Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend - 2010

Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year (outside of Thanksgiving). There are a lot of people who spent the week packing, planning, and preparing for their long trip. The only plans my husband and I made were to go to our friend, Gretchen's, graduation. She is a dear and close friend of ours, almost like family, so we wouldn't miss it for the world.

On Friday morning I got up and started my morning routine of getting ready, getting the kids ready, and feeding said kids. Of course, in the back of my mind I was thinking 'Oh, I hope we get let go early today - preferably before lunch. Then I can go write.' Shortly after getting to work I found out we were being let go at 3pm. It wasn't 12, but it was better than 5. After lunch, I heard that there'd been a gas tanker explosion off the 91 freeway, between Green River and the 71.

As soon as I found out that nobody was hurt, my next reaction was grrreeeeaaaattt. Where the tanker exploded is only one exit up from my house. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, there is only one way in and one way out once you are on that 5 mile stretch of the freeway. Gypsum Canyon (my exit) is the last one before Green River in Corona. There are absolutely no side streets to take from that part of Yorba Linda to Corona. The only way in and out is that 91 freeway. Unless, of course, people want to drive oh...40 miles out of the way to different freeways.

Talk about a mess.

So I left work that day fully prepared to take all the side streets and was beyond surprised when I found that there was no traffic on the 91 freeway (because they completely shut it down on both sides at Green River). I thought ah, cool and continued driving. Traffic started at Weir Canyon exit, so I got off and went to Chick-Fil-A to work on my manuscript.

After a couple hours there, I picked up the kids and went home. We live at the very end of a street and the only traffic we get is the residents going in and out. The one street (LaPalma) is the only way in and out of our part of the neighborhood. In the confusion of the 91 traffic, a lot of commuters got off at our exit and used La Palma as a point to turn around. Of course the end of the street is governed by a stop sign, so it took a while to get there.

Once there, what I saw was so disheartening I wanted to cry. A person, I have no idea who, that lives in the area decided that it was a smart idea to bring out her cooler and write on a big sign "$1 - cold drinks". Now I know that as humans we have a selfish and greedy nature. But still. Here you have people that have been sitting on the freeway for a couple of hours, or people that are stuck/stranded until they open it back up in many more hours. It broke my heart that this woman, in my opinion, was taking advantage of the dozen cars parked on the narrow road waiting for the freeway to open again. Or of the hundreds of people who used our little street as a turning point.

All I could do was pray for the people who'd been stranded, and for the woman selling the drinks. I felt helpless, but was comforted in the fact that the Lord heard my prayer. My hands were tied by the circumstances and the two kids in the car.

The next morning my husband and I were talking about the accident and freeway closure. I looked online for any updates on what happened. It was on an MSNBC interview that I read the funniest quote I've heard in a while.

"The worst of humanity is unleashed when the 91 freeway is closed."

That about summed up how I felt Friday evening on the drive home. I don't know the purpose of this post other than maybe to encourage one another to be there for each other in times like this, not to capitalize off of the situation. Most of the people I know would never do it, but a reminder now and again helps. Let's be there for our brother and sister when they are in need. Even if it is giving them a cold drink out of our fridge. We are the hands and feet of Jesus - let's act like it. ;-)

In Christ,


  1. Wow, that is really uncool what that woman did. Yeah, Memorial day is a very busy day isn't it? Heh, I don't have much planned other then a BBQ with some friends here.
    Btw, I'm excited you have a blog, I like blogs and I'm glad you are brave enough to make one, I'm terrified of making one. :)

  2. Amen! You rock, Erin. Love your writing, love your blog. =)

  3. I dunno, for good or ill I think that's the essence of America - taking advantage of an opportunity when it comes along; identifying a need and then meeting it. That lone woman couldn't do anything to solve the traffic problem, so she bears no responsibility for it; and for the people who thought it was worth it to buy an overpriced drink from her, I bet they were grateful that she was so enterprising. Or at least grateful for a cold drink.

  4. Lol, that is a funny quote. You know, when I read the word "disheartening" I was like, "why?" I mean, this woman saw a business opportunity and took it! This society just loves moves like that- it's so entrepreneurial..but, in reading your reason behind your sadness, you are correct in using this example as a reminder of how to use every little situation/circumstance in a manner that helps/encourages and even, refreshes others!