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A Week for Friends and Family

The much-anticipated week has come and gone, and when I look back on all that happened, it was good, a refreshing break from our routine and a time of reminiscence and nostalgia. And it all began with a pleasant surprise, something that we had not planned as part of our busy schedule.

About 4:00 p.m. of the Friday before the Monday on which our scheduled visitors were to begin arriving, my wife got a call at school from her sister Faith. She and her husband Roy were on their way to visit their parents in central and southwest Florida via their son’s in Atlanta. They were only about 45 minutes away and wanted to stop by to visit briefly before continuing their journey. We rushed home and arrived just minutes before Faith and Roy. After chatting for half an hour or so, we went out for a laughter-filled supper at one of my favorite restaurants, Fatz Cafe. Their visit was much too short, but we appreciated the unexpected treat.

On Monday afternoon, Craig, one of my college roommates and a groomsman in my wedding (as was I in his), and his wife arrived. And talk about a time of reminiscing! We had seen each other only about four times since we graduated college, so we had a lot of catching up to do. During the days they were with us, we toured downtown Greenville, explored the campus of our alma mater, sat in on the last few minutes of the daily chapel program, and chatted with a professor friend and former churchman of Craig’s. Near the end of Craig’s visit, my brother Dale arrived from Michigan, and the five of us went out to eat–at Fatz. (No wonder I can’t lose that spare tire!)

While here, Dale met with one of his former professors and several of his friends, none of whom he had seen in quite some

time. Also, the two of us did a lot of reminiscing and went target shooting. But the main reason Dale came was not to see us but to see and hear a renowned speaker and athlete: Tim Tebow. Dale was accompanied on his trip from the still-cold northlands by his friend Bob, who had an extra ticket to the Tebow event, and he graciously invited me to accompany them (including his son, grandson, and son-in-law). We all had a wonderful time not only fellowshipping together but also hearing Tebow recount some of his life experiences, from growing up in a family of missionaries in the Philippines to playing T-ball to events of his college and pro football days. The heart of his message, of course, was the role his faith plays in his life and the consequent influence he has had helping others in need. (Photo courtesy of Robert McCall.)

From the euphoria of all those reunions and activities, Connie and I had to return to the real world of yard work this past weekend. The main task was cutting down our pampas grass and burning the flags and leaves on an increasingly windy day without allowing the flames to get out of control. (Thankfully, a burn barrel does wonders for the containment of embers!) By the time we finished, we were both exhausted, and our clothes and hair reeked of smoke. The odor of smoke washes off; the exhaustion has carried over into the new week!

As quickly as it came, the week of excitement and enjoyment has passed. Not every week can be so fun-filled; the real world demands work and exertion and sometimes exhaustion. But the memories remain, and they will carry us forward to the next time of similar refreshment. As I age, however, I’m finding that I just can’t take much of such excitement, at least not all at once!

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