“Well now, that’s it,” Ron Holiday said as he led the way out of the bookmobile. “Good luck to you. I’m sure you’ll do just fine.”
Sarah Anne Miller froze in the doorway. “Wait. That’s it?”
He scratched his head. “Don’t think there’s anything more to say, Sarah Anne. You’ve got all the route information and times. What else would you need to know?”
“A lot more. A whole lot more.” This part-time job she’d signed up for on a lark was beginning to feel real. Really real and more than a bit foreboding.
Now that she was about to head out and service the literary needs of the whole community, she was starting to combat a whole army of worries and doubts. “Ron, I have no idea what to say to these people.”
“What do you mean, what to say? You give them the books they’ve requested and take their orders. You’ll help them get on the Internet, talk about books, maybe even let them look around for a spell.” He paused. “Smile. Chat. Some of our patrons are lonely, jah?”
Ron had grown up Amish. Now, even though he was Englisch enough to be wearing a pair of white leather tennis shoes, jeans, and a sweatshirt emblazoned with See Rock City across the front, he was as folksy as Mr. Rogers in his neighborhood. Sarah Anne had always found him to be mildly irritating, and right now she felt like he was being especially vague and unhelpful.
“Jah,” she echoed in a dry tone.
If Ron caught her sarcasm, he was polished enough not to let on. “There you go. That’s what you do.”
But it wasn’t that easy. People would no doubt have questions for her. Expectations. “Although I took a couple of online classes, you know I’m not actually a librarian, right?”
He stuffed his hands into his pockets. “To be sure, I haven’t forgotten that. But it seems to me that you don’t remember you’ve worked in a library before.”
“I volunteered.” She cleared her throat. “I volunteered in a brick-and-mortar building, Ron. There was a whole staff there to assist people. I was just there for support. There’s a difference between that and… this.” She gestured to the bookmobile.
“You volunteered a lot, though. A whole lot. Plus, you’ve received some very impressive recommendations. You’ll do fine.”
Even though he held out the key, Sarah Anne made no move to take it. “What if I miss someone? Or if can’t find some of my customers?” She lowered her voice as she at last voiced her greatest fear. “Ron, what if I let some of our customers down?”
He laughed. “You’re delivering books, not blood. You’re going to be just fine.” He jangled the key in front of him and motioned for her to lock the door. “Come on now. It must be thirty degrees out here, and the wind’s picking up.” He sniffed at the air. “I think we’re in for a bit of snow.”
She looked up at the sky but couldn’t see anything but a few fluffy clouds. How Ron was interpreting that as an approaching storm, she didn’t know. However, it was more than obvious that she’d just about used up the last of her new boss’s patience. Taking the key from him, she locked the door and turned back to Ron, but he was walking fast, as if the sidewalk was made of hot coals. She rushed to catch up with him.
She was almost out of breath by the time they entered the administration building for the whole library system. The sudden warmth against her skin felt almost uncomfortable. She pressed a hand on the wall to steady herself. It was time to get in better shape, that was a fact.
“I’ll check in with you in a week or so, Sarah Anne. Good luck tomorrow. I wish you God’s blessings, too.”
“Thank you, Ron.” As irritating as he was, she knew he was also sincere, so she softened her voice and added, “I am grateful for your belief in me.”
He waved her off. “No need for that. Now, don’t forget to have fun, Sarah Anne. There’s no reason to fret, I can promise you that. Just go out there and get to know our patrons. Remember, you’re providing them a valuable service. They’ll be pleased to see you. I’m sure of it. And when they’re pleased to see ya, they’ll forgive most anything.”
But Sarah Anne wasn’t used to getting things wrong. She’d demanded perfection from herself, and everyone else did, too. She’d just retired from her position as an accountant after putting in almost twenty-eight years on the eighth floor of a big firm. In that capacity, anything less than perfect wasn’t even an option.
“I know I’ll make mistakes.” And yes, she sounded frightened.
“No one expects perfection, Sarah Anne. Not even our Lord. Ain’t so?”
She nodded, though she was still worried. Even though the Lord might not expect perfection, she did.
After taking a deep breath, she smiled weakly. “I hope I’ll have a good report for you.”
“I’m sure you will.” Then, to her surprise, Ron chuckled softly. “After all, what could go wrong?” He strode down the gray-carpeted hallway before she had a chance to reply.
But perhaps that was a good thing. Driving a bookmobile along country roads by herself? Receiving orders, picking up books, taking care of all of the paperwork? She had a feeling it wasn’t going to be a matter of what could go wrong… but rather what in the world was going to go right?