July 25th, 2021


A reminder that it's good to be an Earthling

 David Von Drehle

By David Von Drehle The Washington Post

Published August 24, 2017

A reminder that it's good to be an Earthling

TROY, Kan. - I've long had a soft spot for this little town.

One rainy December night in 1980, I was driving along dark roads through the empty countryside to visit a friend at college. Two or three miles outside Troy, I learned the importance of checking the gas gauge.

A husband and wife in a pickup truck found me 15 minutes later, jogging in search of a telephone.

Drenched and shivering, I had just passed the cemetery, its headstones lit by jagged lightning.

My rescuers told me they saw my car with its flashers on. They stopped what they were doing to find me, a stranger lost somewhere in the storm.

The cab of their truck was wonderfully toasty. Being farm people, they had a gasoline pump in their tractor shed. They soon had me warmed, toweled, refueled and on my way - and, of course, they wouldn't take a cent.

I returned to Troy on Monday, this time in daylight with a beautiful wife and four teenage children.

We were there to witness the eclipse.

The geometry of the universe had conspired to move Troy for one day from the edge of nowhere to the center of that narrow band in which the moon would blot out the sun.

It was, perhaps, the most historic thing to happen here since Abraham Lincoln visited on a cold December day in 1859.