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A New View

That old bus was ruining my sales at the festival, but then I forced myself to look on the bright side.

An artist's rendering of Nan Gellings and her old bus

What’s that?” my sister-in-law Barb asked, pointing at an aluminum monstrosity parked in the middle of the festival grounds. “Some kind of old bus,” I said, glaring at it sitting smack-dab beside the spot I’d been assigned.

I’d spent months getting ready for this festival. Our family needed the money in these hard times. I’d gone to countless yard sales with Barb. We’d picked up stoneware bowls, vintage jewelry, hooked rugs, birdhouses, wicker planters, pie safes, even a big cupboard. But who would see it if that bus was blocking the way? The festival wasn’t until the next day, so we had the evening to set up. Barb and I unloaded the truck. The bus loomed like an evil giant.

There was nothing we could do but get a good night’s sleep. Barb and I put up a tarp and unrolled our sleeping bags. I stared up at the stars. Lord, you parted the Red Sea. Can’t you move that bus? It certainly wasn’t the best prayer I had ever come up with, but I was desperate.

The rumble of the bus engine woke us bright and early. Maybe now it would get moving. But the engine backfired and died. The driver got out. “Sorry, ladies,” he said. “Got to wait for parts.”

Before long, our first customers arrived. One bought a bracelet, another the big cupboard, then a pie safe and a rug. The sun beat down. It was hot. “How’d you find us?” I asked one customer.

“Well, that bus caught my eye first,” he said. “Then I saw all your nice things.”

There was no cover from the broiling sun out on the festival grounds. Yet people kept coming to our booth. It was the bus, casting its long shadow, making our booth the only shady spot around.

At the end of the day, Barb and I surveyed our tables. The duck decoys had sold out. So had the hooked rugs and wicker planters. I turned toward the bus and smiled. You might say we had it made in the shade…of a broken-down old bus. Who knew? Well, I think I know.       

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