Miriam was an older lady, stockier than this image, a heavier long coat, wearing a little hat, with rouge smudged on her chubby cheeks and a dab of non-matching red lipstick on her lips. She sat with her purse at the bus station.
In I came with a very pregnant belly, lugging two suitcases and a purse, with tickets in hand, trying to figure out (in a limited stop-over time) which bus I was to take next to get across the water to Victoria. It was the largest bus station I had ever seen and I wasn’t experienced at traveling. I was lost.
I swear that little lady LEAPED up and across the huge crowded room, elbowing whom she needed to in order to get to me quickly. She grabbed my two suitcases. I thought I was being robbed!
No, she said, you can’t be carrying all this weight. Where do you need to go and let’s get you there, she said. This little lady had to be out-weighed by my suitcases! But she looked at my ticket, got me all set up and suitcases loaded (she was a bit bossy with the bus driver, too!). Then she looked at the clock and said we had time to sit for a visit. Did I need to use the restroom? Would I like a cup of water or tea?
A delay was announced and there I was stuck with a delighted Miriam Gilchrist. But what an afternoon it was! She showed me the contents of her purse which had a beautiful drawing sketched on the back of a church bulletin. (Her sort of boyfriend did it for her..she giggled). She told me about her family – they didn’t like her hanging out at the bus station and were worried she’d get hurt. She bought me snacks for the rest of my trip (I had money but she insisted on some healthy things she wanted me to have). She kept her eye on the clock. “I hope we get you on your bus soon,” she said, “I need to be getting home before the kids get home from work.”
Finally, my bus was ready to load. The bus driver allowed Miriam to see me to my seat and bid me adieu. She scolded him on the way out, “You almost made me late for my ride home again, Thomas!” He apologized and gave her a hug. “Now you see she gets off at Sydney and watch that her grandparents are there to meet her or you stay with her until they get there!” she added, pointing a finger at his nose.
She stood on the sidewalk, checking the clock, and waving at me until we pulled out. “I see you’ve met Miriam Gilchrist,” the bus driver said with a huge grin. “You must have lost your money, gotten hurt .. or, oh well, just your condition probably gave her the signal. She’s our bus stop angel.”
In my pocket, Miriam had stuck something as we left. Again, being a tad wary, I thought she was checking my pockets. I checked them as I sat on the bus. A little handwritten card, sort of smudged and wrinkled, said, “God loves you and is with you every where you go.”
Thank you to Flight of Phoenix face book page