Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (01/23/20)
TITLE: Out of Step, but Headed Home
By LINDA GERMAIN
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“You’ll be just fine,” my stepmother had assured me.
Her only concession to any warnings consisted of, “If someone tries any, uh…uh, funny stuff, just tell the bus driver.”
In those naïve days of yore (before cell phones and computers), no one bothered to explain just what that vague instruction meant.
A few days before the impending adventure, my uncle called to suggest that his son accompany me to visit a relative in the same city for which I was bound.
He told Dad, “The kids will be good company for each other.”
“Oh, sure,” I whined to whoever would listen. “I’m closing in on fifteen, and that mere child isn’t much past fourteen. Besides, Cousin Donnie is as irritating and frustrating as another little brother. Ick!”
Somehow, I didn’t get a vote, so I decided it was best to try to be a good sport. After all, how bad could it be? Hah!
Clearly, he had his own agenda. At the bus station in Dallas, Texas, we had a thirty-minute breakfast stop. I had little interest in eating, so I drank a cola. He, on the other hand, ordered the truck-driver special—eggs, ham, toast, grits, milk--the works.
That was okay. After all, he was a growing boy. The irritating part was his penchant for taking his time to linger over every bite.
“Donnie, you have to hurry. They called for us to board. PLEASE, just leave it.”
He looked at me as if I had said a bad word.
“Aw, calm down, Leanne. That’s just the first announcement. You get too worried about these things.”
I paced back and forth from his stool at the counter to the window. No matter how I pleaded, he was determined to consume the whole meal.
Life seemed to turn into a slow-motion disaster movie as I stood helplessly watching the bus doors close with that familiar air-swish, and the flash of back-up lights.
Tears and accusations didn’t change anything, so I pulled myself together and headed for the ticket window to share our plight.
The agent had good news. There was another bus headed in the same direction and would be leaving in about ten minutes. Someone up there must be watching over us. At the time, I didn’t realize how true that was.
As we settled into our seats in this newer, plusher, and much cooler coach, I decided to ignore my smarty-pants cousin and close my eyes.
Suddenly, he yelled, “Wow! Leanne, just look out this window!”
I wasn’t through being mad and refused to cooperate.
“What is it, another cow or rabbit or silly shaving cream sign?”
He jerked my arm to pull me closer to the glass. I was curious enough to open my eyes in time to be stunned by an amazing sight. There was our old bus broken down on the side of the road. Our new driver informed us those poor people would have a very hot wait for another one to arrive since their air conditioner would not be running.
Old Donnie couldn’t stop laughing…hysterically!
“See, because of me, we are riding in a super-duper cool vehicle instead of dying in the heat!”
I wondered if that’s what stepmom had meant by funny stuff. Somehow, it didn’t seem necessary to report that to the driver.
As we began to trade daylight for dark, we both began to get restless. He suggested we sing that song about taking a little trip in 1814 and running through briars and brambles and other nonsense. We sand long and loud until we were hoarse. I’m sure the other passengers wished we had an off button.
Happily, we arrived safely at our target destination on time.
Over the ensuing decades, my dear cousin seemed to take a lot of questionable turns that flung him onto a desperately rocky road to very bad health. When I learned that he had passed away, I reflected on what lesson could be analogous to that shared bus trip.
Perhaps it’s this: As we roll along through life, there may be detours to wrong paths, but by our acceptance of God’s grace, we can get back on track and reach our final resting place—a super cool and joyous thing!
*True story. Names changed. Before the end, Donnie was saved!
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