ON THE AMISH BUS

My coat! Where’s my red coat? I didn’t have to look around my seat on the Amish Bus. Immediately knew it was lying in the backseat of my CRV that JK was already driving back home.

My mind leaped to possible solutions. JK will surely see that big RED coat! In my mind, I saw him stopped on the side of I-75 car doors open, waving my coat to flag down the bus.

I’d call to Len, the driver, “Len! That’s my husband, waving my coat. Can we stop and get it?”

I was sure the kindly driver, a native of Indiana where I was headed, would say, “Well, OK.”

I watched the side of the Interstate for this scenario to unfold. After several minutes, I thought, What if JK never noticed it?

I nodded to myself. That was more likely. JK is very focused. He was concerned about getting me to the pick-up spot on time, and now would be thinking only of getting back home. I’d need another plan.

It arrive in a blink. I’d call JK. He was in such a hurry, he’s probably already home. Maybe he will drive my coat to Mikesville, the next stop north of Gainesville.

I frowned. Problem was, Mikesville was only a rest area and not a regular pick-up place. If no one was scheduled there, the bus would not stop.

Hmm. OK, then. JK can call Crossroad Tours—I left the number on my desk for him. He can ask them to call the driver and ask him to stop. They might do that.

For a moment, I saw my situation as a headline joke: Florida girl forgets winter coat on November trip to Northern Indiana.

Dialing my cell, I worked my second plan. I called home. No answer. Where IS JK? I waited five minutes and called again. Still, no answer. Did he have car trouble?

When he answered, too much time had passed. JK could not drive my coat to Mikesville before the bus reached that point.

Though I had a knot in my stomach, I tried to sound bright. “Hi, Honey! This is your wife.”

“Well, hello, Sweetie. You must be about to Alachua by now. I just got home.”

“Not quite. JK? Know what I forgot?”

(pause) “What?”

“My winter coat! I think it’s on the back seat of the car.”

“Just a minute, I’ll look.”

I shook my head. Why? It doesn’t matter now.

red coat

Ten seconds passed, then forty. JK breathed into the phone. “Yep. It’s there. I went out to the car and brought it in. I’ll lay it on your bed.”

A lot of good that will do!

He went on, “You’ll be OK. It’s not going to be that cold up there–only in the 40s and 50s.”

That sounds cold to me! I am already chilly in the bus air-conditioning!

Working on being more positive than I felt I said, “I’ll borrow one from Auntie Alma. I can maybe wear one of David’s old ones when I get to Michigan.” Or, Goodwill can help out!

JK changed the subject. “How many people are on the bus?”

As I turned back in my seat and began to count, an “English” (read non-Amish) man across the aisle said, “Fifteen.”

I raised my eyebrows to him in question.

He said, “Fifteen people on the bus.”

Road noise was rather loud so I mouthed, “Thanks.”

I turned forward in my seat and relayed the information to JK. “I don’t have a seatmate. Lots of room for me.” And for the soft puffy double coat I had planned to lean on to sleep!

I spoke to JK. “I don’t want to chat. I want to save the cell’s battery. Don’t know when I can recharge it.”

I imagined my husband nodding at the phone when he said, “OK. I love you, Honey.”

“I love you, Sweetie. I’ll check in later if I have enough battery. ‘Bye!”

I glanced around for something I might use to lean on or cover up with. I saw only an empty white plastic grocery bag looped over the aisle seat’s arm.

Well, shucks. I sighed. I’ll have to practice enduring discomfort. I found a positive thought. The bus is heated and it’s only a seventeen hour ride.

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