Two Llamas, A Laundry Bag, Sumo’s & Kindred Souls
“I am not making this up,” I exclaimed to my friend.
“Two llamas ran free in the yard where you were staying?” she asked incredulously.
“Yes, but that’s not even the WEIRD part,” I protested.
She laughed and listened to me regale her with our latest location we had stayed at while traveling in the Pacific Northwest.
Pacific Northwest. Just saying it sounds exotic. Who wouldn’t expect llamas to be free-range in such a land?
Let me back up a bit.
Part of our responsibility (and privilege!) in our line of work is that we give reports to those who join our team. Most of those relationships began in Springfield, Missouri, our hometown. Through the years, however, friends have relocated, circles increased and we find ourselves traveling to all points in the continental U.S. (Though I am definitely NOT opposed to Alaska or Hawaii…), which brings us to our most recent trip to the Northwest.
I prepared for the trip by loading the theme song from “Smokey and the Bandit” onto my phone. Every trip needs a soundtrack and this one was definitely perfect. (Sorry that you will now be humming that tune for days to come. Jerry Reed wrote a catchy hook…) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAhFtSc70BA
Of course, I also prepared a chart with dates, names, addresses and time zones. It took a bit of time for me to figure out leaving CST and arriving in MDT…what time would we arrive in PDT? Thankfully, our cellphones automatically update when we cross time zones…so it was all good.
The time that we spend with friends, pastors, business colleagues, philanthropists are rich and meaningful. We only see most of these people every five years. I imagine they look at John and me after each stint and think, “Zowee! The Middle East must be rough on y’all!” Sometimes it is and admittedly, we do appear quite busted in appearance…but we are truly thrilled to share even a meal to catch up on life and hear what God is doing in their lives.
It also gives us opportunity to look these kindred souls in the eyes (at places such as Sumo’s in Moses Lake, WA) and tell them a sincere thank you for their prayers and investment. There is no Lone Ranger in the type of work that we do. We may be the ones actually in-country, but there are a whole host of folks who link arms with us and make the chain of impact strong.
Most of the trip went without a hitch. I love road trips. I especially like driving. In Egypt, we didn’t have a car so I hadn’t been able to drive and I missed it. John, content with this arrangement, grabbed his pillow and allowed me to fly through Montana and Wyoming at their breakneck speed of 80 mph. (Good job, State Reps!)
I did have a moment of despair which involved a downpour, slick roads, many stops and a laundry bag found to have ventilation holes only after I used it in a sick moment. Thankfully, a car wash was nearby and I recovered within 24 hours.
As for the llamas that started this story? Well, I still don’t know how to put into words the bed and breakfast that John and I stayed in on Bainbridge Island, WA. A sweet retired teacher had a working farm as well as the B&B. The llamas, we found out, were protection from predators that would sometimes come after her geese and chickens. The llamas (like our hostess) also had personality. “Cheeky” is what I would say. One would run to greet us as we pulled in the driveway. The other would roam the land as any other noble beast would do on his own estate. Made me laugh. I want one.
We’ve returned now after the very thorough scenery tour of Kansas and are catching up on our office tasks. We’ll be making trips to California, Florida, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and all those places in between before the year is up. It’s so worth it. Being intentional with relationships keeps them from melting away in the fog of life’s busyness.
We have 7 months left on this side of the pond. We’re going to squeeze every drop of opportunity we can while we’re here. I’ve got to sign off. I just had a thought and wondered if there are such things as “therapy llamas.” I’m going to Google it and find out.