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It was on a frosty morning a few years ago when the phone rang.

Too early for callers, I wasn’t expecting the interruption. And already in the middle of a project, savoring rare moments of quiet before the day’s tasks pressed in, I was a little annoyed.

I ignored it—hoping the ringing would stop.

But it didn’t, so I picked up.

It was the Preacher.

He hesitated in asking, but after admitting he’d forgotten his keys and watch before leaving for work, he needed me to bring them.

His office was half an hour away.

After silence stretched, he begged, I’ll meet you halfway.

I’m still in my bathrobe, I replied, realizing the inevitable, but trying anyway to avoid it.

Just come. You’ll be driving in the middle of nowhere, and no one will see you…

It’s true. Life in a ghost town often means somebody’s walking or driving to the Post Office in their slippers and pj’s. And nobody cares.

He continued, I’ve got to have those keys for the cabinets, and if I come all the way home, it’ll be an hour trip.

This was not the first time he had left without his keys.

You really need to get duplicates made, I suggested kindly, but pointedly.

Since it couldn’t be avoided, though, I agreed to meet him.

Just drive, he said, and we’ll meet in the middle. Desperation edged his voice. Can you leave now?

Yes, but after I change into sweats. I’ll see you soon. (I am not one of those who wear their jammies waltzing through the neighborhood. To water the backyard garden, yes, but not to stroll down main street! Even though the livestock population in my neighborhood does outnumber the human population…)

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Shortly, with the requested items in hand, I took off through our sleepy town, and headed for the hills.

The wintery morning was crisp, bright, invigorating… felt good to be out of doors at the day’s start.

(I was trying to accept the interruption… learning to find the blessing inside the moment, even when it’s anything but welcome.)

Driving fast, I kept the speedometer close to where it should be, and enjoyed the passing scenery—daybreak glistening on frosted dewdrops… roadsides alive with winged and feathered creatures in search of breakfast… pastures dotted with horses and cattle munching quietly…

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Contentment replaced annoyance.

Soon I made the turn onto the old toll road. And after a few minutes, began watching for his car, wondering where the halfway point might be.

Over and around the uphill, downhill turns, there he was. I pulled over… he slowed and turned around to pull up behind me.

He rolled down the window as I walked toward him.

Handing him the keys and watch, I smiled and teased, Well, Dear—another cheap date!

He returned the smile… thanked me… explained how he would remedy the situation so we wouldn’t have to do this again.

Then he leaned forward, pressed his lips against mine. I just wanted a second kiss this morning.

As he drove back in the direction of his responsibilities, now only a quarter hour away, I stood beside the road, lingering beneath the turquoise sky.

Our unexpected rendezvous had taken place near the top of one of the many oak-covered hills overlooking a beautiful canyon, carved by a creek.

Breathing deeply, wishing to give in to the impulse of a hike, I shook my head and accepted my own weekday responsibilities.

Seated behind the wheel of our van, I headed home to begin the school day with our daughter, who was still sound asleep, oblivious to the activity taking place beyond her dreamy, youthful slumber.

Before long I pulled into our driveway. And walking toward the house, I smiled at the new memory—one that would remain with me for years to come.

Then I whispered a prayer of thanks, for allowing my day to be interrupted.

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