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It is that time of year again when dedicated steam brothers are tuning up their engines for reunions all across the country, and their wives are wondering whether their men are black or white as they emerge from those cumbersome machines. I have, now and again, washed some decidedly sooty clothes myself

Many of our ladies are as busily cleaning house as the women we regularly see on the heading of the Ladies' Page. Certainly we often go our separate ways in interests, but there is a crucial need that we never break communication between ourselves and those nearest and dearest to us. I learned in February of this year what misery a barrier in communication can cause. ' On the last evening of January I boarded a Greyhound Bus for Kansas City, Kansas. Our eldest 'daughter and her family live near DeSoto, Kansas. We telephoned to let her know I was coming. She was excited and overjoyed. 'Now remember,' my worried husband informed her, 'she is coming to the Kansas City, Kansas Bus Station.' 'Ginni murmured her assent on the other end of the line.

Cross-country bus travel was a new experience for me. I carefully carried my money in a small shoulder bag underneath my coat, also my round-trip ticket, whilst struggling with a suitcase and a tote bag. I wasn't about to give anybody my luggage. I wanted my clothes there with me. I have heard too many stories of lost luggage.

I safely made it through Chicago and onto the St. Louis bus. In the early morning hours as I waited in St. Louis a fine looking young man sat down beside me. I soon learned he was a ministerial student from the Nazarene Seminary in K.C. He immediately took me under his wing. He couldn't have been nicer to his own mother. He checked my bags with his while we waited for our next bus. We roamed the station, talking of many things. It was just like a having a son along. He helped me on the next bus and we travelled on toward Kansas City, Missouri. Here he left me and I continued on to K.C, Kansas.

There was no one waiting to meet me when I got there. Right then Ginni was having me paged in the K.C, Missouri bus station. Soon the telephone rang. 'Do we have a Mrs. Alfred Baber here?' a voice rang out from the desk. 'Yes! Yes!' I almost shouted. 'I'm here.'

'You are wanted on the telephone,' he informed me and I hurried to answer my call. Little did I know, at that moment, that Ginni had already called home and demanded, 'Where is Mother?'

'What, isn't she there?' my husband countered. 'Maybe she got on the wrong bus. How should I know where she is?' Then, in order to pacify her he asked, 'Well-where are you?' So between them they ironed the thing out. I wondered why she hadn't listened in the first place. She is inclined to be scatter-brained.

I will say there was no lack of communication once we got together. We talked by the hour. But I was tired. I had been on my way for seventeen hours.

My lesson on communication had only begun. The trip home brought all its ramifications before me a bit too strongly for comfort. This time, in St. Louis, an elderly couple boarded the Chicago bound bus. I couldn't pinpoint their nationality by looking at them. The gentleman looked like a Bohemian artist with his long scarf wrapped around his neck, and his bare gray head above it. I was quite intrigued. His wife clucked along beside him.

Being alone I tried to stay near the front of the bus. I had the second seat behind the driver. We set off on what was to be a through trip to Chicago. No stops. Sometime around two or three A.M. the bus driver pulled up for a ten minute coffee break at an all-night restaurant. About half the people followed him into the place, including our mystery couple, and all their luggage. I thought, 'Oh! Oh! Now what?' I decided to stay put.

The couple returned most reluctantly and sat down somewhere behind me admidst a torrent of speech in a foreign language. I think it was Spanish, as frequently she would say, 'Si. Si.' Unfortunately no one on that bus was any more enlightened than I.

As we took to the road there was sullen silence, then another outburst of speech. And then our perplexed traveller came shakily striding toward the front of the bus and began upbraiding the driver in his language. The drive told him to 'go sit down,' that he was shutting off his view of traffic. One big black man across the aisle from my seat sought to correct the situation by shouting, 'No savvy! No savvy!' which, of course, our traveller couldn't savvy, no how.

About that time his wife joined the verbal fray, and the confused man started pounding on the windows. He wanted out! Angry fists were displayed right under the driver's nose. We were moving at 50-55 miles per hour as all this continued. Everyone was on the edge of their seat.

It was truly remarkable how that bus driver 'kept his cool' as they say. This went on for close to an hour, it seemed.

Finally his wife convinced him to come back and sit down. In relief I dozed off for a bit only to awaken to a new outburst, with both of them up front again. What a night!

Finally we reached Chicago, and there they found someone who could communicate with them. They took off for Michigan and I headed for Milwaukee. But the lesson has stayed with me. How much we need communication, and what an awful condition we can get into without it.

We need it on earth. We need it with our Heavenly Father. We need it to attain heaven. Apparently our couple felt they were to have stayed at our first stop. Their journey was not complete, but they couldn't understand what people were trying to tell them. How like the earthling who feels no need of learning what God has in store 'for those who love Him.' Nor do they consider judgment if they turn Him away. Let us be extra sure we know where we are going in our complicated world, and that our communication is clear and upward bound.