Rain freckled my Honda’s windshield as I turned east. I bumped over a double set of railroad tracks, took a breath and began driving several miles through Amish country. While many motorists avoided these county roads used by the slow Amish horse-and- buggies, I found their life-style peaceful. I enjoyed the occasional slow-down behind a buggy and used the time to study crops in roadside fields.

    Today I studied corn crops: some green, but less than two feet tall. A few were shorter and yellowish either badly water-soaked or planted late due to the chilly rainy spring. Other fields looked fallow. Mounting a hill, I smiled at several acres showing low, bushy green plants. Must be soybeans.

Like a dog’s toenails crossing linoleum, rain tapped the Honda. It reminded me to spend the first of my two-hour drive to Grand Rapids, Michigan in silence. No radio or CD’s.

Turning east onto Indiana Highway 4, Ninepatch crossed my mind. What shall I write for the August issue?

Heading east, I passed orderly rows of healthy corn and Amish homes without electric connections where washing fluttered from an outdoor line. The sights connected me to the slower-living people and moved me from life’s fast lane. A thought came: I’ll take a picture every time I stop for a red light. Perhaps a story will be in my journey.

At the amber blinker intersection of Indiana Highways 4 and 13, I turned north on 13. Remembering my photo plan, I patted my phone/camera. That wasn’t a “stop.”

The traffic light at the intersection of US Highway 20 was green. I continued into Middlebury, a small town whose main street reminded me of my hometown in the 1950s. Tidy Main Street homes with wide front porches called passersby to “Come sit a spell!”

In its downtown, rain ended. I met my first stop light and snapped a picture.

A shop in Middlebury’s downtown

Farther north at another Indiana stop light, I dropped my phone while trying to turn on its camera. Reaching for it, I heard the truck behind me toot. Without touching the phone, I pushed on. No last photo before the Indiana Toll Road.

I sailed through the next green light about a football field’s length from the Michigan State Line and large blue sign declaring, Pure Michigan!

Rolling on, I curved right and left then bumped over a railroad crossing. A sad memory perked into my mind there, but I turned off its “heat” and shut it down.

No need to give energy to sad memories.

At the White Pigeon intersection, the light turned red. I grabbed my phone from the floor of the car where it had fallen, and managed a hurried shot of the number of this Michigan-numbered highway.

Michigan Highway 131

Near corn fields by a seed company, I breathed the energy of tall green cornstalks. Further on, my res purred as I rolled over new pavement. When I am quiet, I enjoy ordinary sights and sounds.

Several miles later I smiled to see planted acres where three huge yellow machines harvested some kind of green plants. At least one farmer’s crop was not ruined by too much rain!

Minutes later, the road climbed and curved through lush pine trees. Perhaps pioneers traveling through a virgin pine forest also felt peace.

Five miles later, showers resumed near Three Rivers where two lanes spread into four. Orange and white striped cones marched along the dividing white line. At a stoplight, construction was protected by large striped barrels and fencelike barricades.

I sat up straighter, preparing for traffic changes and four lanes of “city” traffic. Not far to Schoolcraft now!

Schoolcraft is a village on 131 just before the limited access four-lane with fifty-five speed limits changed to an expressway with legal limits of seventy.

The small town held memories dating back to 1969 when my first husband and I lived in Grand Rapids. Our children’s grandparents in Indiana occasionally drove “halfway” to meet us for a meal at The Bell, a local eatery. Often, they took one or both children back with them for a weekend visit. Wayne and/or I would return two days later and pick them up. I recalled one visit when my parents drove up to return Brian who was then our only child. He had stayed several days with them at their Syracuse Lake home.

When the time came for him to get into my car, Brian had cried and clung to my mother who treated him like a prince. Poor kid! Being at home was not as much fun.

The village remained a stopping point for my drives to visit my Grand Rapids’ sons but the restaurant I used was now McDonalds. Turning in, I found a parking place and shut down the Honda’s engine.

Schoolcraft’s McDonalds

Holding my keys, I sat a moment reflecting on my trip. I’m blessed to have this quiet part of my trip. I feel God’s touch before I step into the hurry-up pace of the expressway and metropolitan Grand Rapids.

Frances Fritzie

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