Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Walking with the wise - part 2

So far, here in St Louis, we have successfully made friendly contact with every neighbor we have met. This has been reassuring to us, as we are now living in "town" and we have the only bus on the block.

However, there was one neighbor, an older man who lives across the street, whom we hadn't spoken to or
waved at. The boys noticed he would occasionally stand in his driveway and stare towards our driveway, where our bus is parked, with a blank look on his face.

He never smiled or waved. It had to be a "get rid of the bus" look. How else could you explain such a thing?

Most of the winter passed in this way. But one day, this same gentleman knocked on our door. He explained that he and his wife were given a huge bag of bagels, and if we wanted them, we could call his wife and make arrangements. He handed me a paper with their name and phone number and house number. He wasn't gregarious, but he wasn't mean. I was unsure of what to say, but rather than put it off, I just called right away.

"I am so glad you finally called! We are so excited you moved in! We
didn't even know your name or phone number. We had six children ourselves! Do your children like to play games? We get free bread once a week and never know what to do with it....." and on and on! She chatted for about 15 minutes about church, the neighborhood, children, how great it is that we homeschool, etc. It was so funny! Since were were getting ready to go to church, I offered to have Zak go by and pick up the bagels. Zak and Noah went over and brought back a large bagful of deluxe bakery bagels (not the ones in tubes).

"She's just like Grandma B," Zak said. Grandma B is the nicest older lady
you have ever met! So, in Grandma B's honor, we named our neighbor "Grandma P".

But Zak also said, "Mom, they have the absolute WORST view of the bus! It's
all you can see of our house from their window!" That was ironic, that the neighbors who are the friendliest to us are staring at the least flattering part of our bus! Perhaps she had a soft spot for us, but he was irritated by the bus?

A few days later, Dave and I walked over to say thanks for the bagels and drop off a little thank you gift. We were invited in, and Grandma P lamented that "Papa" wasn't in.

What she said next explained why he would frequently stare at our bus from his driveway, and it absolutely floored us.

"Oh, I wish Papa was here to meet you.

You see, Papa was a church bus driver for 50 years.

He knows everything about buses inside and out.

He is dying to see your bus!"


One evening, we loaded up the bus for Wednesday night prayer meeting. Since our driveway is steep, we block the rear duallies with big hunks of limestone when we park. I pulled forward, and the boys pulled out the rocks. Suddenly, the brakes seemed to slip, and within seconds, we realized we had no brakes. The only thing keeping us from rolling into the street was that the transmission was in drive!

But the Lord kept us safe, and we blocked the tires without a problem. A quick check revealed that the brake line had sprung a leak. We had just enough fluid in the line to prevent the electric back up brakes from kicking in! We gave thanks to God.

Still praising the Lord, we began to think of the next step. Though we were exceedingly joyful for finding out about the lack of brakes before we started driving the streets of St Louis, we wondered if this was the death knell for the bus.

We went for a nice walk around the block before heading back into the house. We discussed the interest of Grandpa P, and his willingness to give advice. So, the next morning, we asked him about the problem.

We were so thankful when he eagerly agreed to come by. He and the boys were soon under the bus, checking the break in the line and discussing what to do. To our surprise, he said it was a pretty easy fix, all we needed was some brake line and a flaring tool -- and he had the flaring tool already!

Soon, the work began. The re-connection was easily made, but the line continued to leak from the new connection, which was puzzling. As every thing was checked and double checked, the boys listened to our neighbor tell horror story after horror story about buses! This brought us parents great joy, as we have relatively few years of bus experience under our belts, and appreciated the opportunity to learn from some one with 50 years of experience! We are so thankful to the Lord for providing a helpful neighbor with time and wisdom to share with us.

After a few days, it was decided to replace the whole line. Another neighbor, who noticed us working on the bus, volunteered some ideas, and said he had tons of extra brake line in his shop. (This made us wonder if everyone on this street is a bus mechanic!) In what seemed like no time, the whole line was replaced, the leak gone, the brakes felt good and tight, and we were on the road again!

Now there's no stopping us!

(Maybe I should rephrase that?)

When we later had Grandma and Grandpa P over for an appreciation lunch, we listened to more of their stories...such as when Grandpa P's car broke down in a bad part of town, and as he walked down the street looking for an auto shop, he found the EXACT size wrench he needed to re-attach his belt in the gutter! He used it to get his car running, returned it to its location in the gutter, and was on his way. God is good!

We really enjoyed our visit with them, and they seemed to enjoy having us around too. It was funny when they asked us exactly how it was we happened to move into this particular house.

Wasn't it obvious?

"The LORD knew we needed a brake job!"

No comments: