I was standing in line at the local Aldi's grocery store. You pay a quarter for your cartsand then when you take the cart from the parking lot back to where they are stored and link the little chain from the cart in front to yours you get that quarter back. It's a great plan. There are never carts left in the parking lotthey don't pay for a 'cart person'carts aren't stolenor damagedor damaging vehicles. Such a simple planbut very effective. I'm much impressed with that. Only one problem. I am forever heading off to Aldi's and discovering that I have billsor that in that pile of change in my pocketI don't happen to have a quarter. I could always go in and get change from the cashieror whateverbut usuallyI'm in a rushwalking at a fast clip. More often than notI'll just head inside to get the few things that I need. AnywaysyesterdayI rushed ingrabbed my half and halfmy chicken brothcheddar cheesea couple whole wheat baguettesand a cake mixand I headed for the line.
There was quite a lineand the elderly woman in front of me saw me standing there with my armload and began to rush to get her groceries loaded on the conveyor so that I could set my things down. I told her not to rush. She clucked a little. "You've got such an arm load I'm afraid you're going to drop something." "No," I assured her. "I'm a mom. I'm used to juggling." And that made both her and the woman behind us laugh out loud. So we began to blabmostly because I can't stand quietly to save my lifeand because I was sure that I knew that elderly lady from somewhere. When I asked hershe timidly said"You're not that lady that writes in the paperare you?" and I said yes. She grinned big. "I'm Nancy from the Scandia Church," and I remembered her instantly. There was a flurry of talking then. "Where's Pastor James headed to?" I asked herand she told me that he was going to Iron CityMichigan. I've been there. It's a town in the upper peninsula of Michigan.
Michigan's upper peninsula is a remote area. I was living in Michigan when the entire peninsula finally received phone servicein the very late eighties. Used to be that they would travel an hour just to use a phone. This was in the old daysbefore cell phones became ubiquitous. It is a flat heavily wooded area. In the old days it was a mining area. Copperiron ore. A lot of shipping industry toobeing right on Lake Huron. As we passed through Munising in Junewe were amazed to seeeven stillmassive sheets of ice pushed up against some of the banksstanding on their edgedwarfing the buildings in front of thema souvenier of a bitterly cold winter. It was the first time in years that Lake Huronthe coldest of all the Great Lakes had actually frozen overcompletely.
I finished my visit with Nancyand I bagged my groceries and headed for the cardaydreaming about Michigan. It is endless fascination to meother people's lives in other places. When I was youngerI wanted to see everything. I wanted to live everywhere. Now I am 52. It's not practical. My Tim is settled in where he is always going to beand I love Tim. Our ordinary days pass by in our corner of the worldjust as they do for every one else on this planet. I read blogs nowand they usually fulfill that longing in mebut on this daywalking across the parking lotthat restless longing hit me full forceand I envied Pastor James and his family heading off on their new adventure.