My husband worked on December 24th. I questioned him, as I handed him his morning coffee, if the commuter trains were actually going to be running that day. I suggested he drive into The City instead. He pulled out the train schedule and assured me that there was indeed a train to catch. I reminded him that 3 of his 4 children (and his wife!) were participating musically in the 6pm “family” worship service and it would be nice if he caught an early train home; otherwise, the 2 oldest boys would be a part of the 8:30pm service and he could join us then.
So at 4:55pm, when I am already running late… in sweats, trying to get 4 boys changed into dress clothes and what was I going to wear myself?… the phone rings with SuperDad’s special ring: “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”
He thinks he’s on the wrong train, but he’s not sure.
I tell him I can’t talk, we have to leave (like, 10 minutes ago) but to text me when he knows for sure. I haven’t even pulled out of the driveway when I get a text message. He’s on the wrong train. I hand the phone to a boy and tell him to text for me: I’ll pick you up after the first service is over.
I get 3 more texts (sheesh!) while I’m at church. We ring, I sing, we ring some more. We hand in our bells, put away our gloves, and squeeze past everyone chatting and shaking the pastor’s hand. So much for wishing folks a Merry Christmas! I leave it to the oldest boy to explain our rapid departure.
I note that I have about 1/8 tank of gas, because I wasn’t planning on driving anywhere this weekend. I get stuck behind pokey drivers who don’t know where they are going (I’m talking about you, out-of-town relatives!) or are afraid of well-sanded roads… or maybe they just want to look at the lights? Anyhow, no one is speeding and that is what I want to do! Meanwhile, H-J is programing our destination into the GPS that was thankfully left in the minivan.
Glory be! After 20 minutes of doing the hokey-pokey, we hit 4-lane divided highway with a 80mph 65mph speed limit. Sadly, it doesn’t change our arrival time, but at least I feel like I’m getting somewhere!
7:56pm. There is the restaurant that SuperDad wisely took himself to (he texted me during church that he was having a steak and a beer!!) because no one else has time for supper tonight. Truly, I don’t mind — I’d rather he was happy & fed and not at an empty train station.
Buckle up and hang on, honey! No comments allowed on my speeding driving, because I just want to get back and actually sit down at church (unlike the first service). I know the roads well, that 80 mph 65mph road and the rest of the way back. Oops, that would be the “feed me” light for the gas tank. Will we make it? Maybe if we slow down… but only for the 2-lane highway.
We make it back to town, wondering if we should stop and gas up. It’s 8:35pm and the BP station is closed. The 7-11 is open, but it is on the wrong side of the street and has a line-up of cars. Besides, church started 5 minutes ago!
We make it to church 15 minutes late. The 2nd Advent candle has been lit and the pastor is calling for the Passing of the Peace… Christmas Peace. I need some of that! We shake hands on our way to the seats that SnakeMaster & Humorous-Juniorous have already found. SuperDad stands out in his work uniform, but I am just glad to be there and to have him next to me. To sit and listen once again to the Christmas story. To see and hear MusicMan ringing with the adult handbell choir. To see and hear EncyclopediaBlue singing with the adult choir. To hold my candle, tilt it and light it — and pass on that light. To sing Silent Night by candlelight.
After the service is over, we drive to 7-11 and buy 19 gallons of gasoline.
Steve Martin & John Candy in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” from Google images