family couriers

As kinfolk to the original Scrooge, you would think we would drive our economical small car on long trips. We can’t. Not when we go to visit family. We are the unofficial family couriers. Before most trips, we load the gas guzzling van with toys, books, tools, furniture and/or gifts for relatives. On the return trip we have hauled bags of goodies from shopping sprees and donated Christian literature.

It’s my sister’s fault that we haul Bibles, religious studies and Sunday School materials for the mission outreach program of Love Packages in Butler, Illinois. Her church in upstate New York had a few boxes of books that they asked us to drop off in Butler on our way home to Arkansas. We did and since then have gathered books to haul there.

For our most recent visit with family in Indiana, my husband loaded shop tools, toys and eight boxes of Christian literature into the van. He shoved in the last box of books and reached for our luggage before he realized he had left no space for the St. Louis grandchildren who were joining us. His shoulders sagged at the thought of repacking all those books and tools.

“Let’s take the literature to Love Packages before we go to St. Louis,” I suggested.

He nodded and never mentioned the increased cost in gas and time.

After we left the books, he observed, “We got better gas mileage with the books.”

“That’s because their weight pushed the car down the hills faster,” I winked. “We need more stuff.”

I quickly remedied that at a thrift store with a heap of bargains such as a large cast iron skillet and a new sewing machine. I didn’t need either one. I have plenty of both. Still at those prices, I bought both. We left all the bargains, except the sewing machine, in St. Louis. I thought some relative or friend might need one.

Someone did. The first day in Indiana a granddaughter said, “I want to start sewing. What kind of sewing machine should I buy?” I grinned, went out to the van, picked up the machine and presented it to her. “I saw this at a thrift store for such a low price that I bought it. You need one; so it’s yours.”

That opened a small corner in the van. That night my husband left shop tools at the oldest son’s place and we finally could use all the van’s seats and pack the kids’ new toys.

Twenty-four hours later, the next son we visited offered us seven boxes tightly packed with CDs, DVDs and the LP records. “Maybe you can find a place to pass these along” he suggested as he helped his dad load the boxes into the back of the van.

“The Hershberger courier service will find a solution,” we assured him.

Before we returned home, the kids played with their toys while we spent 45 minutes re-arranging media and luggage. Observing the final seating arrangements, the grandson who loves cozy corners called dibs on the back, gathered up his toys and sat beside one stack of boxes and in front of another.

At his home, we hauled out their luggage and toys, opening up space for our thrift store purchases. Not even a short visit the next day with my daughter helped much. She looked at our load, saw the cast iron skillet and said, “I could use an another one.”

Thus we ended another trip as couriers. Next time we maybe we can drive the car. All we have right now are a couple dozen books to deliver to Love Packages.

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