Kentucky Surprise

“Fill ‘er up young man and check the oil, get the windows sparkling and, yes, run that vacuum of yours above and beneath the floor mats.”

It is common knowledge that many college kids scrape to get by. Such was our world in those days of self-service at the pump.

My young bride and I liked San Antonio with its Hispanic-flavored culture but could invest meager time sampling its delights. Time raced on in our happy but half broke world.

Fulltime work, fulltime schooling, volunteer pastoring duties, these pretty much consumed us. The adage two ships passing in the night depicted our days.

In time the San Antonio Express eyed my application and called me. I took up my post at the teletype machine. Life quieted. A little. Due to my skills the newspaper wage trumped my former gas-pumping earnings. Thank you Phillips 66 at the Caldera and Bandera crossing, and farewell.

Most days just after lunch I kicked the starter arm of my Vespa scooter and ventured to the city center. When my shift ended I mounted Old Blue again, making it to our eight-foot-wide house trailer on Hallelujah Hill before 1:00 a.m. Morning chapel kicked off at 8 o’clock. Vigorous praise music marginally rallied sleep-deprived students as we entered the old army barrack-turned-house-of-worship.


Mrs. Hottenstein.

“Brother Jerry, do you and Ann think you might swing by dear old Mrs. Hottenstein’s place Sunday mornings. . . bring her on to church, then drop her back home afterward?”

Pastor David went on, “She’s our retired school teacher from somewhere back in Kentucky’s hills and wants to come worship every week. She’s still pretty spry but is in her nineties and no longer drives. Anyway, maybe you all can talk it over, see what you think?”

A few weeks later following Sunday service we pulled from the church drive with our newer, older passenger. Responding to David’s invitation had been simple.

Nearing Mrs. H’s house this early afternoon I heard a clearing of the throat from our Pontiac’s back seat. Ann and I were fully unprepared for what followed.

©2017 Jerry Lout
Photo by Julie Falk



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