Commentary

Snow: 'I've wrecked the car!' is a litmus test of love

September 29, 2012 

The sermon was from Corinthians: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

The Rev. Ned Hill, pastor at Edenton Street United Methodist, told a touching story that illustrated, in my opinion, one of the true tests of love.

A man sitting at an intersection was sideswiped by another car. He walked to the other car and found a young woman in tears.

“My husband is going to kill me!” she wept. “We have just gotten married, and he gave me this car as a wedding present and I have wrecked it. I have never had an accident before, and I don’t know what to do.”

The man reassured her that everything would be OK, but he would need her insurance information and registration. When she had no idea where they were, the man suggested the glove compartment.

There they were. Attached to the envelope was a note that read, “Honey, in case of an accident, remember that I love you and not the car.”

How you react when your spouse or child has wrecked the car is a true litmus test of love, especially for those who dote on their vehicles.

So many of us have experienced the telephone call, often accompanied by tears, “I’ve wrecked the car!”

You know the questions. First, “Are you hurt?” followed by “Whose fault was it?” and then “How much damage?”

How you respond to the answers has to do with love.

I may have related earlier the anecdote told to me by the late N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Susie Sharp. She and her colleague, William Bobbitt, were rear-ended by a student on Oberlin Road. They walked with him to a nearby service station where he called his parents.

“Mama,” the judges overheard him say mournfully, “I’ve wrecked the car. And that’s not all. I ran into a Supreme Court judge. In fact, Mama, I ran into TWO Supreme Court judges.”

We hope the lad’s mom was as understanding and loving as the husband in Ned Hill’s example of love.

Profile in courage

Here today and gone tomorrow. That’s the story of the hummingbirds that didn’t bother to say goodbye or even “Thank you very much” for all the sweet water my wife served them during the summer.

Like members of the top 1 percent, some have taken up winter quarters in Florida, while others continued farther south.

Birdwatchers, did you notice they practically gobbled their meals a couple of weeks before departure? Ornithologists say hummingbirds leave weighing almost twice their normal three grams.

The hummers are not lacking in courage, traveling alone rather than in flocks, braving the elements, flying 500 miles nonstop over water to Mexico.

We’re advised to keep our feeders out, unfilled, until their return.

‘Mockingbird’ banned

A news release from the American Library Association reminds us that this is Banned Book Week in America.

I am surprised that Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winner “To Kill a Mockingbird” is No. 10 on the banned list this year. If I were the Grand Guru of Public Instruction, I’d make that beautiful, sensitive and important book required reading for junior or senior high students.

Every time I think of the book, I’m reminded of an incident when my wife was teaching oral interpretation of literature at N.C. State.

It was customary for her to have students write critiques of videotaped speeches by former students.

One night as she was reading them, I heard her chuckling. She handed me the paper of a student who, apparently having neither seen nor read the book, innocently headed it “Tequila Mockingbird.”

Bad show

Bob Daniels of Wake Forest sends along this nonpartisan comment on our name-calling presidential election:

“Today’s politics reminds me of Judy Collins’ recording of ‘Send in the Clowns.’ In the last line she sings, ‘Don’t bother, they’re already here.’ ”

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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