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Through the Lens: Damsel in Distress

By Chuck Clegg - | Apr 21, 2021

Once upon a time when you heard the phrase, damsel in distress, you probably thought of a gallant knight in shining armor rescuing a maiden from the evil dark knight. Maybe even a Princess guarded by a great dragon preventing her from marrying the handsome prince. Or maybe you think of Robin Hood swinging down from a tree in Sherwood Forest onto a coach to save Maid Marion from the Sheriff of Nottingham. Do you remember the damsel tied to the railroad tracks by Snidely Whiplash? From out of nowhere her brave rescuer would ride in on a white horse and pulled her free just as the train rushes by. It was a time when rescuing a beautiful damsel from danger was chivalrous and an adventure. That was before the feminist of the world decided women could rescue themselves.

Now, don’t get me wrong, women are every bit as brave and adventuresome as men. I have been married for nearly fifty-one years and I can tell you Mary can stand up for herself and fight off any dragon she might encounter. Why, she can even vanquish the house of a great fearsome mouse. Ooooh, the thought of that beady eyed creature makes my skin crawl. But not my Mary.

Back in high school our teacher taught us that chivalrous actions were an important part of history. I wonder? Do they still teach in school the story of Sir Walter Raleigh spreading his coat across a mud puddle to prevent Queen Elizabeth I from mudding her shoes? Did it happen, I am not sure? But I was taught this was a gentlemanly action worthy of historical noting.

Today, a gentleman’s actions are generally limited to holding a door open for a lady. Or reaching for a can of green beans on the top shelf of the supermarket. But just in case, I still carry a pocket knife to free a beautiful maiden who might find herself tied to the railroad tracks. But I have not seen any tied to the rails lately. Believe it or not, I even have a shiny sword to slay a dragon if I happen to run across one while I am crossing Harlan Drive. Long ago, we kids pretended in the tall horse weeds in the bottom, a green dragon lived. But, they cut down the weeds and paved over the bottom land. I suspect the dragon moved to Florida for better weather. Being a chivalrous knight today has become an impossible task in the modern world. That was until recently.

A short time ago I was looking for a place to park at Riesbeck’s, when I heard the sound of a car’s alarm horn. You know the sound I am talking about, when it beeps repeatedly warning off would be thieves. In my experience most of the time I have heard a car’s horn sounding, it was not because the car was being stolen, but a malfunction. As I parked my truck, I saw two gentleman trying to help a lady solve the problem of the annoying horn.

As I stepped out of my truck a voice called out from the direction of the problem horn. It was a friend I have known my whole life, Betsy Chandler. She eagerly asked, “Do you know how to stop this?” pointing to the repeating loud sound. As I approached, Betsy explained what they had already tried with no success. I asked her to open the hood in hopes I could see the horn and unplug it while we figured out how to stop the annoying sound. The horn was hidden and the battery cables were not going to be easy to remove. About then the horn suddenly stopped. But I could hear the horn relay clicking. I figured the coil inside the horn had over heated and burned out. The problem was still unsolved.

Betsy handed me the car’s manual and after some searching I found the answer. Place the key in the door, lock and then unlock it. Betsy quickly followed the instructions and the clicking relay stopped. The lights in the instrument panel returned to normal. Betsy was happy, that was until she tried to start her car. It was dead as a door nail. Luckily, Mary purchased me a portable device that can jump start a car. Within a couple minutes the car started and Betsy was off to purchase a new battery. All her problems were from the demise of a battery.

She waved and thanked those of us who helped start her car as she drove away. I headed into the store feeling a since of chivalry come over me. I realized that much like knights of old, I helped a damsel in distress. Not from a dragon. Not from being tied to the railroad tracks. And not from the Sheriff of Nottingham who falsely imprisoned Betsy. She was the victim of a car battery struck down in its prime right there in the parking lot. It may not be the kind of adventure that stories are written about, but yet Betsy was in distress and in my book she is a modern day damsel. Fortunately, I arrived astride my trusty Ford F-150 and came to her aid. And as in olden days, that’s how this story ended happily ever after Through the lens.