I dialed her number and got voicemail. This sighting was too crazy to leave a message. I continued my journey. An Oriole crossed my path so I took it as a good sign.
She was missing many sights. The trip isn’t officially started until we are in the car together, but these two were good. More than good, they qualified at the high end of our list. I needed blinders.
Over the years we discovered, my Cousin Gaye and I, that we had the same eye. Not the same eyes because our fathers are brothers, but the same eye for seeing God in our surroundings.
Gaye was the oldest grandchild and ten months later, I came along. Growing up, we only saw each other for a month each summer. During those weeks, we were inseparable. We stayed either at her house or at Grandma’s where I bunked during that precious month.
We waited for the first firefly, learned the names and locations of the constellations, we smelled the night air full of honeysuckle. We picked perfectly ripe strawberries. We couldn’t wait for the first taste of ripe tomatoes. Summer was our delight.
Now that we had retired and our husbands had passed, we got together each summer for a month-long road trip. We sketched out a route, recorded what we saw, and of course, what we ate.
“Do you have the rules?” I asked as I loaded the cooler in the back seat.
“Check,” said Gaye, the supervisor.
“Our old lists?”
“Check! Dot, why don’t you stop asking, you know I have it all together.” Gaye hipped me, head first into the back seat.
“Binoculars and map?” I mumbled under my breath as I gained solid footing. “Is this the pie trip or did we decide on burgers?”
Gaye looked wistful and said, “Burgers. Don’t you remember that exquisite Rhubarb Custard pie in Hannibal? Right after we saw the herd of buffalo in the pond?”
“Burgers it is.” I situated the CD case on the floor in back, lifting out the Chris Tomlin disk. Indescribable is our theme song. “Do you have the player? Want to make sure we start our days with praise and anxious expectation.”
As girls, in her bedroom, we would listen to the same Patsy Cline album repeatedly. Today ‘Alternative’ Gospel rocks our world. Our grandchildren think it’s cool to buy music CDs for their ‘rockin’ cool’ grannies. We like it too because that means no more useless trinkets for us to dust around.
“I wonder what God is going to show us this time?” Gaye arranged the trunk, making sure our husband’s old hats and overcoats were there. A bit of security, a bit of the old days. “You just never know. Do you have postcards stamps this time? I don’t want to have to search for a post office again.”
“Yeeeesss, deeeaar,” I replied. “I have the kids’ addresses too, even those for your brood. Why do we second guess ourselves, if there is anything we forgot there is always a Wal-Mart.”
“Okay,” locking her front door, Gaye said, “Let’s hit the road, cowgirl!”
Pulling out of her drive, I sighed and said, “Now I can tell you what I saw on the way over. I called but got your voicemail so I hung up because it was too nutty to leave a message. I know it doesn’t qualify because we weren’t together, but it was there just the same. Road crews have been repairing the cracks on the old highway. Splotchy with black tar, the new patches really stand out. About two miles outside of town I came to a curvy hill and the black patches looked like Jesus. Two eyes, mouth and the hair, you know the way he looks on that website where the guy throws the paint onto the canvas? I was already driving over it when my mind registered what my eyes had seen. It didn’t feel right, driving over Jesus. I couldn’t believe it, I had to turn around and go back to make sure.”
“That does sound nutty; maybe it will still be visible when I come over for the Fourth. We can take a mini trip and officially add it to the list.”
As the power-filled voice of Chris Tomlin escorted us out of town, I said a prayer, “God keep us safe and help us to keep you in mind as we survey the wonders of Your Kingdom here on earth.”
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