The Lone Ranger was famous for his silver bullets and a mask that was not much more than Clark Kent’s glasses in terms of disguise.
More than 20 years ago, I met the Lone Ranger, but I’m still looking for the silver bullet.
It was in the afternoon and four college kids were on the way back to school from central Mississippi in a car that had not only seen better days, but was wishing for the days when it could be called a rambling wreck. Somewhere in Alabama a tire blew out. There was no spare.
Being the redneck of the bunch, I was elected to take the walk to the nearest place to find a phone to call for a tire repair or help. Never mind none of us had enough money to pay for the tire repair. I walked. I was picked up by someone who passed the iron heap on the side of the road. They hauled me around for a bit and tried to find someone who could do something about the tire.
I do remember it was a Sunday, the man and wife had beer and fishing poles in the back of his truck.
We found no help. I was taken back to the car and we wondered what would happen next.
Not long after, a patrol car pulled up, lights flashing. I quickly mentally inventoried everything we had. No drugs. No alcohol. Nothing that was illegal.
Which doesn’t mean we still were safe. Four college students, more than 100 miles from school, two being out of state residents and an old car was not a recipe for being citizen of the year in parts of the South, including where we were.
The man in uniform stepped out and came up to ask us what the problem was.
It was not a deputy. It was the sheriff. Why the sheriff of that county was out patrolling on a Sunday afternoon, I will never know.
After we communicated our problem, the sheriff expressed some reservations as to whether or not we’d manage to find someone to fix or replace the tire before Monday morning. This was worrying to us because we had classes Monday. Still didn’t have much money.
The sheriff thought a while and then called his sons. Shortly thereafter they rolled up in a pickup truck. The sheriff looked at the tire on the car we were in. He looked at his patrol car and his son’s truck. No match.
I forget his exact words, but it was something on the order of, “Go home and get the spare out of your momma’s car. It’ll fit. Get back here and change the tire for these people.”
He was right. It fit and his boys changed the tire.
By now it was getting well into evening. We had a ways to go and it would be night. The car had another problem. The headlight switch would get too hot and the lights would cut off.
Being an idiot, I told the sheriff of that problem.
“Oh no, son,” he said, or something along those lines. “Don’t tell me that.” So saying, he put the dysfunctional lights out of his mind.
We gave his sons what money we had and promised to pay the sheriff for the tire. He flatly refused. He accepted the blown out tire and old rim in exchange for the one we gave us from his wife’s car.
That afternoon the Lone Ranger didn’t ride a horse, but a patrol car. He certainly had a gun, but I couldn’t check to see if the bullets were silver, but I know they were.