close call. Well, maybe more than close this time, but he knew that with this third encounter they’d be okay. His mother believed that things happened in threes. With a deep sigh, he said, “Timing really is everything. We were very lucky. I guess it wasn’t our time.” They drove on. Perhaps in shock, or maybe in denial of what had just happened, they just drove on. Nancy wondered what had happened. With an all-wheel-drive car this shouldn’t have happened, she thought. She told Gary that she had felt a little fishtailing earlier in the drive that had made her uneasy. Once over the Delaware River, they stopped at an antique place they hadn’t been to in months. It was a huge rambling place that had gone downhill in the last several years. But they usually managed to find something of value among what Nancy liked to call “the next load of land-fill.” That Friday morning was no exception. They found an Art Deco Noritake cake plate that was quite undervalued. Pleased with their just purchased treasure, they set out for their next stop along the way as if nothing had happened. While Gary was paying for the item, Nancy had called the car dealership they had been using for many years. Mitch, the service manager, told Nancy that it shouldn’t have happened. He said that he wanted to see the car right away. So, they scuttled their plans and headed straight to the dealership about forty-five minutes away. Gary mentioned that the last time he had the car serviced, Mitch said it might be a good idea to change the tires. He wondered if that could have been the problem. After having inspected the car, Mitch concluded that indeed it was the tires. “43,000 miles is a lot to get on an original set of tires,” he said. With all four tires replaced, Gary and Nancy headed directly to Carlton. After unpacking and settling in, Gary made the drinks and hors d’oevres which was the routine while Nancy began the preparations for dinner; that done, they settled themselves in the TV room to watch the local evening news and then the NPR News Hour while having their appetizers and much-needed drinks after the day’s ordeal. During the past two weeks, Nancy had been feeling down, for no reason she could point to. Gary assumed it might have something to do with her birthday that was just three weeks away. Nancy was looking at 60. She denied it. Rather she attributed her low-grade depression to the usual causes: feeling abused and unappreciated at work and feeling unimportant to some of her friends. One of the things contributing to Nancy’s mood was the dissolution of the connection with her friend Michelle who also had a house in Carlton. In fact, Nancy had been very influential in getting Michelle to buy a house near them. But over the years the friendship had waned. It wasn’t moribund, but it certainly lacked the vibrancy it had when Michelle had been married. Nevertheless, every now and then Michelle would suggest they all get together and go out to dinner or attend a local cultural event at the Arts Center. That weekend she called to say that
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