Often life takes unexpected turns as we go about our merry way. And everybody handles what are often life changing events in different ways.
When Jim and I are together on one of our many drives in the country, I will become lost in thought. Usually Jim will say “a penny for your thoughts…” – and then he gets more than he bargained for - a whole jumbled bag of pennies. Things like, “well I saw that bird, which made me think of this person, and that made me realize he said this, and that made me think of I forgot to do that…” Thoughts work that way sometimes.
As we drove on Saturday, my thoughts kept straying to friends. In this day and age, friends come from so many more places than they did years ago. Not only do friends come into our lives from the usual places, like family, church, ex-coworkers, former classmates, acquaintances; but it is much more far reaching. We have chats, blogs, social media…
So, here is a sample of my driving thoughts:
“I’m hoping he is going to be ok and is able to recover at home without returning to the hospital. It seems we almost automatically say we will pray for people, but how many of us really do. He is so patient with those kids and always doing things with them, and teaching them. I think if I lost my job, I would be doing exactly what she is and re-evaluate what is really going to make me happy and fit my changing life. It seems so unfair that an ex can take control like she does without giving any consideration to how it affects him and his family. He is already driving. How is that possible? He treats me like I am his life. Do I really deserve such devotion? Everything is so pretty. God is good. I didn’t know she had a second stroke and she is so young. Why God? She never complains. Why can’t I be a better friend. It seems I spend too much time doing things that make me happy and not thinking of others. She is always surrounded by kids and yet never complains. I don’t know that I could do that… I’m pretty sure I couldn’t. She hasn’t blogged in almost a year and nobody has heard from her. What could have happened? He works so hard on the farm and travels and she just keeps going, taking care of things at home. She tells me she loves me every time she talks to me. It means so much to me… “
So as we travel this road down to the Muddy Bottom Wild Life Preserve, how about a penny for your thoughts…
We parked the car and walked towards the railroad tracks. Imagine our surprise when we happened onto a Civil War Marker. “The Battle of Boonville Began Here June 17, 1861 Gen Lyon Commander of the Union Forces” This was 111 years to the day before Jim & I were wed.
”How many? How young? How many died? Were they local boys? Did his mama know immediately in her heart that her boy was gone? How long before she was officially told? How long did they lay on the battle field suffering? Was there a Union hospital nearby in Boonville? What were their dying thoughts and wishes...” More thoughts.
What is it that makes railroad tracks and trains magnetic? Those iron rails extend forever into the distance. They always make my thoughts turn to life and directions and those who have come and gone. And what lays ahead in the short life remaining. No matter how old you are, life is short. It just is.
As we left the river bottoms, a plane flew overhead. There must be a small airport in Boonville. I’d like to be on an airplane on some new adventure right now – or soon. Maybe next year.
Our destination was to drop off plans for a television stand to our Amish friend, Mose. As we stood on his front porch talking to him, we got a peek of his world inside. His wife was standing at the window, ironing starched white bonnets. The untold number of children were peeking out at us. A few of the younger boys ventured outside on the porch with us, but would barely talk. One finally agreed he was nine, after Jim guessed his age up to eleven – and said he knew Greg and Allen.
I have to wonder what Mose and his son Jacob, who works with him, thinks of our fancy ideas of how furniture needs to be constructed in order to hold our many worldly toys. I envy their simple life and yet strive to clutter mine more. More to think about.
We stopped for gas at a station right outside of Boonville. See the gas sign? $3.05. It was actually $3.15. We didn’t complain, considering that was still a lot cheaper than we would have paid elsewhere. We were left wondering if the price had just gone up to $3.15 or was going down to $3.05. More to think about.
Mose’s neighbor, Jacob, and his little brother and sister, were selling baskets they had made. I bought a couple to help organize my scrapbooking supplies. Again, more thoughts about their simple life. See the little shoes on the concrete slab? It was a cool 50 degrees and both children were running around barefoot. They said their feet were not cold. Do we protect our children too much? Maybe we should give them the freedom to run barefoot more. More to think about.
Back home again, the leaves have taken over. When dad was alive, he always struggled with knowing where to drive along our never ending driveway that circles in and out of trees. So, even though dad is no longer with us, Jim blows the leaves off the drive… just in case.
So with a little determination, a lot of repetition, and belief that he will succeed, the leaves are all blown away. Even though he knows the winds will blow more leaves his way, and he will have to do it all over again in a week or so, he perseveres.