Lake City, Colorado was one of our most favorite places to take a family vacation. On one of those trips to this beautiful location, we were amazingly blessed to accidentally meet some folks that became very special friends to us.
“So, what brings you to Lake City?” asked the friendly person at the little local gas station.
“We’re just here for a short family vacation. It’s nice to get away to the mountains, where it’s much cooler than back home in Southwest Kansas!” replied Bear as he reached into his front pocket of his jeans to pull out enough change to pay for the Coke he had placed on the counter. As he held his palm open counting out the coins, of course there were at least two guitar picks nestled in amongst the silver.
“Are those guitar picks?” asked the lady clerk.
“Oh yeah, I forget to put them back in my case when I’m through playing.” Bear sheepishly responded as he slipped them back into his pocket.
“Do you sing too?”
“YES, he does!” I cut in at this point as my humble husband is way too bashful to talk about himself.
“Really?! Any chance you could do a special at our church tomorrow morning?” She brightened up with the thought of maybe something new or fresh for their morning worship time.
“Well, thank you, but I didn’t bring my guitar …” Bear picked up the soda can and was stepping back from the counter to politely end the thought of him committing to anything the next morning since he honestly didn’t have “The Baby” (his Martin guitar) with him.
But remember, I am still in the store and not so bashful –
“Oh, nonsense! There has to be a guitar somewhere here in this town that we could borrow, right?” I step forward to the counter as Bear steps aside giving me a look of “Are you nuts?! What are you doing?!”
“Actually, I do know someone who would be more than happy to let you borrow his guitar!” the women gleefully replies as she grabs a piece of scrap paper and a pen to scribble down a name while explaining to us how we can locate this mystery person. She then gives us the details of the church service with the promise that she would see us there in the morning.
Once back inside the suburban where the kids were waiting for us, Bear places his drink in the cup holder, puts the key in the ignition, and turns to me all at the same time as he dryly comments with great exasperation in his voice –
“VIC! I cannot go BORROW a guitar from a complete stranger! They don’t know me from Adam! They’re not going to do that!”
“Steve Meredith” is all that I say out loud looking at the name that was written on the slip of paper. “Down at The Texan . . .oh, that’s that campground on the south end of town, right?”
“Did you hear what I said?! Obviously you are not listening to me!” challenges Bear as he turns the ignition switch on and pulls out of the driveway.
“There is always a reason, Bear, why things happen the way that they do,” I softly say while I point in a southerly direction down the street.
“This is so stupid!” he mutters under his breath but heads in that general vicinity.
At the end of Main Street the road sharply curves down into a little campground filled with rustic log cabins, sheer cliffs walls, a roaring river skirting around its edge, including a large waterfall behind the main structures . The main cabin nearest the road had an OFFICE sign hanging on a post in front of it. There on the front porch was a large wooden porch swing with an elderly man gently swaying back and forth in the lovely afternoon sunshine.
“Are you Steve Meredith?” Bear inquires as he clicks the engine off of the truck and rolls down his window.
“Nah, Steve’s not here right now, so I’m minding the store so to speak. My name is Wayne King from Seneca, Missouri. How can I help you folks?”
And with that simple introduction, a friendship that has lasted now for almost twenty years was formed.
That night, Wayne and Margaret Ann invited a family of five strangers to their supper table. And then they asked us to spend the night as they had plenty of room, no need to go back up the mountain to camp in the dark. And say, we saw how those kids of yours lapped up Margaret Ann’s homemade rhubarb/pineapple jelly at breakfast. Here, take-a-few-jars-with-you-kind-of-hospitality.
Twenty years of love, friendship and fellowship still continues today.
We dropped by their home just the other day to see them on our way through the area. Wayne is now ninety-five years young. Margaret Ann a spring chicken at eighty-eight. They haven’t changed one bit, except they no longer are able go out to Colorado anymore. Can’t handle the altitude. But that’s okay. We’ll just detour through their state a little more often when possible.
We so appreciate this beautiful and lasting happenstance that the LORD orchestrated so long ago with the loan of a guitar.