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Peculiar People
by Karin Butts 
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Peculiar People

Kati’s car sputtered and shivered in the midst of morning traffic. A few years ago, it would have set off an anxiety attack in her of major proportions. She never left home without her trusty cell phone and her book of numbers. She had left both at home. She knew every inch of the road driving to town daily for the past twenty years. It was exactly two miles from home and the same distance to the gas station. She pushed hard on the pedal and with one jump; she was able to turn the car onto the green. The traffic had come to a halt at the light in the school zone.
“Say, would you mind if I rode with you to the corner where the station is?” she asked the young man whose window was rolled down.
“Sorry, no passengers.”
She looked perplexed. Look at me; do I look like someone who would hurt you? I am an older woman for heaven‘s sake, I‘m wearing a jogging suit! She thought faintly, it did not matter. She had not had her morning walk so she would make it up now. It could not be that far. The sun was rising quickly with an early heat. She hated September in the south. Her white hair was already wilting in the moisture-laden air and it was merely 7:00 am. When was the last time I ran out of gas she mused taking her first steps toward town. Why it must be forty years ago. I know I did run out a few times back then, for want of money rather than memory. She smiled feeling not in the least upset about her plight.
“Miss do you want to ride with me?” A woman’s voice caught her attention.
“I would love to, thank you so much. Just to the station at the corner would be fine.”
She climbed in thankful that the woman cared to offer her help.
“I’ll drop my grandson off at the school and then I’ll take you on to the corner. I used to work at this school, just retired three weeks ago.”
“How does it feel to retire?”
“I can almost not bear it but my husband has a debilitating illness and he needs constant care now.” The woman continued expounding on the issues of her life. Her son had served in Iraq and come home to a faithless wife, now raising his son alone. He was trying to reorganize his life wanting to leave the memories of war behind him. She rambled on as a stream that had broken through an obstruction flowing freely pouring her heart out of the abundance of her cares. They arrived at the station.
“What will you do now, how will you get back to your car?” she asked concerned. Do you want...” her voice trailed off.
“No, no, I’m fine. Thank you! God will make a way, I’m certain of that.” The woman grew silent, smiled slightly, and drove off.

The attendant regretted that she had no can to lend but told her to try the tire store next door and they would most likely give a courtesy ride back to her car. She was in luck, the manager brought a five-gallon can out, but he could not spare a man to give her a ride.
No ride, he could not spare ten minutes? The road seemed suddenly much longer than she had ever imagined the many times she had driven into town. She had her credit card. One gallon the man said it’s all it takes. One...the handle...is stuck! There, it’s loose but it shows two and a half gallon...it is a long way back there. How am I going to carry this much? She wondered yet she felt the same unusual calm inside her that she‘d had when the engine died. She had embarked on an adventure this was a time to test the waters of the resolve she had made a year ago.
The world had caved in on her then, everything in her life had gotten progressively worse, and she had felt as alone as a sparrow on a rooftop. She had been fired from a job she hated, had been ill from fear and worry, and come to the end of herself. Nothing in her life had worked out since her husband had passed away years earlier.
Someone had come into her life. She was a peculiar woman, younger than a sister, too old to be her daughter and presenting her a new thing. She had grown up in the jungles of Peru, a missionary kid.
“Kati, you must give yourself up to God entirely, nothing holding back and I promise you will get well,” she had said soon after their meeting and continued insisting on it as time went on. They began spending hours together every week expounding the Word, sharing experiences and discoveries.
Living by faith was like traveling on a winding road, slow and precarious but she had actually begun to heal from her broken life and given more and more of her cares up to God. Once again, she marveled to herself at her reaction. I am changing, it is true, and I really do believe that God will make a way! She thought smiling. She lifted the can and began walking back to her car, shifting it from hand to hand, feeling the weight of it and the heat from the rising sun.
“Let me give you a hand.” She turned and looked straight into the dark eyes of a tall man in shorts wearing all the markings of a marathon runner. He smiled and reached for the can. “I’ll walk with you,” he said pacing himself to her short gait. She smiled gratefully and tried lengthening her stride not wanting to slow him down.
The road seemed long; a continuous flow of conversation attended them. She smiled amazed to think that her faith had once again proved itself to her.
“...people are so unhappy with their lives,” he said, “It doesn’t matter if they are rich or poor. You have to have a grateful heart. I wake up in the mornings and my first words are, ‘Thank you God’ for this new day and somehow I continue to feel that way throughout the day.” Her car came in sight. The traffic was heavy. He poured the gas into the tank; she stood in the street protecting him.
“Please move to the side,” he said
“I’m not afraid. If someone hits you while you do a good deed for me, they will have to hit me as well,” she said. “And besides, I know where I am going after I leave here.”
He smiled.

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