I left for the airport early, but I wasn’t looking forward to this trip. After I had accepted the assignment, the town where the event would be held had been flooded. I called the hostess, expressed my sympathy and offered to reschedule. She was adamant the event continue. Then she said, “We need your funny stories.”
But I didn’t want to be funny. My grandparents had been flooded years ago when Kentucky’s Cumberland River jumped its banks. I knew about lost photos and family treasures. I knew about Bibles with family history found in the mud. How could I present silly accounts to folks who experienced that? Lord, please help was my constant prayer.
The prayer remained I approached the check-in counter. As I pulled out ID, an agent called for attention.
“A storm is approaching. If you’re scheduled for the Chicago 8:25, follow me for immediate departure.”
That was me. My group was rushed through security and onto a packed plane. My new seat was at a window in the back.
I always request a forward aisle assignment, so I grumpily plopped down as my seat mate arrived.
“How ya doin’ today?” he said as he buckled up.
“Fine.” I was in no mood for chitchat.
“This earlier flight was surely a surprise, huh?”
“Sure was.” I reached for a magazine. Maybe if I read he would ignore me.
“You going to visit grandkids?”
His assumption irritated me. “No. Business.”
“Oh. What do you do?”
I sighed. “I talk.”
“Really?” He undoubtedly wanted to add, “Could’ve fooled me.” But he said, “What about?”
“Look,” I said. “I’m known for my funny stories. I tell about goofy relatives and zany experiences from the School of Hard Knocks. But now I’m going to a flooded town, and I don’t want to be funny.”
He leaned back. “You can be grumpy after you speak. Those people need to laugh for a few minutes. They won’t be forgetting their pain. They’ll just be reminded good days will come again.”
I murmured a surprised “Uh, thanks” as he closed his eyes. Then I watched the ground rush by as the plane headed into the sky. God had answered my prayer.
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