I have accepted Jimmy Young as my own personal savior. Here's why.

Me and Wayne were cruising through Mississippi, trying to make time to Tallahassee, to the phallic capital of Florida, and some conch fritters, when we had what we thought was a blowout. It wasn't.

The tires were dandy, but after eight years and 169 thousand miles, my transmission wasn't. We were halfway from Graceland to Tallahassee, halfway to the state border from Tupelo, halfway through a heat wave that set the 1 pm temperature in the upper nineties, halfway through my water bottle and nowhere near a phone. Wayne suggested we set out on foot through the Deep South in hopes of flagging down a phone somewhere between here and Alabama. I looked at him, looked at the water, looked at my car, looked at the sun, and told them all in no uncertain terms what I thought of that idea. Wayne, miffed although repentant at possibly being responsible for breaking my car, replied with "Well, what do you suggest we do?"

And that was when Jimmy Young came to our rescue.

Down over the hill he came, white Camaro with blue Shelby stripes blazing in the sunlight. We two road dusty and worn souls watched as the car slid over next to ours, cautious and yet strangely reassured that this was one of those friendly strangers that touch your life once in a while if you're lucky. "Name's Jimmy Young," he drawled to us. "We saw you pass by a while back. Looks like you could use a hand." I refused to question the "we", as he was in the car alone. He was still coming to rescue me. I always imagined my prince wouldn't be quite the garden variety, anyway.

After a bit of discussion, Jimmy took Wayne and my AAA card to the nearest phone some 15 miles away with the promise of actually coming back and not leaving me stranded. Apparently, in the car, Jimmy informed Wayne (who looks all of 16 by the way) that he was an ex con, "but not a perv. Just a guy who's been there, you know?" When they returned to me forty minutes later, still sitting by the side of the road and now considerably more dusty, they were both drinking beer. "There'd better be one of those for me!" I said crossly, my water long gone. One appeared, cool and in my hand, as if by magic. "I would have offered you one before, but you two didn't look like the drinkin' kind." said Jimmy. My hero. Bud Light. The best beer I have ever had in my life. Jimmy warned us that we were in a dry county and would be going to jail if caught with these. I drank fast. Wayne asked how far it was to buy beer. Jimmy said, "Round trip, about 40 miles".
"You must buy a lot then." I replied, savoring the dregs of my now empty bottle.
"Nope, just drive a lot." said my savior, Jimmy Young.

When the tow arrived he discussed with the driver, whom he apparently knew, the best place to take us, and where the best hotels would be. We should have paid better attention to that, but that's another story. JImmy also offered us a spot in his double wide with his old lady, but we turned him down knowing he lived a good distance from Tupelo, where my car would be, and were still, sadly, a little afraid of this stranger with candy. As we hopped into the air conditioned tow truck and watched Jimmy Young drive off into the distance I almost changed my mind and wished we had gone with him.

But heroes have to leave sometime.

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