Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm baaaack ... sort of

OK, so I’m only partially back. I’m still trying to remember what it is that I actually do around here.

So many people have asked me if we had a good vacation, and the answer to that is: in a word, YES. We definitely had a very good vacation. We put close to 5,500 miles on the van, and irritated the stuffing out of each other (some of the time) while doing it. I don’t care how much you like other people, you get in a small space with 3 of your favorite people in the world (which is what we did) and stay with them for hours on end for 4 straight days, somebody’s going to get on somebody else’s nerves. It just happens. But we did it because this was the last summer in our lifetimes that we could really count on being able to go somewhere for an extended period of time as a family … and that’s a sobering thought we’re still trying to wrap our brains around.

I’m trying not to be too terribly obnoxious about this, but we were away from Clinton for 18 nights and only had to pay for lodging for 4 of them. The first and third nights of our trip, we stayed with my cousin Calvin in Franklin, TN, then with my cousin (in-law) Patty’s 101-year-old mother in Laramie. Frank and Patty’s house in Jackson, WY was our home base for some 9 days, punctuated by one overnight in Yellowstone National Park. I lived with them during the summer of 1982 and worked as a van driver for Barker-Ewing Whitewater. It was so good to reconnect with them and for Dawn and the boys to get to know them. Frank (Ewing, in case you’re wondering) pioneered whitewater rafting on the Snake River back in the early 1960’s.

Our return trip took us through South Dakota where we saw Mount Rushmore and the Badlands National Park … and Wall Drug … before stopping in Burnsville, MN where we stayed with one of our teenagers from our youth group in Ohio and her family. She's now in her 30s, so I feel old. I performed their wedding 12 years ago. We had lunch in Minneapolis with 2 sisters (now in their early 20s) from a family that was in our North Carolina church, then drove to Madison, WI and stayed overnight with their parents. From Madison we drove to Indianapolis (actually, Westfield) and stayed with a couple who were also in my Ohio church. She was our publications secretary. How incredible it was to reconnect with dear, dear friends some of whom we haven't seen for 20 years or so.

I’m extremely grateful for the time away and for all who filled in for me while I was gone. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Tara and to Mary Ann who took the reins of First Light and the Sanctuary Choir and led each service well. I didn’t worry about things with y’all in charge. Huge thanks!

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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