During Spring Break I took a road trip up to Virginia. I guess the timing was right, because it was just before the ugly spike in gas prices hit us. Rather than take my trusty 200,000 mile bucket of bolts up there, I rented a car for the journey.
I followed the speed limit for most of the trip, only going a little over at times to keep up with the flow of traffic. Lynchburg, Virginia was my destination to visit a freind I have not seen for 25 years, George Everson, a beautiful Christian brother.
Shortly after I entered Virginia, there was something familiar to me about the shape of the hills and the trees that lined the roadway. I could not exactly put my finger on it, but I began to laugh and cry at the same time, remembering people and places and things that happened that I had not thought of for the longest time.
I pulled into Liberty University around 4 pm. Gone was the guard shack on the bridge that students had to pass by to enter or exit. A Barnes and Noble bookstore now squatted in the middle of the parking lot just past the entrance. The growth of buildings in the central campus was staggering. There used to be a campus green with a fountain in the valley that connected the east and west sides of the campus. Although the buildings were blocky brick structures, squared off shapes that dotted the landscape, it had a small quaintness of its own.
Now the view was cut off by a massive, columned, four story structure that both dominated and obscured the entire view in the center of the campus. To me, the building itself seemed a bit presumptuous compared to the gentle grace on the ground where I once walked and lived. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
Then it was time for me to go see George. I passed the Hess gas station, where I distinctly remember the gas prices being $1.05 a gallon, but the rest of the outskirts of Lynchburg had changed so much, I did not even recognize it.
Despite getting lost, I somehow managed to find Rivermont Avenue downtown, and proceeded to Rivermont Presbyterian Church, where George worked. How awesome it was. His hair was now gray, and mine was gone, but somehow that didn't matter. He showed me around the historic 100 year old church, telling me stories of the pastors who had served there and how God had blessed him.
George still lives in a basement apartment downtown, but he does not seem to mind. He can walk to work and wherever he needs to go- he does not own a car, which is unusual in a society of commuters, where work is often a distance from where one lives. We had dinner and talked about old times. They were good times, with our D&D gaming group as we struggled with our growth into young adulthood.
I awoke early the next morning, and packed everything up. George said a blessing over me as I left, which I treasure. As I turned the ignition on the dark street, George appeared at my door, ever the faithful servant, holding the two pillows which I had left behind.
The next leg of my trip was to Newport News, Virginia to visit another old freind, Suzanne. We got to talk and walk on the beach and go out to eat, so it was good to see her again. I was glad that she was involved in a local church and that her spiritual life was flourishing. She has a small house with an in-ground pool and her cats keep her company as they climb over every available surface, hunting and stalking one another. I got to say a prayer for her, and I hope that God blesses her richly.
There are a few other stories that I could relate, but that will have to wait for another time.