It was the summer of 1975. I had a summer job in western Maine. With 24 hours off, my destination was Bangor. Homesick, I was hoping my tired Ford Fairlane would get me there.

The winter before I had replaced the spark plugs, the alternator, the battery and the brake drums. It was a great car for a young woman to learn the art of automotive repair. It needed everything. It was my first car and cost me one hundred dollars.

The route from Center Lovell to Bangor was a winding series of back roads and rural vistas. I set out early with a folded paper map. GPS and cell phones weren’t thought of yet. I had packed a cucumber sandwich and a thermos of cold water.

Heading east into the morning sun, my red Fairlane was eating up the hills. As the morning grew warmer, I rolled my windows down to catch the breeze. I was singing along to the radio. Life was good.

Suddenly, I heard a loud rumbling, like a pack of motorcycles behind me. Looking in my dusty rearview mirror, I saw only empty road behind me, but I noticed sparks on the highway’s pavement. There was a dirt road up ahead. I turned in.

The cows in the pasture ignored me as I looked under my car. The muffler was hanging on by a thread. Perhaps if I drove slowly it would hang on until I got home where Dad could help me fix it. Unsure where I was, I pulled out the map.


I spied a man in denim overalls ambling down the road towards me. Rolling up the window I pushed down the door lock. He leaned towards my window knocking on the glass. I rolled my window down enough to hear him.

“Looks like you got car problems.”

“No, just checking my map.”

“Well, your muffler is about to fall off. I heard you coming from way up at the farm.”

“Oh, I did notice some noise.”

“Drive her up to the barn. Me and my brother can fix ‘er up with some baling wire enough to get you home.”


I chose to believe they were angels in disguise and eased my car up to the barn. His brother came bounding out of the farmhouse like a friendly St. Bernard. I watched as the first brother shimmied under the car and the other fed him wire from a big spool. In no time they had reattached the muffler.

“Thank you both for all your help!”

“Want to come in to the kitchen and have some blueberry pie? Hot out of the oven.”

“That’s really kind of you, but I have to be on my way.”

I thought I had challenged my angels enough for one day.

Meetinghouse is a community storytelling project hosted by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

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