THE INVITATION

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

The blue email address read, “Cvcyr@…” Oh! It’s Carol. I smiled. My high school girlfriend was outspoken and her heartfelt words often touched my soul. But this time she wasn’t reflective. Instead, she had sent me an invitation. It said:

Please come to a luncheon!

Where: Joanna’s in Waterford.

When: Nov, 7, 2014 11:30

What: Get together for Tonya and Evie

See you there!”

After the formal information came Carol’s sincere words:

Fritzie, I know you can’t be there. You’ll be missed!”

Tears welled as I stared at the words on the neon white screen. But, I want to go! My problem was the event was to happen in Northern Indiana. I was reading the invitation over a thousand miles away in Gainesville, Florida.

The previous week, I had trouble with my rented Michigan condo and had researched flights north to work on it. Due to short notice and Thanksgiving, the flight costs listed for over $1,000.00 No way I can afford flying. And, no bus, either!

In 2007, I booked Greyhound services from my Florida home to Grand Rapids, Michigan. That experience generated my first book, An Accidental Pilgrimage. The ride had been great writing fodder, but I didn’t want to repeat it.

And, November’s no time for me to drive up. Commonly, I drove north to visit for a month or so every summer. Even driving in rain makes me skittish. I won’t take a chance with miles of ice or snow. I’m stuck!

I sniffled as tears wet my cheeks. Leaving the e-mail on the screen, I paced the house. Like a dog looking out the window of a safe, warm house and seeing squirrels romping in the snow, I growled to myself. This is no good.

I caught my negativity and reminded myself, I’m only trapped if I allow it. What about a car ride?

I-75 that ran north only a mile from my house. Surely someone I know is going north. I could ride with them -if I just knew who to ask!

Walking from room to room trigged my memory. I recalled party hostess, Carol, had driven to South Florida and was there right now on business. She’ll be driving back! I padded back to the computer and typed.

Dear Carol,

I know you are in Ft. Myers and you must be returning to Goshen in time for the Nov. 7 party!

I want to attend. Flying is just too expensive right now. Are you driving up I-75? If so, can I hitch a ride north with you?

Let me know!

Blessings***

Fritzie”

Early next morning, I read her reply.

Sorry kid! We are flying back. How about the Amish Bus?

I’d love to see you!

Carol.”

Amish Bus? Over the past several years, I’d heard various Goshen people mention it. The trip originated nearby. It carried area Amish people –who drive horse and buggies but not cars –to an area of Sarasota, Florida called Pinecraft. Many retired and vacationing Amish spend time there near the Gulf of Mexico.

I Googled “Amish Bus” and found an article about Dale Swartzendruber who started a bus service that runs south from Ohio. Though I had heard one of the Amish Bus stops was Goshen’s Walmart, I didn’t see anything about such a route. Now what?

I paced the house again, but nothing came to me, so I made dishwater and suds-ed breakfast’s oatmeal bowls. While I splashed bubbling Palmolive on the glasses, I remembered the previous summer’s visit with my elementary school girlfriend Muffin and her husband, Doug.

5th Grade-far left: Doug. Far right: Muff

5th Grade-far left: Doug. Far right: Muff

That afternoon, JK and I had sat in their living room and had a chat. Somewhere in our conversation, Doug had said “I’m the go-to guy.”

Go-to guy? I had known Doug and Muffin since kindergarten, but I had no idea he was so connected.

Memory faded. I stood at my Florida sink and stacked a clean lid against its pot to dry. I’ll email Doug and see what he knows. I toweled my hands, trotted back to the computer and rattled its keyboard.

Hey Doug, Finder of Things!

  I would love to try to make the GHS ’62 Girls’ party Nov. 7, there in Goshen. 

I wonder if it’s possible for me to catch The Amish Bus on its’ way up I-75 from Sarasota.

   I don’t know who to call and ask! The Internet tells about a company run by Swartzendruber, but I think it’s an Indian Trails bus. 

  Do you know anything?

  Thanks Guy!

  Fritzie

Before noon, Doug replied,

Good morning Fritzie,

Here is the info you requested. The name is Crossroad Tours.  Two numbers are:

260- 768- 7549 or 260- 768- 7547.

Hope you can work things out.

Doug

I took a breath and my heart warmed. God must have seen my tears. I’m gong to make it to see the girls after all!

Frances Fritzie

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