Somewhere Along the Way
Somewhere Along the Way features a variety of easy-to-read commentaries on the ups, downs and in-betweens of life as viewed from a back yard swing. Subjects range from those as playful as accessorizing and gift-wrapping to empathetic interviews with war veterans to the hilarious frustrations and delicious rewards of gardening, groundhog included. Music and pets are oft-visited topics.
The articles, which originally appeared as columns in Columbia Tennessee newspaper The Daily Herald, are rich in gentle humor, down-home nostalgia, occasional serious ponderings, and quirky characters. Whether read cover-to-cover or ten minutes at a time, the collection's varied look at everyday existence is life affirming and uplifting.
Chris Fletcher, former editor of The Daily Herald, dubbed the writings “…a welcome break from the frenetic pace of our modern lives” and considered Wilmoth’s stories and themes to be “…at once intimate and universal.”
Author Karyn Henley added, “Wilmoth has the rare ability to touch your heart as well as your funny bone.”
At times light and funny, at times serious and contemplative, Wilmoth Foreman's Somewhere Along the Way is an always entertaining collection of essays about life lived fully, and with meaning.
-- Alan Gratz, author of Prisoner B-3087
Sample column: Heroes Met and Lessons Learned while Melting a Mercury
Did you know steel "belts" in tires are actually wires not much bigger than those florists use to secure flowers in bouquets? I recently learned that the hard way.
I drove my dad (90 years old; a shrinking 6'4" frame; down probably 50 pounds from his healthier-days 270 norm; stubborn) to the barber shop in his '83 Mercury, a big luxury-type car. On the way back, it started bump-bumping like when a tire slowly goes flat. We made it to his house, but when we stopped, smoke came out above the left front tire. Thick, ugly, stinky smoke.
Getting out of a car for Big Daddy (family nickname) at this stage of life was not speedy. The smoke kept getting worse. When he was finally standing, Daddy said, "Pop that hood." He wanted to see if he could fix it!
After convincing him "no way," I fought the hard-to-unlock house door — by then, there were flames — and called 911. While I was in the house, the tire blew out and fire spread through the front of the car.
We got maybe 50 yards away and Daddy balked big time; didn't want to go beyond the apple tree shade. It wasn't far enough if the thing blew, and the interior was now an inferno. We snailed our way further. A car pulled over and asked if we needed help. I don't know our answer, but they decided "yes."
The younger of the two men, sporting a tee shirt with some violent message on it, stayed beside us and chatted. The other one, after an emergency vehicle barreled by, stood on the roadside to flag down the next missile.
The two…let's call them gentlemen since that's who they were…stayed with us until police and a fire truck arrived. As our first on-the-scene helpers left, I told the young man, "I even like your shirt."
The car had a full tank of gas. Its back seat was engulfed in flames. When the fire truck arrived, I saw no way they could prevent an explosion that would make Hollywood jealous. I wanted them to be frantic as I had been since seeing the first smoke.
Instead, the firemen calmly unrolled hoses, checked to insure there were no tangles, manned posts CLOSE TO THE CAR as if they didn't know better, and began dousing the fire.
Big Daddy's car is a was. The tire where the fire started was a bouquet of tiny wires. The front was a crumbling charcoal skeleton; the steering wheel was melted, and those leather seats were showing their last layer of foam rubber. Groceries in the back seat floor area, including now char-broiled lamb — well, go figure. When they towed the car away, a large puddle of disintegrated car guts spilled into the driveway.
One of those strange coincidences: an on-scene fireman had been getting a haircut while Big Daddy was. "I was just bragging at the barber shop about the mileage on my Mercury," Daddy reminded him. "I guess I'll have to change that tune."
Here are some things that went right. The policeman (a former student of mine), once he located us, did what was needed: he calmed us. Once the fire was out, he helped us back to the house, then got out of the way.
The firemen put the fire out. The one who was gathering data asked questions respectfully and answered ours in like manner.
Here are some lessons learned: If a door lock is nigh on to impossible to negotiate under normal circumstances, have it replaced. It can eat up urgent time in an emergency.
If a call to 911 gets disconnected by the frantic caller, they'll call back. 911 can get the address from a land line number.
It really is important to have a legible house address where it can be read from the road.
Know where your garden hose is.
For heaven's sake, buy a fire extinguisher, read the directions, and keep it handy.
Worry about a sudden suspicious car noise, even if the dashboard lights are calm. If the noise gets worse, stop and check. Should you kinda think you might sort of smell smoke, home being less than a mile away is irrelevant.
Several heroes emerged during our Mercury melt. The ones in uniforms earned that title by doing their jobs. And the ones out of uniform? That old adage "don't judge a book by its cover" works as "don't judge heroes by their shirt messages."
August 26, 2001