My favorite craft show, is the craft show that almost wasn’t.
The story is so crazy because of what happened on the way.
Let me take you back to September, 2005.
It was my first time to do a craft show out of state and we were so excited. The three-day Reelfoot Lake Arts & Craft Show is a very popular show held in Northwest Tennessee, only twenty miles from where my in-laws live. It’s an absolutely beautiful state park on the banks of Reelfoot Lake.
We had been watching the weather for weeks in anticipation of our trip. There was certainly weather to be watched. Katrina had hit Louisiana and the Gulf Coast a couple of weeks previous; now, Hurricane Rita had the upper gulf coast of Texas in its sights.
Our goal was to outrun Rita before the remnants of the hurricane came inland.
We left the house around midnight. Our small minivan was packed to the gills with people, luggage, soap and all the trappings that goes into manning a craft show booth. I took the first turn to drive and my son, Daniel, rode in the passenger front seat. The rest of the family settled down to snooze the miles away.
We were only seventy-five miles into our trip as we drove through Waco, Texas. There was a fair amount of traffic on the interstate for it being only 1 a.m. We passed the river, topped a hill and then I spotted something on the road up ahead of me. I couldn’t determine what it is was, all I could see was that it was long, seemingly thin and laid out right across my lane.
A quick glance in the rearview mirror revealed that I had nowhere to go, cars were behind me in every lane. So I did what my momma taught me to do. I grabbed the steering wheel tighter and just held on, white knuckles and all.
We hit the thing with a bang and the rest of the family immediately jolted awake. The van kept moving fast, thankfully in a straight line, but now with much assorted extra noises. When it was safe, my husband yelled at me to get over. I needed that because everything was so loud, and I was kind of frozen in shock at the time.
It all happened so quickly, mere seconds.
We made it to the side of the road and my husband and I got out to look at the damage. Our jaws dropped. Both passenger side tires had blown. As we stood there starring at the tires, we couldn’t help but wonder what would happen next. Did our trip just get cancelled?
The gravity of the situation slowly began to sink in as we realized our kids were starring out the windows at us, all with scared looks on their faces. It was only by the grace of God that we didn’t flip. We could have all been killed.
Then something really crazy happened.
A Texas D.P.S. trooper pulled up. “Is everyone O.K.?” he asked. We nodded. Then he said, “You hit a steel bar that fell off of an old wrecker truck. I know who it belongs to, I’m going to get him. Will be back in a few minutes.”
My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. Crazy. Simply crazy!
Nothing could be done to remedy our vehicle situation until the car dealership opened in the morning. This was who the wrecker truck guy worked for. We ended up spending the rest of the night in a very popular convenience store/bakery known as the Czech Stop. At least their scrumptious kolaches were some consolation.
The final word on our minivan was that it was totaled. Besides the blown tires, there was also damage done underneath the van. Our trip was delayed, but we did ultimately make it to Tennessee for the craft show.
Once we got there, we enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was so much fun to do a craft show in another state! Reelfoot Lake State Park is simply beautiful and the people are so friendly. It was simply a fun show.
Now three-day shows are long. It was a good thing I had my entire family to help. But sometimes said help can yield some unique memories.
At one point I left the booth for my family to run, while I went to look for my sister-in-law. Upon my return, I was greeting by a very interesting sight.
There was my five-year-old daughter Susan, standing out in front of the booth asking passersby, “You want to try my Momma’s lotion?”
My husband was at the back of the booth with a grin on his face. The two oldest kids were hovering near him, I guess you could say, for protection. They were the ones who had put her up to it. But we all had a good laugh, and as you can see, enjoy telling this story to this day.
When it was all said and done, the sales from this show was nothing to write home about. Being it was right after the two hurricanes which immediately drove up gas prices, folks didn’t seem very willing to part with their money. Nonetheless, this remains my favorite craft show to date. A lot of fun memories and a testimony to the protective hand of God who had angels riding shotgun with us that night.
Do you have a favorite craft show?
Photo: One of the boardwalks at Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville, TN