(Just a note - the dates are important here)

February 12, 2001 - The implosion of Three Rivers Stadium was only a couple of hours away when the unmistakeable strobing blue lights of a Pittsburgh police cruiser appeared in the darkness behind me. I was driving west through Oakland on my way to launch my 12-foot jon boat into the river to watch and photograph the big event. I assumed the cops had concerns with the way I had my boat secured in the truck, and wasn't the least bit worried - until the officer insisted I had just run a red light two blocks back.

I reached for those cards in the glove compartment you always hope you never have to get out. I didn't remember a red light, but obviously that wasn't much of a defense now as the officer began studying my license and registration card. But to my surprise, he handed them back to me with a brief verbal warning and sped off down the street with his lightbar on, on his way to a more pressing call.

May 27, 2001 - After driving for more than 12 hours straight from Charleston towards Tulsa, Oklahoma, the monotonous Missouri interstate highway at 2:00am was beginning to tax my consciousness. After finding several hotels and campgrounds completely booked with Memorial Day vacationers, I finally found a billboard advertising a small, inexpensive hotel at a remote exit near Rolla. But when I turned off the highway, this hotel was nowhere to be seen. I changed lanes on the four-lane frontage road several times, looking on both sides of the street for the establishment. After passing the last restaraunt on the strip, I realized I was heading out into open country. I pulled over to turn around just as the blue lights pierced my rear-view mirror. "What now??!" I knew I hadn't been speeding, and there were no traffic lights or stop signs for miles.

The Missouri state cop walked up to the window. He had seen me changing lanes repeatedly and thought I had been drinking. After scanning the cab of my truck with his flashlight and looking carefully over my license and registration, he accepted my explanation and sent me on my way. I was quite thankful for not having to go through the sobriety test. I eventually found the hotel, but it too was booked. I ended up sleeping in the truck at a rest area near Joplin.

July 12, 2001 - It was a routine transaction at the drive-through banking window in downtown Charleston. I requested 20 dollars back, as I often do on my paycheck deposit. I was surprised and slightly annoyed when the teller asked for ID to verify the cash-out, which they had never done in the 3 years I'd banked with Huntington. I grudgingly waited for the vacuum tube to return, and sent my driver's license back to the teller. A few seconds later, her voice came over the speakers. "Sir, did you know your driver's license expired a long time ago?"

Expired?! A long time ago?!?? The teller graciously granted the cash out anyway. When I got my license back, I had to look for myself. Double take. The expiration date on my license was October 31, 2000.

. . . Lord, you're the best.

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