A Storm from the East
Saturday, December 6th, 1941
It was a brand-spanking-new 1941 Silverside Greyhound bus, fresh off the line from Detroit and the pride of the Kansas Greyhound fleet. The Silverside was en route from Kansas City to St. Louis, a trip of almost two hundred and fifty miles that was scheduled to take almost nine hours, with four stops along the way.
At 7 am the bus had departed Kansas City. The morn was dark and the local newspaper promised that a huge winter storm was coming across from the East. There were only a few people leaving Kansas City on the 6th of December, so the best seats had been free to be occupied by the travelers.
Young Emily Dotson, all of 20 years old and a School Teacher from St. Louis, was returning from a visit with her grandmother. Emily sat next to the window on the driver's side of the bus, almost exactly betwixt the driver and the rear seating. She wore her traveling clothes, which were also her Sunday best, under a grey overcoat that was just a touch too big, and she had her reddish hair in a bun. A splatter of freckles dusted a pretty face with blue eyes. She would gaze out the window for a bit, then read a passage or three from the traveling bible that rested on her lap, and then gaze again at the winter landscape as the bus travelled along its route.
An older gentleman was in the seating directly across from her. He too was seated next to a window, reading an article regarding the Lend-Lease Act and shipments planned for countries in a war far away. Presently he slapped his newspaper down on the empty isle seat next to him, seeming angered over something he had just read.
The movement caught Emily's attention. She glanced at the older gentleman, his face twisted uncharitably, and with a slight nod to him and a brief smile that touched only her lips, she started to turn her head back towards the window and the outside scenery.
"Hrrumph," the man uttered, staring down the young woman across from him until she turned her head towards him.
"Perhaps you'd care to engage in conversation with me, you know, to help pass the time until we arrive at our destinations?"
Emily wished the man would have remained in silence. Nonetheless, she did not wish to appear rude to the stranger.
"Alright, she replied. "What would you like to talk about?"
The man across from her, Hubert Goodwinkle, was truly in a foul mood and looking for someone to take it out on. He figured she'd do for starters. Spying the bible on her lap, he initiated a topic of conversation sure to rile those foolish enough to waste their Sundays in church praying to their invisible gods.
"Oh, I don't know: how about why there is no Heaven or Hell, no afterlife, and no God?" He replied in a gruff rumbling voice.
Emily was dismayed that a man would possess such temerity as to seek conversation with a stranger, only to belittle her faith. She managed to keep her composure, although it cost her some little effort. Quick-thinking plus a habit of sharing her strong opinions, was most likely a strong reason why she was still unmarried. She just had not found a man that could appreciate her virtues and vices.
"Let me ask a question first, If I may?" She asked, her eyes narrowing ever so slightly.
Hubert nodded to her, somewhat surprised at her polite tone of voice. She must be turning her other cheek, he thought to himself.
Emily posed her question. "A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes small pellets, a cow produces patties, and a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that?"
Hubert paused for a moment, somewhat shocked at the question and the obvious intelligence of the young woman. It seemed apparent to him that she read more than just the bible on her lap. He mulled the question over for a few seconds, trying to figure out where she was going with the question.
"Hrumph," he started, as to clear his throat. "I honestly have no idea."
To which Emily replied, "Then do you really feel qualified to discuss Heaven, Hell, or God when you don't know sh!te?"
Hubert's jaw nearly dropped to his chest and his eyes grew large at the young lady's reply. He literally had no response for her and was bereft of speech.
"Well then," Emily said pleasantly while noting the man across from her seemed speechless. "I guess that's that."
She turned to gaze back out her window.
There were a few stifled giggles and perhaps a snorted laugh or three from about the bus. The rest of the way to their first destination, the bus was strangely quite other than an odd giggle now and then.
The man got off at the next stop, taking his foul temper with him.
On the 7th day of December, following a storm from the East, Japan brought America to war It would seem that the military leaders of Japan too, did not know sh!te.
< Message edited by durnedwolf -- 4/30/2020 2:24:58 AM >
I try to live by two words - tenacity and gratitude. Tenacity gets me where I want to go and gratitude ensures I'm not angry along the way. - Henry Winkler.
The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. - Herbert Spencer