The "Golden" Suitcase
After five long years of college, my dear friend Kathy and I, our
children (Dianna and Michael), boarded an Amtrak passenger train, and
headed off to Colorado Springs.
My parents had so lovingly given me this paid vacation, as a college
graduation gift. I looked forward to sitting back, reading a non-medical
book, and watching miles and miles of countryside pass by.
The only problem was, I didn't have any luggage to pack my belongings in.
My friend Debbie, heard that I needed a suitcase and offered to lend
me one that belonged to her father, who had passed away long ago.
"I don't know if you'll want to use it," she said so gently, "it's
very old, worn out, and such an ugly yellow color."
I was so touched by her offer to lend something that belonged to her
father, but, I was also concerned about the possibly of it being damaged or
She insisted that I take it. So with the suitcase safely in hand, I
boarded the train.
It was so wonderful, to sit back, talk with Kathy, and spend this
special time with our kids. We enjoyed our meals from tables dressed in
linen cloth, played card games, and noted all the wonderful little city
stops passing by. We spent two days and one night on the train, sleeping
in our reclining seats.
As we slept, we were awakened at times, by the noises of the train
pulling in and out of the stations, as people got on and off at their
stops. Sleepily, we would open our eyes, to see the lights of the stations
coming out of the darkness, and then drift back off into sleep.
The next morning we eagerly awaited the announcement: Next stop,
But suddenly, there came an another announcement over the loud speaker.
"During one of the overnight stops, many pieces of luggage were
mistakenly removed from the train and left at the wrong location."
Kathy and I just looked at each other, as I felt the disappointment
swell. Could my worst fear be coming true, was Debbie's suitcase lost?
There we sat, now slumped in our seats, when two men neatly dressed,
in what seemed to be train conductor uniforms, casually walked down the
aisle, and passed our seats. They were both enjoying a hardy laugh and it
wasn't hard to overhear their conversation. The tone of their laughter
drew our interest.
Just graduating from nursing school, Kathy and I had learned to make
an assessment of every situation and we just knew that whatever they were
laughing at had to be good. But, all I could think about was the suitcase.
I wondered if I should I interrupt them, and tell them about Debbie's
suitcase and how important it was to her and me.
Then, one of them jokingly said to the other, "Did you ever see such
an old, ugly, brighter yellow, piece of luggage in all of your life?"
Before the other conductor could answer... with an unexpected shrill I
shouted, "YES, MY SUITCASE MADE IT!"
The two conductors stopped in their tracks! And, very red in the
face, couldn't seem to apologize enough for having insulted my suitcase.
Kathy and I laughed, as we tried to show our appreciation and
convince them that we were thankful for overhearing their conversation, and
how relieved we were in knowing that Debbie's suitcase was safe.
After five absolutely fantastic days of exploring the Rocky
Mountains, we and our suitcase had an uneventful train ride back to
Michigan. I couldn't wait to unpack and get the suitcase back into
Debbie's safe hands.
When I returned it, and thanked her for allowing me to use it, she
asked, "Did everything go well on the trip?"
Somehow, I just couldn't resist telling her what happened. And how,
what she called, old, ugly, and yellow, became the most wonderfully
appreciated, antique, golden colored, piece of luggage on the train.
She laughed heartily. And when I recall her father's suitcase, I'm
reminded, that like the suitcase, we can see ourselves as too old, useless,
worn out, and of little value.
Or, we can take a closer look and realize that we are one of God's
most valued creations -- unique, and holding inside our most valuable
possessions -- that of love, faith, hope, and wisdom.
[ Linda Ferris (LAFRN10@aol.com) -- from (Peachjoy@aol.com), via email@example.com ]
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