Thursday, June 7, 2007

A Kiss of Grace

Today was without a doubt the most eventful and unusual day of our trip. The day started out ordinarily, with the traditional photograph at the southernmost point in the USA, which is only 90 miles from Cuba. In fact, at that point in Key West, you are closer to Cuba than you are to Miami. As we rode towards Miami, the first couple of hours passed by uneventfully, and then the drama began. One of the guys lost control of his motorcycle and ended up in a ditch while going 45 miles an hour. He hit his head and the bike landed on top of him. He had a welt on his head the size of a coconut as well as a deep gash. Against his vociferous protests, he was taken to the Homestead hospital ER where he literally spent the whole day until he was checked by a doctor and certified a veritable "miracle." Meanwhile Dennis' wife called him to find out how Rick (the injured rider) was doing. She informed him that for the last hour (prior to the crash) she couldn't stop interceding for him in prayer because she'd had this ominous sense that something was not right.

When Dennis informed her of the accident, it immediately made sense as to the urgency in prayer that she had sensed. Most people who crash on a motorbike at 45 miles an hour, without a helmet on, and who hit their heads, generally don't walk away from the scene of the accident.Dennis stayed behind with Rick at the ER while the rest of us left for Naples where we were scheduled to spend the night at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club (a really swanky place).

As we hit Alligator Alley, the heavens opened up with a deluge the likes of which I have never ridden in before. For the next 90 odd miles we crawled along at 35 to 40 miles an hour. Even with our rain gear on we were soaked to the skin from the splashes caused by semi-trucks driving in the opposite direction at 70miles an hour. The rain was so heavy, even the alligators were smart enough to stay under shelter. We had decided on the route primarily because we wanted to see the alligators sunning themselves along the shore. We saw nothing! By the time we arrived in Naples, we were famished, and since it was our last night together, we decided to splurge on a really nice meal. Dressed in our biker gear (shorts, T-shirts, tank tops, skull caps and whatever other comfortable paraphernalia goes with the biker image), we rode up to Flemings ( a rather upscale steak house) and informed them that there would be ten of us for dinner. They said they would set up a table and let us know when it was ready.

About ten minutes later, the duty manager (a rather sorry fellow named Rick), came out and informed us that, while their restaurant was by no means prejudiced, they did not serve people of our dress style at that restaurant. He further stated that, since he didn't want to turn ten people away, he had arranged to have a "private" room set up for us where we could dine in peace. The only snag was that the airconditioning was not working and so it might be a little hot. A little hot? In a room with no windows or exterior egress? What a brilliant deduction. Now, a few of the guys have tatoos on their arms and legs, and evidently, Rick in all of his limited wisdom, figured that they would be bad for Flemings business to be seen hobnobbing with the more "comely" crowd. The amazing thing about Ricks steorotypical prejudice, is that one of the tatooed guys comes from a stinking rich family, and all of them are pastor's of incredible churches. If this wasn't prejudice then I don't know what prejudice is.

We calmly informed them that we would solve their predicament by taking our business elsewhere. We ended up at Outback Steakhouse, a few miles down the road from Flemings, where we ordered a sumptuous meal. Our meal would have totaled somwhere north of $250.00 with gratuity and tax, but when we asked for our bill we were informed by our waiter that someone had noticed us praying before we ate and so decided that we would be a great group to invest in. He had anonymously picked up the tab. So let me try and summarize the day. A miraculous deliverance from death, a heart stopping downpour, and then "kicked" out of one restaurant, only to be celebrated and feted at another. What an amazingly fitting ending to a really unusual day. I think it was a kiss of grace from God. What do you think?


Elvina said...

Thanks for writing this.