I caught the bus, but I never thought about calling Abby Mae to tell her I was coming—and I don't have a cell phone, so I couldn't call her on the way. When I got there, the store had a sign on it saying it wouldn’t be open until noon on Monday. I went by her house, but it was all dark inside; they must have gone to Louisville to visit relatives. There wasn’t anyone I knew to hitch a ride with, so I decided to take the trail up to the mining cabins, hoping the Benjamins would help me get back to the bus.
It started snowing pretty hard on the way, and the trail got covered so fast I couldn’t find it sometimes. The wind was howling like a hungry wolf and the trees were dropping branches everywhere. I was scared one would hit me on the head! I was so cold, I wrapped the Heart Threads blanket around me. I wished I’d never taken the bus. I wished Abby Mae were with me. I wished I wasn’t going to be late and in so much trouble at home! But when I got to a trail marker in the woods, I knew I’d missed my turn and gone the wrong way.
I was afraid to try and find my way back to town—so I took the left trail, because I knew it went near to Mr. Buford’s place. He was pretty surprised when I knocked on the door! I traded him a pie to let me come in and thaw out. My shoes were soaked and my jeans were covered in snow.
“You got no business traipsin’ around up here in this weather, girl!” he said, shaking a finger at me. “Your Papa know about it?”
“I left a note,” I told him, but that didn’t seem to settle him down any.
“Hmph! You need to phone home right quick,” he replied. And, for a wonder, he pulled out this weird-looking, big old black phone that must have been there since before Mama was born—and handed it to me. It had circles for you to put your fingers in.
“I don’t know anything about dialing out, you’ll have to do it. My cousin in Virginia pays the bills so’s he can call me sometimes. I just answer if it rings.”
I put my finger in the right circle and pulled the dial clockwise, once for each number. When Geoff answered the phone, I nearly died from relief. “You can be glad it’s me and not Papa, lil’ sis,” he said. “He and Mama are fit to be tied. We’ll be up to get you, so don’t move.”
I told him I wouldn’t. But I sure feel like running! I guess I’ll be grounded for just about ever when they get here.