I love my church ladies. They're so nice, and I suspect they have no real idea how horrible I am.
Isobel is one of my church ladies, and she's in charge of publicity for her group, so we have a lot of contact, what with her dropping off releases and arranging for photos and such.
Recently, she called me and asked me to come take a photo for her group's annual celebration of friendship. It was at a church I'd not yet been to.
"Are you sure you can find it?" she asked.
"I've found my way to all sorts of places," I assured her.
And I have. I've even managed to make it to Ambridge and back alive, which, since I had to cross three rivers, is no mean feat. I don't think twice about driving all over the Tri-State Area.
But .... I get lost ... sometimes. OK, enough of the time that my mother insists that I keep Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia maps in the car.
Mostly - mostly - I get where I'm going.
Isobel was dubious.
"It's easy to miss," she told me.
"No, it's OK, I'll find it."
She gave me directions and they were fairly straight forward - the church was on one of the more well-traveled back roads, and, although set back from the road, I didn't have to take any turns.
Confident in my ability to find a church right on the road, I set off. It didn't take long to find Isobel's landmarks - an ice cream parlor and another (not the right) church. My confidence soared; easy-peasy, piece of cake, right?
I kept driving. And driving. And some more. And a little more. I still didn't see the church. It's just further out, I told myself, maybe balanced out on the ends of the earth.
Right about when I had to admit I had no idea where I was, I saw a sign out of the corner of my eye - "(Something Obscured) Church." Despite it being on the completely wrong side of the road, I stomped on my breaks and threw up a rooster-tail of gravel taking the turn.
Of course it was the wrong church.
I fumed in the parking lot, but, because I was now late, I figured I'd better touch base with the office.
"I'm lost," I confessed.
No one was surprised. And, no, my church ladies hadn't called. I should try not to get so lost as to be eaten by a bear so they would have to do my work.
"Tell my church ladies I'm on my way."
I was just taking the long way around.
I finally admitted defeat when I literally ran out of road - the road dead-ended on another, completely unfamiliar, where-am-I? road. It was time to turn around, empty-handed and dejected.
I failed my church ladies. I had no picture of the friendship celebration for the first time in years. The office had been reminded of my poor navigational abilities. Hey, was that a steeple?
It was. There was a church, set just a little way back off the road, just over the hill from another church and an ice cream parlour.
My church ladies are so nice. Too nice to even say "I told you so."
(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)