By Donnie Parrett
Those of you who may be Country Music fans, may remember a hit song by Roy Clark from the 1960's entitled, "Thank God, And Greyhound, She's Gone!" A few minor adjustments to this song title made it a perfect headline for my story.
Our oldest son, Brad, was in last week for a few days from Native American Bible College, which he attends in Shannon, North Carolina. When he got ready to return to school last Thursday, I decided to make the trip back to North Carolina with him. It is about a 10 hour trip, and I wanted to ride along and keep him company. Before heading out for North Carolina I called Greyhound to see about a bus ride from Lumberton, North Carolina to London, Kentucky. My bus would be leaving Lumberton at 8:30 am on Saturday morning and would arrive in London, Kentucky at 3:00 am on Sunday morning. For most of you this would be no big deal, but for someone who has been legally blind for 37 years, this was quite a challenge. I had never attempted to do anything like this in my life, but for some reason, I felt it was time to try. What normally would be a 10 hour trip by car turned into an 18 ½ hour bus trip. I left Lumberton, NC at 8:30 am, and after brief stops in Dillon, SC, Florence, SC and Sumter, SC, arrived in Columbia, SC at 11:30 am. After a 2 hour and 40 minute layover in Columbia, I boarded another bus at 2:20 pm for Charlotte, NC. After a brief stop in Rock Hill, SC. We arrived in Charlotte at 4:00 pm. We had a 1 hour and 30 minute layover in Charlotte. I left Charlotte, NC at 5:30 pm and after brief stops in Gastonia, NC, Spartanburg, SC, Hendersonville, NC, Asheville, NC and Waynesville, NC, I arrived in Knoxville, TN, at 11:45 pm. I had a 1 hour and 30 minute layover in Knoxville, before heading down the home stretch.
The last leg of my trip turned out to be the best part of all. I found myself on a bus full of African American folks from Detroit, Michigan, who had been to a Church Crusade in Florida, and were on their way home. When the bus driver found out that I was a Pastor, he asked if I was one of the preachers who could sing too. So, you know me, I jumped at the chance to tell someone about Jesus. I got about halfway through the first verse of Amazing Grace, when the driver turned his mic on and asked everyone to join in with me. If you have never heard African American folks sing, you don't have any idea what you're missing. We had that old Greyhound rockin'!!! All I can say is that for about an hour, we had CHURCH ON WHEELS!!!
I finally arrived in London where my wife and mother picked me up at 3:00 am. It was a wonderful trip. I want to thank all the nice people who assisted me along the way, and Greyhound for providing such wonderful care and compassion. This trip has really meant a lot to me. Sometimes handicapped people feel like they can't do very much, but if you set your mind to it, you can do anything that anyone else can do. Sometimes, it just takes a little longer for us to do it. I'm definitely going to be doing this again. The next time you see a big Greyhound going down the road, just look real close because I might be waving at you!!!
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