As we start the New Year, Tom and I are on the road headed to our next national park. It is always hard to leave Ohio. We miss our family and friends when we are far away, especially after all the time together over the holidays. My family is terrific and we love to spend time together. My friends are the best and I am especially grateful for the friends who go out of their way to see us when we are in Ohio. We have so many friends and so little time with them.
Most of my friends are in Akron – after all, we lived in that area for 30 years. But we spend less and less time in the Akron area, so if someone wants to see us, we suggest they meet us halfway. This last trip to Ohio was a good example of “so many friends.”
I spent about four hours with my friend Wendy. I called her just a couple of days before we were going to be in her neighborhood. Although she had a very busy day scheduled, she carved out time for lunch with me and dropped me off at a mall so I could wait for Tom.
My friend Karen is always willing to meet me halfway – halfway to wherever! Even during December, which is a pastor’s busiest time, she drove to Canton to meet me.
I already mentioned helping Deborah move, but Deborah took us out to lunch. She also arranged for us to see her brother, who was one of the groomsmen in our wedding, and her sister-in-law. We haven’t seen Gary and Connie for years so we were thankful to spend some time with them.
John and Jackie hosted a gathering with Sandy and Eric (we went on vacation with them in 2015). We met in Columbus so that Steve – Sandy’s son and John’s best friend for years in Mogadore – and his fiance Amy were able to come. Steve and Amy just moved to Dayton from Memphis. They have asked me to perform their wedding if we can ever find a date!
Pam, Steve, and Alex met us in Mansfield for supper one night. They are friends from church and they are always willing to drive to meet us.
I miss the people from Wedgewood. After all, I was the pastor there for 21 years. This year I wanted to go to the Family Christmas Program at the church but there was a big ice storm that night. Rats. Maybe next year. I did, however, get to see a few folks from Wedgewood. Kris, one of the regular blog readers, hosted a supper and invited the women from my last Disciple Bible Study class. Six of us had a wonderful supper together. I enjoyed myself so much I forgot to take any pictures!
The last couple we got to visit with were Pete and Cathy, some friends from graduate school. They live in Hilliard and Pete is the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State University. Pete has to spend a lot of evenings schmoozing with people, so we were thankful that he was willing to take an evening to be with us.
Despite having six weeks in Ohio, we still didn’t get to see everyone we wanted to see. We are incredibly blessed to have so many friends! But we enjoyed those we did get to see and especially appreciated those who went out of their way to make time for us.