One of the most interesting obstacles we encountered last week wasn’t people we couldn’t reach for interviews. It was the sand roads north of town. Well, for one of us anyway.
Chandra Stauffer headed to an interview seven miles north of town. A while later, my cell phone rang. It was her husband, back in Wichita. Chandra had texted him (her cell didn’t have service in that area) about her problem: Her car was stuck in deep sand. He contacted the Elliott School of Communication at WSU, got my number and called.
Chandra might have been able to text some of the class members instead of her husband, but she forgot her laminated press card that contains all our cell numbers on the back. Lesson No. 1, she said later. Three of us headed out to rescue Chandra. She also had managed to text another student, who also headed her direction.
Just before we reached Chandra and her car, which was high-centered in sand, a pickup driven by a local farmer turned in front us. A stroke of luck, because we figured he had a shovel that might come in handy. As it turned out, Jason Unruh didn’t have a shovel, but he did have a piece of pipe and a big pipe wrench that came in handy for digging sand out from under Chandra’s car. We also put the pipe and wrench under her tires for traction when he pushed.
With the help of Jason and those of us who responded to the emergency, we eventually freed the car. After that was done, Molly Walsh — who also had responded to Chandra’s text for help — announced that she had lost her keys. Oh, no, we moaned as we started searching and digging in the deep sand once again. I’m sure Jason thought he’d never see the last of us city folks.
We found Molly’s keys a ways down the road and started backing our vehicles to the intersection. We didn’t dare try to turn around for fear of getting stuck again. If that had happened, I’m sure Jason would have just driven off and left us.
Chandra made her interview (the house was in the previous mile section), which turned out well. The most ironic part of the ordeal was the sign at the intersection. Lesson No. 2, Chandra said. We snapped a photo of her next to it.