“If we could just get out of town” was my mantra last week as we prepared to head to Keystone Lake in Oklahoma. The In-Laws were snuggled in there, competing with us on who was more anxious to see the other. Afterall, it had been over a year since our Texas Snowbirds and our schedules had lined up to reunite.
The plan was to leave Thursday afternoon. Due to life’s unexpected surprises that week, there was no way we were ready when the estimated time of departure arrived. Cliff’s job had snafus that kept him running. We had no clean clothes. Exhaustion of the mental and physical kind were weighing heavy. Knowing gale force winds were not worth fighting for 3 1/2 +hours, we opted to catapult out of bed the next morning, refreshed and ready to take on the highways with dazzling smiles.
Cliff left before 7 a.m. to get his hands squared away at work. He’d be home 7:15 at the latest. The evening had allowed us to get packed-with clean clothes even. Due to a literal ‘key’ mistake, I would be transporting our daughter’s car to Camp Horizon in Arkansas City and Cliff would pick me up. I was ready! Then the call came…
One of the employees had a tree blow over on his car from severe winds in the night. Two guys called in sick. The much-loved dog of the boss died which added a dramatic twist. Eleven fires in the county had burned the night before and two employees had been out all night fighting those. Work plans were being changed at lightning speed. I could hear the frustration in Cliff’s voice as he assured me as soon as he could he was on his way. I conforted him that these were bigger fish to fry and we’ll get there one way or another.
At 8:45 he pulls up, jumps through the shower and proclaims he has to get fuel in the truck. Another delay compounded with a stop to get the necessary caffeine to keep him running.
Finally I lead the charge in the Kia since he has no idea where we are going. I put the pedal to the metal until I am reminded we are in Kansas in the summer about 5 miles out-of-town. Wheat trucks. Road construction. Tractors. Grrrr…. Finally we hit a stretch of highway that is free and clear. I look down at Casey’s speedometer and it has decided to take a break. It is at zero. Oh great! Just what we need. I conservatively guesstimate and go. Ever so often it would wake up, then take a dive. Speed Racer did not need a ticket.
Cliff follows close behind as we weave our way down the narrow gravel road going to the isolated camp ground—along with every Methodist parent in South Central Kansas on the way to pick up their beloved campers. Yes, it is 11 am on Friday. As we park and then search for our lead camperoo, we are accosted by hoards of campers who are excited to see their parents and some in tears knowing they will not survive not being able to witness every breath of their new very best friends in the whole wide world they will be leaving. Caught in a slow-moving sea of parents, we pitch Casey her keys as we swim back against the current to get on the road.
My dazzling smile had dulled to the gnashing of teeth by this time.
Finally! Prue, OK here we come. I become little Kelly MapQuest and announce to Cliff that there are several ways to get there, but, sadly, none are good. We take a guess and proceed onward, but starvation cause us to stop for lunch. We feel the frustration boil. We should have been at our destination way before lunch. Double grrr….
As the roads start getting narrower and generous with potholes, we come to a Y in the road. We ponder which are we supposed to take.
“Robert Frost would say to take the road less traveled, but I’m guessing that theory won’t get us to Prue,” I say.
“Who’s Robert Frost?” Mr. Longfellow asks as he heads down the road most traveled.
“He’s a famous poet that evidently had never been in eastern Oklahoma.”
The roads wind around to the point if we had a GPS, it would have had to take 2 Excedrine Migraine and requested a dark cool room to sleep off a screamer of a headache. We know Cliff’s dad has to be antsy as all get out by now. We are amazed he hasn’t jammed the Verizon system by now.
As we discover civilization and are cruising down what we guess is downtown Prue, the phone buzzes. A familiar gravely voices asks, “Where are you kids?”
In a couple of minutes, we finally pull up to the lakeside haven and are joyously welcomed. The frustrations of our delayed time frames have been forgotten. We got there and that is all that mattered.
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21
We may never know the reasons for delays, but we trust there was purpose—even if it could have been an uninvited lesson in patience.