Jackson Five Friday: Nate the Great and the Case of the Exploding Brakes

Hey Friends,

A funny thing happened yesterday. Do you ever have something that gives you a laugh every time you think of it? I love it when that happens.

First you need a little bit of background about my son, Nate. He turned seventeen earlier this month and is one of the sweetest, smartest, best-looking guys on the planet. But he does have a flaw that has recurred quite a bit. Despite being counseled about how to call Mom with bad or even semi-bad news, he just doesn’t seem to get it. He doesn’t start with the recommended, “Everything is fine but…”

The worst, but not only, example was from February of this year. His school has a mini-term (it’s nine days long) with non-traditional classes. His class was literally called “Man Up,” which has got to be the best class ever given. Among other things, they learned to change a tire, they rode horses, and two of the nine days they shot guns. Did I sign a ten-page waiver for this class? Nope. No waivers. Just interesting table talk at dinner such as, “So, tomorrow we’re going to the range and shooting hand guns.” I know it sounds like I’m making this up. I promise you, I’m not. Being that Nate is overconfident about pretty much everything, it worried me for him to ride horses and shoot guns without a parent there to say, “Now Nate, please use every cautious fiber you’ve got. This is not the time to be overconfident.” The day he arrived safely home from shooting rifles I was thrilled, believing that was it for firearms. But at dinner I learned the next day was handguns.

I was on the phone when he called me from the shooting range, and when I clicked over I could tell he was very upset.

“Mom, I have some bad news,” he said. I am not exaggerating. That is what he said. So clearly, I immediately pictured fatal gunshot wounds. Had he shot his teacher? Had he shot himself in the leg? I wanted to die.

But he was fine. The gun he was shooting was too small for his hand and it cut him as it cocked back or something. It didn’t even require stitches. When I looked at his “wound” I laughed with utter delight. Embarrassingly, I had already reached out to the best hand surgeon in town.

You’d think that would be the end of the needlessly horrific phone calls. You’d be wrong. Maybe he is actually trying to kill me?

Yesterday, I was on the treadmill when he called, roughly twenty minutes after he left the house.

“Mom,” he said, “I have some terrible news…” But it ended up he didn’t run over some kid like I pictured. No, his new-to-him car was having some issues. Once I told him, yet again, what would qualify as terrible news and that this was not it, we got into the specifics.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I put the car in park, but I still had my foot on the brake, and I don’t know. I think the brakes just exploded! There was smoke everywhere!!”

I drove down to school with an extra set of keys and took Nate’s car over to a nearby mechanic. I could barely talk to him I was laughing so hard about the exploding brakes. The actual problem was some heater hose part snapped and the antifreeze all poured out. I’m sure it looked like a pretty big explosion in the parking lot. Nate said his friends thought it was hilarious, and every time I think about his brakes exploding I can’t help but smile. Given the entertainment value for years to come, I think $138 is a regular bargain!

I hope you aren’t surrounded by nay-saying doomsayers or frantic fear-mongers, because the Bible tell us to rejoice always. Of course there is a time for mourning but there also is a time for laughing. You know what the “time for everything” list is missing? A time for worrying. In fact, Jesus tells us we can gain nothing by worrying.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-27, 33-34‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So, my friends, don’t worry. God has a plan. Rejoice over it, and if you have something like an exploding brake story I’d love to hear it!

With Love,


P.S. This outrageously beautiful photograph was taken by my friend who has been doing front porch sessions since early spring. She’s so very talented. The problem was this was the night before we took Dub to college and I look like I had drowned my sorrows in seven margaritas and not slept a wink in weeks. I feel terrible about sabotaging her beautiful work, but oh well, perhaps we’ll not wait seventeen more years for our next professional family photo.

2 thoughts on “Jackson Five Friday: Nate the Great and the Case of the Exploding Brakes

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