PEACE – what a wonderful word.

The trials of arranging a bus trip!

It is summer again and time to arrange the Seniors’ annual Mystery Tour. No big deal you would think. Just book a bus? How many people will there be this year? How many friends have left us since last August?  How many are not up to it this year? How many new friends will we find? We make a list.

Where shall we go this year? Not too far, a nice scenic route with a place of interest and tea served half way. Where shall we eat? What is there to eat? Is the food good – plenty of cakes and not too expensive?

We have to print the tickets, compose a quiz, gather raffle prizes, and remember to take pencils, not to mention the raffle tickets and sweeties for the journey. Then we need to arrange lifts so everyone can get to the meeting point at St Joseph’s.

Next there is the restaurant to book.  That means phoning all our guests: “What would you like?” More phone calls: “Can I change my mind”? “Of course, no problem”. More phone calls-“So sorry, I won’t be able to make it”. “No problem. I’ll phone the restaurant and tell them the numbers have changed – again!

Now it’s Friday, the day before the trip.  We need to ring the bus company to get the driver’s choice of food and confirm the pick-up time. When that’s done we can relax.

5 o’clock, the phone rings. “Mary?  Sorry to tell you we have not got a bus for tomorrow.  We had a fire at the depot in the early hours of this morning and all the coaches have been burnt out.  We are trying to get another bus for you, but we won’t be able to let you know until the morning “.

What can we do? We’ve got 40 excited seniors and 40 meals booked. We can’t get hold of any other bus companies at 5.30 on a Friday afternoon, so we make a list for phoning tomorrow morning. St. Jude and St. Anthony – please find us a bus!

Saturday 7.30am. I sit by the phone though it’s far too early to phone anyone! My brain is working out all the options. Maybe we could have fish and chips in our church hall, if all else fails!

8.40a.m. The bus company calls with the news that they cannot get a bus anywhere. It’s time to phone round the other companies – but no one has a spare bus for today.

Then comes the response to the fifth call: “Sorry, have you been let down? Give me a minute to think. If I send a smaller bus to another client I could free up the bigger bus. I don’t usually drive the buses myself but I’ll help you out. See you at 1pm. “

We all meet at St. Joseph’s for the trip.  With excited smiling faces, we watch as several buses pass us by. We wait; time moves on and we begin to feel anxious. Then one slows down: an executive bus.  Across the windscreen in big letters is written that wonderful word – PEACE!

Thank you, God, St. Jude and St. Anthony!