In the month of June, Steve and I traveled to seven states and worshiped on Sundays in five different states—Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Maryland, and Ohio. It’s been quite an adventure.
At the Kentucky church, Summit Church of Christ, I met an old friend, Barbara Wims, that I hadn’t seen since we were 15 years old. She found me on Facebook a few years ago. We only had a few minutes together, but it was wonderful to see her again. Such great memories of church camp and overnights in the summers. She told me she remembered my parents’ family devotionals when she visited, and so she did the same with her children. Such sweet memories!
As I planned our trip, I noticed we would be near addresses I’ve sent Christmas cards to for years. So first I contacted our friends Jeff and Laura Davies, who were members at Central when we first went there in 1975. They moved away in 1977 as Jeff finished his work at the University of Cincinnati, but we’ve always treasured memories of our times together.
We remember Laura going for a jog in Fort Thomas and getting lost. Of course! We have no blocks here, just rambling streets that can lead anywhere or nowhere. Steve had to go out looking for her. Of course that was long before the convenience of cell phones.
Steve and Jeff played a lot of tennis and Jeff never had matching outfits. Steve teased him a lot about that when we were together.
We arrived at the Church of Christ at Olney, Maryland, just in time for worship and then Sunday classes. It is a small congregation, but large in warmth and welcoming and good teaching.
Afterward we had a delicious lunch at their home nearby. We had so much catching up to do! So much fun together is hard to describe. We’d intended to continue on our journey right after lunch, but the conversation was just too good to leave. We talked about everything, from frivolous to spiritual and had to tear ourselves away, getting a quick selfie as we left.
The next day as I looked at the map on my phone, I saw “Oakton” nearby. My dear cousin Jerry lives there, and I hadn’t realized we’d be so close. As it turns out, he doesn’t often pay much attention to his cell phone, and that was the only number I had for him. But since his daughter Lara is my Facebook friend, I messaged her, she contacted him, and then he called me. We arranged to meet for lunch at the Cracker Barrel near the Manassas battlefield.
What a delightful time we had together! Jerry used to remind me that he changed my diapers, but he didn’t go back that far this time. He did, however, share some memories long before mine. His dear wife Bette has had strokes and has dementia, so he enjoyed getting out for a while. His health concern is that he has an arthritic knee and can’t run when he plays on his softball league. He’s 84. I’d like to be that active when I’m 84, but then—I’m not that active now!
These get-togethers worked out so well that I messaged Aaron Ellerbrock, who worked for Steve Boyd Presentations for six years, through his college and grad school years. He did a great job of running Steve’s speaking business, but we haven’t seen him since 2000 when I retired and took over his job.
Aaron and his husband Michael met us at the restaurant of the Quirk Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, where we were staying. The restaurant is Maple and Pine, and we had a lovely time together. We caught Aaron up on various church members he remembered and gave Michael some history on Aaron. It was a delightful evening! Aaron, another Christmas card old friend, thanked us over and over for reaching out to him; we loved getting to know Michael, who is also charming.
Old friends and family! Can’t be beat. I love it that there was never any awkwardness with any of us—just jumping into great conversations as though it had been a week and not years (42, 4, 19) since we’d been together.
Looking back, I’m reminded of Luke and Paul: We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and sisters and stayed with them for a day. Acts 21:7