surprise.
Here's how it happened. I pulled onto 129, still talking to my mom, sobbing, and I had a one track mind - get to the church. We spoke a few minutes more and then I hung up. Right as I passed a state trooper sitting on the side of the road. I watched in my rear view mirror as he pulled out after me. I went ahead and moved to the right lane and began slowing down. It was inevitable. And you know how normally when a cop pulls out behind you you get that sinking feeling of dread - your heart starts to race and your arms feel tingly? I didn't have any of that.
He flashed the blues, I pulled over, he walked up to the window, I rolled it down (still sobbing). He took one look at me (his flashlight in hand, remember, it's still dark) and said "Everything ok here, ma'am?"
Um, no, everything is not alright. *wailing* I've had a really bad morning. My church burned down. It's the first morning of CRCT and I have 5th graders at home so I had to keep it together and I work in an elementary school and I just need to cry right now and get to work. *deep breath, big gulping sobs*
"Can you get your license out for me so that I know who I'm talking to?"
*sniff, sniff* Yes. *racking deep breath*
"Pendley? Is that how you say that?"
*weep* Yeeeeessssss. *deep breath*
"You still live in Jefferson?"
"Your church in Jefferson?"
*sobbing* Nooooooo. I go to Oconee Street in Athens. *sniff sniff*
"Oh, yeah, I saw that on the news. Terrible. Was anyone hurt? Which school do you work at?"
*hiccup, deep breath* No one was hurt. I work at Gaines on the east side. *sobbing*
And the conversation went on and on and on. He went back to his car and ran my license and after a million years he came back to the window.
"Today I just gonna give you a warning. However, I need you to slow down AND I need you to calm down before you pull back out onto the road. Let's just keep it all in perspective - it's just a test and it's just a building."
I kid you not, I started crying all over. Such a man. Didn't he know that I already knew that it was just a building and just a test? But that I'm a woman and so I thought that (just a building, just a test) and then made the executive decision to cry about it anyway just to let it out and feel a little better?
So he made me sit there, taking some deep breaths, before I could pull back out.
And then I finished my drive into Athens. And I stopped by the church with the firemen still out front. I cried a whole lot more. And I was late to work.
Thanks for telling this with us about your church. I appreciate this.
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