When we lived in West Richland, WA, we kept hearing that Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was one of the most beautiful places on earth. Our car wasn’t very reliable, but we decided to risk a Saturday drive. We drove around the lake and through the city. We then went to Spokane, WA to shop before returning across the high desert of Washington State to our home. On the way home, we approached our exit from I-90 in the desert oasis of Ritzville. The high temperature alarm came on. I just had enough speed to coast into a gas station next to the exit. We had spent all of our money on a transmission when we tried to visit my cousins in Seattle. Now what?
The first order of business was to find someone to give us a lift home. We called every church member that we knew. We started putting quarters in the pay phone outside the gas station. No one was at home, and it was starting to get dark. We were on the edge of despair when a young man asked if we needed help. We told him that we were headed to the Tri-Cities and our car broke down. He scratched his head and said that he’d just come from there and he was headed for a farm just north of Coeur d’Alene. He continued to scratch his head until he got an idea. He said that he wasn’t willing to back track, but he could take us to a hotel in Spokane. He knew the hotel had a shuttle bus that drove people to the airport. He didn’t know if they would take someone who wasn’t a guest, but he knew someone who worked there. If that failed, we could take a taxi to the airport and rent a car from there. Then he scratched his head some more. He said that he had a truck that could only fit two passengers in the cab, if we got cozy. Our two boys could either stay at the gas station until we returned or they could ride in the trailer. He had an ostrich in the trailer. He was kind of a teenager himself. An ostrich farmer north of Coeur d’Alene had a lot of females, but no male to fertilize the eggs. The ostrich in the trailer was in heat. Why should we question the guy who was about to take us in the wrong direction?
Our boys said that they were frightened during the trip. They were told to stay clear of the boy ostrich. He had a tendency to bite. Every time we hit a bump in the road, the ostrich would swing his head, trying to keep his balance.
In the cab, we had no fears at all. We had been saved, or were we? You heard of crazy people who picked up hitchhikers. As these thoughts came to mind, the driver asked, “Do you mind?” He placed his finger on the “On” button of his stereo in the truck dash. He was doing us a favor. How could we refuse? I dislike rock music, but I could survive an hour of it in order to get home. It wasn’t rock music; it was a dramatized audio Bible. After a minute or so, he turned it off and asked, “Where does this come from?” My wife said, “The Old Testament…” Then I said, “The passage mentioned Mordechai, so it has to be the Book of Esther.” He screamed, “I knew it!” We swerved slightly into the other lane. I suppose the ostrich was stumbling in the trailer. He had been worried about picking up hitchhikers, who might take advantage of him, but he had seen us praying.
He then gave his testimony. He had been a sales manager. He made a small fortune in commissions, but his life was empty and without purpose. He accepted Jesus as his savior and everything changed. He repeated, “everything”. Selling suddenly meant nothing to him. His wealth meant nothing. He quit his job, and started an ostrich farm. His wife couldn’t handle the downsizing of his life, so she left him. She took the fancy house and the thick bank account, and he got a farm with a bunch of overgrown chickens. He talked to me about a new thing that was growing around the country, Promise Keepers. About that time, we drove into Spokane and stopped at the hotel. He walked in with us and learned that his friend was off work. We’d learned that the hotel would not take us to the airport, and our new friend was already late getting to Idaho. He called his friend at home, explained the situation, and handed the phone to the desk clerk. He said his good-byes. The desk clerk talked for a little while on the phone and then said that we could wait a little while. An hour later, we were on our way to the airport on the hotel’s shuttle bus. We arrived just before the last car rental counter was to close for the night. As God provides, they had one car left. We made it home that night, about two o’clock Sunday morning.
So, hold on to your spouse and thank her for having patience with you. You could be stuck with nothing but a teenage ostrich in heat, who bites.