Authors: Sally John
HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The New English Bible, Â© Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press 1961, 1970. All rights reserved.
Cover by Garborg Design Works, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Published in association with the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to events or locales, is entirely coincidental.
THE WINDING ROAD HOME
Copyright Â© 2003 by Sally John
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97402
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
John, Sally D., 1951-
The winding road home / Sally John.
p.cm.â(The other way home series ; bk. 4)
1. WomenâMiddle WestâFiction. 2. Female friendshipâFiction. 3. Middle WestâFiction.
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any meansâelectronic, mechanical, digital, photocopy, recording, or any otherâexcept for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Printed in the United States of America
08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 / LB-CF / 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
As always, the writing has been a collaborative effort. My thanks go to those who have been a part of
The Winding Road Home:
Kristi Ruud for pottery lessons and her real-life model of
Mindy Carls for her example of spirit I've instilled in
who by no means resemble the
managing editor in any other way.
Tracy John for her unflagging, enthusiastic help as my “other editor.”
Elizabeth John for her technical assistance and constant support.
Christopher John for caring.
Michael Skelton for drawing the map.
Trudy Watson for her Volkswagen expertise and gracious research.
Sally Weckel for jumping in with both feet as “press agent.”
Kim Moore of Harvest House for generally being everything one could ask for in an editor.
And Timâ¦for taking care of everything else along the way.
For those who follow:
Elizabeth, Tracy, and Christopher John;
Cassie Carlson; Joshua Watson;
Emilee, Nathan, Brendan, Matthew, Kyle, and Justin John
As you travel your journey,
May the winding road Home be made straight,
May it rise up to meet you,
May the wind always be at your back,
And may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Wait quietly for the LORD,
Be patient till he comesâ¦
“Ladies and gentlemen!” The jaunty emcee spoke in a deep radio announcer's voice. He stood on the stage between two preteen girls, a microphone in his hand. “Let's congratulate this year's winner of the countywide spelling bee, who now advances to the state competition, and from there, we hope, on to nationals!”
The sparse crowd in the school auditorium applauded politely. As family members of the participants, they were naturally inclined to exhibit more enthusiasm for their own child. By the time the winner was announced, only one group of relatives held any genuine interest in the program.
The girl who knew how to spell “metamorphosis” smiled politely in return. As the host lauded the runner-up, the county's best 12-year-old speller waited as if she were quite at home taking first place.
The girl who had not known 30 seconds ago how to spell “metamorphosis” took a trembling breath, smiling sweetly through tears. There was a slight increase in the level of applause. Blonde and blue-eyed, she had won over the audience with her display of anxiety at each word aimed her way and unabashed joy with each correct spelling.
The host congratulated the winner now, shaking her hand. Shorter than average, she lifted her chin, looked him straight in the eye, and thanked him, clearly mature beyond her 12 years. Her straight, reddish hair was pulled back into a ponytail. She had played the game well. Intensely. Focused. Never hesitant.
“Tell us,” the emcee said, “what would you like to do when you grow up?”
“I'd like to be a White House correspondent. A Helen Thomas for the twenty-first century.”
Laughter rippled through the audience.
Though it easily could have been construed as being aimed at her, the girl didn't seem to mind. She gazed at the cluster of people in the front row still cheering for her. Why would she need the crowd's approval? She had a loving family and a plan for her life.
A young woman sat huddled in a pew, a large bulging knapsack beside her. Groups of people were scattered throughout the sanctuary. The wind rattled the stained-glass windows.
Another woman, somewhat older in appearance, walked along the pew before hers and sat down, facing her. “The snowstorm isn't letting up. We should leave now. Your bus won't be going anywhere tonight.”
She nodded. “The highways are closed down. Please, I've food and plenty of space for you.”
“I'll just stay here.” There was a stony edge to her tone. Hard, resolute.
“It's too uncomfortable and drafty. I think enough townsfolk have shown up to take all the stranded travelers home for the night.”
The young woman blinked. Her curly hair hung about her shoulders, matted. “Why would you take me home?”
The other woman smiled. “Someone took me home once. It's my turn.”
“You don't know the first thing about me.”
“I know you need a place to sleep.”
“I'm pregnant. Nineteen. Single. No means of support. People react to me as if I were a leper.”
The older woman bowed her head for a moment, her forehead against the back of the pew. When she raised it, tears glistened in her eyes. “Sweetheart, I was there. My daughter is eleven now. She's always wanted a baby sister. Or brother.” Holding out her hand to the other, she stood. “Let's go home.”