I was cleaning out my purse yesterday, and there in the depths was a slightly dingy, rubbery plastic, yellow school bus key ring.
Once upon a time there was a Bus named Beto. Beto began his life as a school bus - one of those cute short ones that carries kids to kindergarten or on field trips. One day, some church ladies named Greasy and Grubby had an idea to buy Beto. Greasy did all the work, and went to where Beto lived and picked him up and helped her husband to drive Beto to a friend's business. Beto spent a little while preparing for his mission - to carry supplies to El Salvador as part of a caravan of hope in response to the 2001 earthquakes. The caravan was organized by a Salvadoran pastor who was serving in the US as a missionary.
Greasy and Grubby organized some friends and they gave Beto some loving paint-touches: a map of his anticipated route through the US, Mexico, Guatemala and into El Salvador, a new name on the side, the symbol of the Lutheran Church up top and the image of the hand of God guiding the way. Beto was loaded with tarps and tools and mattresses and other items which had been collected as symbols of solidarity and love from far away friends. Beto went on his way, driven by a guy named Bob from Greasy and Grubby's church. Beto the Bus was named for Bob. As Beto the bus was driven off by Beto the friend, Greasy had a little memory tucked away in her pocket - a rubbery key ring in the form of a yellow bus.
Beto the Bus made it to El Salavador, and began a new career carrying Salvadorans and gringos on adventures all around the cities and the countryside. After a long while Beto got tired. He went through repairs now and then, and finally was given up to a life in a parking lot. After a couple of years stuck in park, a young man with some mechanical skills asked if he could have the bus to see if it could be resurrected. And, although Greasy and Grubby have not seen Beto in person, they have seen that its old parking spot is empty and have heard that Beto serves as a youth group vehicle in that young man's church community.
I attached the yellow key ring to my car keys. Maybe it will bring a long life to my vehicle.