The day started out perfect… one of those beautiful crisp sun shinny fall Seattle days that mark the start of school and have you forgetting the cloud covered drizzle that you will soon be immersed in as the price for living in God’s country. Parked on Western below Pikes Place Market like thousands of times before we left rig and set out to explore the local vendors’ quirky NW offerings… did you know you can still buy a dragon shaped paper weight made from Mount St. Helens’ ash?
Back at the FJ Cruiser, as always, we left Hula Betty and Brenda, our GPS system (named by wife and girl for her voice when she tells us where to turn). Over the miles, Brenda and Hula Betty have formed a deep bond of trust and friendship as they stood their posts on the dash. Sure like sorority sisters fighting over a guys attention (ok that is my mid-life crises talking) they had their arguments but they always ended the day as friends. And who knew that on this day that friendship would be put to the ultimate test.
Walking back to the rig, it wasn’t until I was at the passenger’s door that I notices the pile of broken glass shards twinkling on the ground and the gaping hole where a window had once protected the interior form the NW’s elements. AND THEN I HEARD IT…
Barely audible, a soft tear filled quivering voice came from the dash as Hula Betty struggled to find the words… She’s gone… Brenda… is gone. My eyes immediately fixed on the corner of the windshield, now empty, where Brenda had shouted out her navigational commands. Still trying to collect herself, Hula Betty, shook and wiggled on the dash as she explained how Brenda sacrificed her life to save the rig from further damage and performed the ultimate act of friendship to keep Hula Betty affixed to the dash.
Apparently as some crack tweaker smashed in the window, Brenda set off the alarm and distracted the thief screaming take me, leave the rest… I’m the pretty shinny one… Take me leave everything else… Hula Betty said those were the last words she heard and the last she saw of her friend as the crack whore ripped Brenda, sparkling like justice, from her stand leaving behind exposed wires and the little suction cup stand that she had once so proudly perched on.
Thanks to insurance and the Poulsbo Auto Glass Clinic, within less than 24 hours, the rig is getting repaired, Hula Betty is attending therapy to help with her post traumatic syndrome and a small private ceremony for family and friends was held that celebrated the electronic life taken from us too soon. But I swear last night lying in the dark, drifting between consciousness and that half dream state I heard Brenda’s voice carried in over the breeze lovingly barking out “Stay Left, Drive 5.3 miles on I-5 and take exit 423 North”.
A day after our loss which we can still barely speak of, Hula Betty and I sit here in the driveway about to hit the road for Rubicon. We observed a moment of silence and thought of all the miles we’ve seen with Brenda and how we’ll miss her… All of us will be a little less without the love of a good woman.