The Red Pickup

By Linda Porter Carlyle

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans stared out the car window. Then she bounced and squirmed and looked at the clock in the dashboard. “It’s only half an hour until the plane is supposed to land,” she said. “Are we going to be late?”

Mom reached over and patted her shoulder. “Stop worrying. We’re almost at the airport already. “We’ll be there in plenty of time,” she assured her.

Mac twisted her head so she could see as much of the sky out of the car window as possible. “There’s a plane!” she announced anxiously.

Mom laughed. “Yep. That’s a plane all right. But it’s only a little private plane, not a jet.”

Mom signaled to make a right turn onto the airport road. The driveway into the parking lot was barred. Mom stopped in front of the bar next to a little white box on a metal pole. The box buzzed loudly, and a blue ticket popped out of a slot. It looked to Mac as if the box were sticking out its tongue at her.

Mom took the blue ticket out and laid it on the seat beside her. The white box stopped buzzing. (Mom pulled its tongue right out! Mac thought with a giggle.) The bar raised itself, and they drove through and parked.

The big glass terminal doors slid open automatically. It was cool and dark inside the building. Mom studied the board where all the flight numbers and arrival times were posted. “It looks like the plane will be on time,” she said.

Mac and Mom went through the metal detector. It looked like a doorframe with no door in it. Mom had to put her purse on a belt. The belt carried the purse to where it disappeared inside a square black box. The gray-haired woman on the other side of the belt could see inside Mom’s purse with the X-ray machine. Mac looked at the screen that showed what was inside purses and suitcases. Imagine being able to see inside things like that!

Mom sat down on a chair and pulled a book out of her purse to read while she waited. Mac went to stand in front of the huge windows that looked out over the runway. Maybe one day she would work at an airport. It would be especially fun to be one of those people who wore big ear protectors and waved long flashlights in their hands to signal the planes where to turn and where to stop.

Pretty soon a big blue and gray jet swooshed down and sped by on the runway. “She’s here!” Mac exclaimed.

Mac could not stand still as she waited at the gate. She sort of jogged in place. It had been a whole year since her cousin Anna had visited. Mac could hardly wait to hear all about college. Anna was going to be a nurse. Maybe one day I will be a nurse like Anna, Mac thought. She pictured herself in an operating room, standing beside the surgeon. A bright spotlight shone down on the operating table. The surgeon moved to cut open the patient’s skin. Mac shuddered. Maybe she wouldn’t be a nurse.

“There she is!” Mac yelped as the passengers began to come through the door.

Anna scooped Mac up into a big hug. Then she stood back and looked at her. “You’re taller,” she said. “And curlier,” she added with a grin.

Mac reached out and touched Anna’s beautiful straight brown hair. Anna put her finger on Mac’s mouth. “Curly red hair is much more special than plain old brown,” she said.

Mac’s eyes danced. She loved how Anna could read her thoughts! “Do you like college a lot?” she asked. “What’s it like? Tell me all about your roommates!”

Anna paused to give Mom a big hug. “I love college!” she answered. “But I’m really glad to be back in Oregon for the summer. And I’m really glad I could stop in Jacksonville and see you guys for the weekend on my way home!”

Mac, Mom, and Anna headed slowly down the wide hall to where they could collect Anna’s suitcases. “Guess what!” Anna exclaimed. “Remember when I wrote and asked you to pray that I could get a car this summer? I asked my roommates and my friends at school to pray about it too. Well, I just found out yesterday that Uncle Mike bought a new car, but he didn’t trade in his old red pickup. He’s going to keep it. And he said I could drive it this summer while I’m home. So I don’t have to worry about how to get to my job every day! Isn’t that the greatest? I’ll have a truck to use, and I didn’t have to buy it!”

Mac felt warm all over. She loved knowing that a prayer she had prayed had been answered! Someday, she thought, when I am older, it will be my turn to pray for a car. I hope that God will remember that I like red pickups too.

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