Letter: A Wing and a Prayer


So I turn the corner by Little Neck Parkway and stop behind this Mazda and wait my turn for the lights. I, initially, notice nothing, then ‘something’ catches my eye.

There’s something black and flapping on top of the trunk and it appears to be caught in the rear spoiler. I look closer and it’s definitely a book (maybe an appointments book?) of some kind, because there’s a bunch of loose-leaf ‘notes’ stuck in amongst the leaves.

I made a motion to unbuckle my seatbelt …but the light changed.

We turn the corner, and now we’re on Jericho doing 30-plus. The book is still flapping away and I’m expecting it to fall off any minute …but it doesn’t. As I glance at those around me, apparently, everyone else is oblivious …obviously, caught up in their own world with thoughts probably involving ‘last minute gift items’ and impossible afternoon schedules.

I follow, we reach another set of lights …and they turn red. Without a second thought, I unbuckle my seatbelt, put the car into park, bolt out the door and make a beeline for the item. It’s a Bible.

I unwedge it as I glance at the lights (still red), and hammer my knuckle on the driver’s window. The driver (an old man in an anorak) looks back at me with fright in his eyes – until I wave the Bible to-and-fro and gesture towards the trunk lid. His demeanor immediately changes …and the window whirrs down.

‘I think you left this on the trunk lid and then completely forgot about it!’ I say, again, glancing at the traffic lights and passing it through the window to the eager hand of the priest behind the wheel.

“Oooh, thank you, thank you, thank you, God bless you!,” he uttered with an obvious expression of relief as the car(s) in front started to pull away. “Merry Christmas!” I replied, raising my eyebrows as I then ran back to my car…now, unfortunately, blocking traffic.

No one has any patience these days! Every car, even the ones on the inside lane, decided to honk their horns, for being ‘inconvenienced.’ I bit my lip, refrained from making any gestures, yet quickly settled myself in and drove away.

I thought to myself, “Isn’t it supposed to be the season of goodwill?” And, how poignant, since it was the good book: James 4:17: ‘So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.’

Gerald Murray

Floral Park


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