It was an Island miracle, pure and simple. There have been others over the years I have been coming to Martha’s Vineyard — I recently bought pie for under $20 (it was several days old and suitable for throwing), and I once found a parking space on Circuit avenue in Oak Bluffs on a rainy August afternoon on the very first loop, easy as pie. But this summer’s miracle tops them all.

My car, a weather-beaten 20-year-old sedan that would look at home on the streets of Havana, began to die while I was on the way to picking up my wife, son and his girlfriend at the fast ferry. My wife had been urging me to junk this clunker for years. When the oil light flashed code red, accompanied by an acrid smell wafting from the dashboard vents, my throat constricted, my pulse raced. This was going to be the mother of all breakdowns. Worse yet, I don’t own a cell phone.

I was halfway to the Chilmark Store from our Aquinnah cottage and I decided to soldier on. I knew that the second the temperature gauge twitched, I would have to pull over.

The big question, of course, was: Does the Chilmark Store sell 10W-40 motor oil along with pies, fair trade coffee and postcards?

Mirabile dictu, it does!

I bought three quarts, poured them in and was on my merry way to the gas station/repair shop in West Tisbury. The oil price was quite reasonable, too. I knew this state of affairs was too good to be true, and it was. The red oil light stayed off for a good 15 feet.

Again, I decided to live on the edge. Besides, it wasn’t as if my car was a 2015 Lexus with a flat-screen TV the size of a boogie board. If it died, it died. Miraculously I made it to the gas station. The first thing the attendant said was, “I wouldn’t start that again, if I were you.”

The young mechanic out back in the repair shop had a spiffy sports car on the lift and seemed to be enjoying the job. But he stepped back and asked a few questions. I told him that I had just had the oil changed off Island the week before. He peeked under the engine and said that much oil loss was one of two things — he would have a look once he finished with the sports car.

“You drove this all the way from Chilmark?” he asked. I told him I had. He just shook his head. But when I told him where I was going, he understood.

“When’s that fast ferry due?” When I told him, he smiled and said, “You could still make it. It’ll be late.”

I spent the next 15 minutes trying to look nonchalant despite my elevated heart rate and sweaty palms. I asked if I could make a few calls, explaining that I didn’t own a cell phone. The nice woman in the office said yes, and the owner, a gentleman about my age, came over to testify that he, too, was cellphone-less and proud of it. We two Luddites compared notes.

I offered to pay for the calls, and the lady told me not to be silly.

Of the two aforementioned diagnoses, one would profoundly alter my vacation plans. The other would not, and this, amazingly, was the one it turned out to be. Apparently the mechanic who had changed the oil off-Island had neglected to remove the gasket along with the old oil filter, creating the time bomb of a “double gasket,” a vacation buster if there ever was one.

The mechanic was stunned that I had driven the car that long in that condition. It could have melted down anywhere between Connecticut and the Vineyard.

But it didn’t. It had limped into a one-lift repair shop in West Tisbury, where the people were as nice as pie. The price was right, too. I would have paid hundreds for this impromptu oil change.

As I pulled up to the fast ferry, my wife, son and girlfriend were coming down the gangplank.

David Holahan of East Haddam, Conn., owns half a cottage in Aquinnah.