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no phones : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Biographical Blog We appreciate instant access with cellphones

I don’t leave home without my cell phone. Having the phone, especially since we’re geezers, gives me confidence that if we have a car or health emergency, we can quickly summon help.

I have a reason for being uneasy. Years ago, after our daughter graduated from college, she spent a year south of Branson working with at-risk youth in a leadership program. She was in charge of putting together a weekend for parents to come and learn about the program.

It was a long drive from Kearney, but we planned to do it all in one long day. However, our car died south of Kansas City. Without my cell we would not have been able to contact AAA for assistance. Our car was hauled to a nearby town. We hoped it wouldn’t take too long to fix as we were on a tight timeline. After carefully checking over the car, we were told the car was dead. No amount of “fixing” would make that car go. The garage helped us get ahold of Enterprise. Thankfully, the garage agreed to keep the car until we returned in a couple of days. (We ended up buying a car to get home.) We made it to the opening function while everyone was still eating.

When we lived in Wisconsin in the 1950s where my father pastored a church, we were thankful to have one phone in the house. When my father took a church in a dying oil town, Lance Creek, Wyoming, north of Lusk, there were no phones when we arrived.

The town consisted of small settlements named after the oil companies that owned them. Other than housing there wasn’t much more than a filling station, a garage, a café, a bar, a Walmart-style store (groceries and much more), a Catholic church with a once-a-month service, our church that served a wide area, an elementary school, a lumberyard, and an IOOF Hall.

If we needed to contact dad at the church where he had his office, one of us had to walk or ride a bike the uphill mile and a half to the church. Mom didn’t drive and dad had the only car. We were often out of contact with dad when he visited the ranches in the area. He’d be gone the whole day. A few times I got to go with him. We went from paved to gravel, to almost footpaths at some points. We found few bridges. We crossed streams that during rainstorms would become impassible.

The ranchers were glad for a visitor. At times Dad comforted, counseled, or simply listened, finally offering a passage from God’s Word and prayer.

What if it had stormed while he was gone? What if he’d had an accident? No one would even know where to look for him. I viewed those trips as adventures, never considering the possible risks Dad took back then. It did not matter to him. He was a pastor who cared about the needs of people, even if they never darkened the door of the church. For many ranchers, Sunday attendance was just too far and complicated.

I look back with a shiver as I slip my cell phone into my purse before heading out the door. I can’t help but wonder how today’s generation would handle the inability to readily connect. I am thankful for my memories because they remind me to be thankful as I turn on my cell and let our daughter know we’re on our way.

© 2021 Carolyn R Scheidies

The original version of My Hub Column published 4/12/2021

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