Tuesday, August 24, 2010
An Unexpected Afternoon
It's not often we have any unplanned excitement on trips out of town. We like to plan carefully and make the most of our limited time. The main plan for our recent trip to the county was for the Mister to sell a few pieces of old farm equipment at a show, where there would also be a small reunion with family and friends. Also, I would squeeze in a little shopping on the side.
On our second morning, my Mister went on ahead to the tractor show, and I made plans to run a few errands and meet up with him later. I had just left my favorite bulk food store and was only a couple miles north when I encountered a black pony loose in the road. The spirited little mini pony was actually trotting after the cars, with no owner in sight. Without thinking, I immediately pulled off to the side of the road and jumped out of my car to chase the pony back into what I hoped was the right pasture. Fortunately, pony had a clue and followed all my cues back to the gate. When I stopped to catch my breath, I turned around to encounter a little boy of about 4 years old on a bicycle.
"Is your mom or dad home?" I asked.
"My dad is at work."
"Could you tell your mom that the pony got out?"
"He always gets out."
"Well, go tell your mom."
A woman's voice thanked me from an open garage and I waved a "you're welcome" as I headed back to my car. But everything changed in an instant when I discovered that my car door was locked. All the doors were locked. And my key was in the ignition, my pocketbook on the front seat, and phone too. I could have died right then and there realizing that in my haste to get the pony out of the road, I locked the car door. So in a fit of embarrassment I walked into the garage where two women were hard at work doing apple sauce. Of course, they immediately lent me a phone as I apologized for interrupting their canning session, and pony-mom apologized for the loose pony that caused it all. After a couple calls, roadside assistance was on its way and I was invited to wait on the cool porch. Mother and older son discussed fencing options and why said pony was not in his stall. Meanwhile, a sign near the porch advertising tomatoes for sale and a small table filled with brilliant heirloom varieties encouraged tourists with New York license plates to wave at me, assuming I was a quaint woman selling tomatoes outside my house. If only.
For what seemed like an eternity (but was more likely thirty minutes) there was no sign of the roadside assistance truck. A lunch invitation was extended and that is where I got to know Verna, and her mother Naomi. I gave Naomi my name and told her where I was from, and like the well-seasoned Mennonite connection pro that she was, she immediately produced familiar names and mutual acquaintances. Naomi also had a lot of ideas and opinions which she was not at all shy about sharing, and I found her candor refreshing. After lunch, Verna insisted that I not help her clean up, and her beautiful little daughter followed me outside to wait with me for the truck.
"Did you know you had locked your door?" she asked sincerely.
"No, definitely not!" I laughed.
Later on, after roadside assistance had gotten me back in my car and my good-byes were said, I went directly to our section at the farm show to tell the Mister of my unusual afternoon. I told him about Verna's warm hospitality, and Naomi who knew so many of the same people we knew, and the Mister pondered "What are the odds...?"
Frankly, the odds were pretty good. I'm just sorry I didn't get a picture of the pony that started it all.