Sunday, May 31—Sanderson, TX to San Marcos, TX
Last night was the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a week. I woke up ready to go, proceeded to the office to check out, rang the bell, and unknowingly woke up Dany. He was very polite and insisted I wait for him to prepare a cup of Chai tea for me. I tried to decline, but had a sense that it would be rude to do so. So I told him I’d hang around for a few minutes. He asked if I wanted the tea sweetened, or with a little milk. I responded, somewhat impatiently, that a little milk would be great.
My Harley was packed. I paced the parking lot for a few minutes, finding it difficult to be still, and then found a concrete step adjacent to the abandoned and earthen-filled swimming pool to sit down. I decided I might as well enjoy the rising sun and quietness of the morning, and read for a few minutes. Suddenly, a small, red SUV hurried into the parking lot, heavy-metal music blaring, and a man got out of his car and went quickly into his room. I continued reading for a few more minutes. Then I noticed Dany walking towards me with a metal tray containing the tea, some napkins, silverware, and an assortment of breakfast crackers. I just smiled, thanked him for everything, and went to my room to enjoy the tea.
A few minutes later Dany was back at my room. He asked me if it would be okay to take a picture of me in front of the Budget Inn sign. And then he asked if I’d post a review on TripAdvisor. (He is gracious and a marketer!) I smiled and agreed to do so. With my Harley re-positioned beneath the sign, we took turns taking pictures. When we were about finished I noticed the man from the small, red SUV pacing with a canister of coffee in his hands. I observed and commented out loud, “Restless?” He said no, and walked over to us. We quickly exchanged stories about what brought us to Sanderson.
His name is Bill. He’s a former Union Pacific man, and likes to take pictures of trains. He flew into a nearby town and has been on a road trip taking photos of as many trains as he can spot. I told him I understood. My grandfather was a Southern Pacific man.
Bill’s main purpose in coming to this part of Texas from Oregon was to tend to his son, Jim who had been in an auto accident. I asked if his son was going to be all right. He said physically, yes, although there are some complications. But mentally, no, he wasn’t going to be okay. His son is an alcoholic, and he is concerned that he will never stop drinking. We talked further about alcoholism and addiction. I asked if he was a religious man, to which he replied, “A little bit.” I asked if it would be okay if I prayed for his son. He nodded yes, and started to get choked up. I grabbed Dany, told him it didn’t matter if whether or not he was Christian, and we prayed.
Shortly thereafter we man-hugged and parted ways. I walked back towards my room to finish my tea and passed two men sitting on the back of a pickup bed. The younger said, “Nice prayer.” Knowing that my voice trends to travel well, I still asked if he’d heard it. They both said they could hear most everything in the quiet of the morning. I smiled, and we chatted briefly. They were in town with other family member to celebrate a graduation from the local high school. More man hugs and I left.
As I rolled southeast towards San Antonio, I noticed a train to my left, sun glistening off its stainless steel roof as it approached the overpass ahead of me. I glanced toward it thinking Bill would have really liked that photo opportunity. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw him wave at me, camera in hand, as he turned around from getting his first photo of the day.
I share this with you in humility. I don’t believe in coincidences. There is a reason, unbeknownst to me that I chose to stay in this little, nearly abandoned town. There is a reason Dany delayed my departure with kindness. There is a reason the man in the small, red SUV was restless in front of me. In spite of my being oblivious to what was happening, God orchestrated our meeting on this Sunday morning because Bill needed prayer. It was God’s provision of “church” on a Sunday morning on the road.
“Be still, and know that I am God…”
Route: 90E, I410NE, I35 N
Miles Today: 324
Time Today: 6:10
Total Trip Miles: 2,713
Weather: Cloudy and cool in the mid 60s to warm in the high 80s
Lunch: Sunrise Restaurant, Uvalde
Lodging: Hampton Inn San Marcos
Dinner: Saltgrass Steakhouse (with my brother-in-law, Mark and his wife)