|The clam steamer that started our odyssey.|
A buyer purchased a vintage clam steamer with the provision I'd get it our right away. I ship quickly regardless, so I agreed to work a special trip into my schedule in order to unload it. I'm grateful for each sale, but anything that's languished too long--especially if it's large and expensive--generates fist-pumping glee, punctuated by a loud whoop.
|George at FedEx, in 2010. This |
time around, though, both boy and
package are much bigger.
George loves bus rides as much as I enjoy selling vintage kitchenwares. It's Ozone Action Day, meaning dangerous air quality and free rides on The Rapid. I tote the bulky package a few blocks to the bus stop. I would've taken my cart, but the parcel is too big to fit and I figure we don't have far to walk. As we approach my favorite FedEx along the river in downtown Grand Rapids, I begin to feel anxious when the bus detours. I debate getting off, but figure it will come back, closer to its original route; instead, it goes farther, leaving us a half mile from our destination.
But I'm a fast walker, even with the box. I juggle it from hip to front, then back again, and consider putting it on my head. My arms beg relief but there's no time to rest--the pickup is in 10 minutes, and I must be on time. I foist it upon my son, who, though bigger by the day, barely sees over the wall of corrugated cardboard.
|Point Roberts, Washington is an exclave. |
So was FedEx.
I'm not the cussing type, or my son would augment his vocabulary as I futilely try the door. I haven't sworn in my entire life, a factoid that amazed my friend Tammy when I mentioned it last week. Even so, I feel ill-used by the FedEx management that opted to shut down rather than endure Maytag Man boredom, leaving me with not the gloriously empty arms I had anticipated, but an oversized parcel I hardly know what to do with.
We pass restaurants hopping with dinner patrons on our return to the bus stop. I feel self-conscious whenever it's George's turn to carry the box, fearing they'll question my parental fitness. As much as I strive to save resources--both financial and natural--I question my decision to leave our Nissan garaged. But I promised the buyer I'd send the package today, and even though I've already missed the 6:00 FedEx Ground pickup, I begrudgingly resolve to keep my word by upgrading the shipping and taking it to another location for the 8:00 Express. My free bus ride--in a situation I call "frugality gone awry"--will cost me dearly in additional shipping fees. I silently curse the clam steamer, failing to remember that--inconvenience and extra expense aside--my problems are not real problems, and my thrift saves an astonishing amount in the aggregate.
George and I finally divest ourselves of the parcel two and a half hours after leaving home. We wait at the bus stop again. And wait. And wait. The bus is late, just when I feel most desperate to be done.
|George's first bus ride of the day. |
Today it's far from his last.
Our journey has taken turns we didn't expect. And as I linger on the sidewalk, chatting up a neighbor who's mulching his flower beds, George hurries to his waiting father.
It is sweet to be home.
Dear Uncle Mark, may you, too, be surprised by blessing on the tough road you face, and cling to the truth that a loving heavenly father awaits.
And it is sweet to be home. It is sweet to be home.
Have you ever felt blessed, just when blessings seemed they should be farthest from your mind?