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Empowerment

October 15, 2003

It was about 10:30 p.m. the other night. My workplace had been locked up like Ft. Knox at 10:15, and the parking lot was vacant and dark. And I was looking at a very flat tire on my car. I donít have a cell phone, of course, and, even if I did, I donít have AAA and couldnít afford a tow truck just to fix a flat. So I did what I have done many times in the past. I plugged my little air compressor into the cigarette lighter and filled it myself. Half an hour later, I was headed home.

Now, granted, I have a history of getting slow leaks in my tires, and Iíve already worn out one portable air compressor. I have filled tires more times than I could count. I wouldnít travel without an air compressor in my trunk any more than I would travel without jumper cables.

And letís talk about jumper cables for a moment. I am not comfortable using jumper cables myself, but I have learned that I can always find somebody who is. Itís just that nobody else seems to carry them. My jumper cables have started many a car besides my own.

So the next morning I was hanging around before work and I suddenly remembered that tire. I went out to check, and, sure enough, it was flat again. Only this time I could see that there was a shredded patch. It was a miracle I had made it home the night before! It was pretty obvious that airing it up again wasnít going to do a whole lot of good.

No biggie. I know how to change a tire.

Granted, I had never had to change a tire before. The couple times I started to, I had been unable to wrestle the air wrenched bolts loose, and eventually a strong man came to my aid and changed it for me. But I know how to change a tire. And these bolts were miraculously not frozen. SoÖ I changed the tire. And I scrubbed up and even made it to work on time.

And here I am, running on a donut spare for a day or two, till my day off when I can get to a tire store. Iím going to have them put on two new tires, and Iím going to take the good one home for a full-size spare. And the next time I get out to the farm, Iím going to have Dad break loose the bolts which Iím sure they will have put on with an air wrench, just in case I need to change a tire again. (There are still a few things that itís easier for others to do!)

I have three sisters, and any one of us is perfectly capable of changing a tire. Now, our parents never taught us how to change a tire. We may have grown up on a farm, but we had absolutely nothing to do with the vehicles. But we were raised with commonsense and the ability to reason things out. We were raised to be sensible. When we went out on our own, it was only sensible to learn how to change a tire. Whether we read a manual, watched somebody else, or just reasoned it out on our own, we all know how to change a tire.

And, you know what? I like knowing how to change a tire!