It’s quite a trek from Augusta, Georgia, to my Mom & Dad’s house. Augusta is in the middle of the dissecting line between South Carolina and Georgia. My Mom and Dad live in Bainbridge, which is in the south westerly corner of our splendid state. It’s a good six hour path from here to there. Remember that our family was military for 22 years. We’ve been as far away as 12 hours. I know people that are 24 or more hours from family. I know that six hours is a tiny window of time for many, BUT it isn’t a thirty minute drive either.
The problem that I have is that I can’t seem to accept that my family is nearing the morph stage where we move from one family to several family units. Glory and James will soon branch off to create their own new families. Right now, the issue is finding or creating a weekend that is free from Friday afternoon to Sunday night for four different schedules. As it has worked out, we just haven’t been able to pull it off. So, as hard as it has been, I’ve had to accept that they probably won’t be going with us to M&D’s except at holidays.
This past weekend, I decided I just had to travel without them. My little Boo child was off for the weekend so … I took off.
I had such a nice weekend. I left early Friday morning so that I was able to stop at Nina’s just outside Sylvester for lunch.
We sat around Bonnie’s round table there in the middle of that familiar country kitchen and ate and talked, Bonnie, Nina, Corey & I. Bonnie taught me about an easy crockpot pepper steak recipe (that she had simmering in the cooker behind me). It was hard being there without Glory, as she loves Nina so. We laughed and chatted about many things and nothing. I sorted through some photos after lunch while we talked. And then, time was up. Our visit was short, but so very sweet. There is such a tenderness in old friends. For this … and these friends, I am thankful. I went on to Thomasville for dinner. I enjoyed family fellowship and spent the night with one of my best friend’s from high school, Kenneth, his wife Jami, and his sweet family.
Kenneth was one of my very first true friends in high school. He was and still is funny and honest. He’s a friend in the truest sense of the word. I know that I know that he would help me – and anybody else – in whatever way he could, should the need arise. All one would need to do is ask. We spent some time looking through his wedding album. Above you see his daughter, Lauren, with him. He reads music like you and I read text. He pulled out a hymnal and began to play just before the end of the night. And Jami …. oh how she sings. She sang while he played – and I was so blessed.
And Kenneth’s mom, Betty, dropped by. It was the strangest thing ….. I haven’t seen her in about a decade, but she looked like she did at our last good-bye. I laughed that her clothes nor hair appeared to have even been changed. She’s just as beautiful and sweet as ever. I felt like I was in some sort of a time warp scene from a movie as I hugged her neck and we sat down to talk. It was such a gift to be able to enjoy each of them.
Saturday morning, I went on to Bainbridge where I joined another sweet friend for coffee at Bean Around the World, a cozy little coffee shop on the square.
I still remember my first contact with Linda. She was working full time at a good job, but God was calling her home to homeschool her youngest son, Will. As we grew closer, her story began to unfold. She was in a crumbling marriage, losing her oldest son to drugs and violence and she was worried for the safety of her youngest.
She eventually left her husband and quit her job. She was faithful and patient and loving … and God rewarded her with a front row seat to miracle after miracle. Her son turned his life around while her husband’s heart began to be drawn to God. In the end, her son became an amazing man of God who now has a church and strong ministry, her husband turned his life back in God’s direction, romanced Linda and they remarried. And her youngest, has pursued his dreams, graduated from homeschooling and is now pilot and plane mechanic – a fulfillment of his dreams.
I have to tell you the sweet story of Linda & Randy’s second honeymoon. They went to the mountains. As a symbol of their love and devotion, Randy wanted a rock to remember their trip, the beginning of their new life and that God was the Rock of their Foundation. He walked down into a stream and reached down into the water. The rock that he lifted from the water was larger than his hand, smooth and flat …. and in the perfect shape of a heart. Linda took a picture of him standing there, water still dripping from the rock and running down his arm. I still get choked up when I think of that photograph and moment in time.
So, I treasure Linda’s friendship on many levels. She’s been a friend for a long time, she loves the Lord and has held His hand when her way appeared dark, and she has a wonderful victory story to share on this side of that journey.
After leaving Linda, I went on to Mom & Dad’s house. I’ll share those photos with you tomorrow.
While my time with friends was short, I’ve decided that it was well worth it to have some time rather than no time. I’m already planning my next trip …. to meet with other folks that I’ve not seen in years.
How ’bout you? How do you squeeze in family and friends that live far away?
How do you keep in touch with people you love that aren’t family?