Editor’s Note: Following is a page from my spiritual notebook.

The sun slanted from the west. Since Indiana was my home stompin’ grounds, I was behind the wheel as JK and I drove toward a rural small town in Indiana.

I rolled west on US6 and I confessed.”I can’t quite recall how to get to Wakarusha.”

He said, “I thought you knew where it was.”

“I do –sorta’. I was there once about fifteen years ago when my cousins lived there before. But, I can’t recall which roads I took. “

At a major traffic light, I silently studied notes I’d made as Cousin Jason directed me. Aloud, I said, “We need 19, north.

 Indiana corn, tasseled

Indiana corn, tasseled

Corn fields showed golden tassels on my right and soybeans bushed a kelly green on my left. The road curved. I saw county road signs. One said “19.”

There’s County 19!” I couldn’t turn fast in traffic, so I drove on, then swung back.

I drove back and read the sign. “Yep. It says 19 –it goes north. This must be it.”

The blacktop was a very curvy two-lane with farms and soybeans sprawled on both sides. After an intersection, the road continued on unpaved.

Gravel? Small stones pinged my CRV’s underside. “Jason didn’t say anything about gravel. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything to them.” Seems odd.

JK said nothing. Approaching the next

intersection I said, “JK, look at the map for me.”

His tone was flat.”I didn’t bring my glasses.”

Grr! I need a map-reader.

I stopped at a paved road. I studied my notes again, but found no clue whether this road was right. I unfolded a large Indiana map, but tiny blue lines of county roads were not numbered. Where AM I?

I scowled. My new cell phone has Google maps, but JK would need his glasses.

“Dagnabbit! I’m tired of gravel. I’m going to drive west on this paved one—County 50. We’re still going to be late!”

“You’ll get there.” JK commented.

I frowned. At least 50 is on the map and intersects with another 19 –US 19!


The dashboard clock. showed 6:45. Can I make it by 7:00? I didn’t bring their new phone number!

“ &$@*!” I grit my teeth.

JK said nothing.

Why is this so h-a-r-d?

As I drove, an Amish horse-drawn cart appeared ahead of me. Careful to slow down and give the horse a lot of space, I passed a placid pair of ladies wearing white prayer coverings and pastel dresses.

Suddenly, I was aware the farm houses on both sides had no electric lines running to them. Amish! My life would be less complicated if it were stripped down to horse-and-buggy living.

At an intersection I saw a large red detour sign. I pictured myself driving all over kingdom come, getting further lost. “Detour! $@*!”

I looked at the road ahead. Is this passable? What’s the detour about?

Just then, a farmer wearing a straw hat and sporting a long brown beard drove a blue tractor to the intersection’s stop sign on my left. An Amish on a tractor?

I turned to JK. “I think I’ll ask that Amish man about the road ahead.”

Unconcerned, JK said, “OK.”

I buzzed down my power window, leaned out and yelled over the noise of our vehicles.

“Can I get through the road ahead?”

The farmer put his hand to his ear and switched off his ignition. I repeated my question. “ Can I get though on county road 50?”

He shouted, “Where you goin?”

I yelled back, “19!”

Oh, ya!” He smiled. “It’s ahead, about four miles.”

“Thank you!” I smiled and waved another thanks. I rolled on.

The distance felt like more than four miles. Just when I began to despair, I saw a major two-laned blacktop. Finally!

JK and I were only five minutes late when I parked in my cousins’ driveway.

Later that night, I apologized to JK for my bad language when I was lost.

He nodded. “I know you were upset.”

“It’s no excuse.”

Cursing didn’t help a thing and I felt bad. Why did I do it?

Old habits die hard. I learned swearing from my mother. She used bad words when she was upset.

When I was about twelve, Mother tried to change. She bit off curses and substituted, “Horse feathers!” and “Oh, sugar!”

As a teen, trying to be rebellious and cool, I swore with peers. But, once I started teaching, like Mother, I substituted “Dagnabbit!” and “Rats!”

Being under time pressure and lost in the countryside stripped away my best intentions.

I wanted a peaceful ride through farmland and a short, pleasant visit with my young cousins. Instead, I slipped back into old ways.

Bad habits can be defeated, but only with a vigilance born of centered calm.

My battle continues.

Frances Fritzie

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