. . .and if I didn't know, I'd have Beth to remind me! It's been far too long. . . in fact, I neglected blogging this week to the extent of missing my Blog-a-versary. That's just wrong.
And right now, 10:34 p.m. on Saturday evening, when I should be in bed, getting rest for tomorrow (one of my busiest "work" days all year) I'm blogging. Partly out of guilt. Partly out of the need to get some of this "junk" out of my system.
Where do I start?
Let's see, this past week, perhaps. This past week was insane. Literally insane.
You see, tomorrow, our church is hosting our biggest outreach event besides Christmas and Easter services. For the past 8 or 9 years, a team of actors (both from our church and others) have gotten together, and "recreated" an episode of the "Andy Griffith Show." One of our close friends, Tim, portrays Andy. His son does a great job as Opie. One of Mark's former co-workers is a dead-on for "Barney" and another good friend plays "Floyd."
What our church does is cater a dinner - we used to cook it ourselves (yikes) - and then after dinner, our guests (525 tomorrow) will go from our Family Life Center (gym) to the Worship Center (sanctuary) and watch the show. We're being catered by Buddy's Bar-B-Que. Yes "Chick," the Buddy's we all know and love! : )
For the past 6 years or so, this Mayberry-palooza has been primarily my responsibility. Overseeing ticket sales, publicity, dealing with the caterers, set up and tear down, decor, and paying the expenses. . . it's all mine. Sometimes I get credit for it -- but that's not really important.
This week, however, my boss came up to me in my office, and gave me one of those "Christian" hugs. . . on the side - one arm - around the shoulders. . .and told me that he could see I was about to lose it. It has been a stressful week. He was right.
But, this time tomorrow night, it will be over. . . .then it will be time to tackle the next three big events (before Christmas, mind you)
- Buddy Walk - October 14
- Church Anniversary - October 28
- Children's Christmas Musical - December 5 & 9
. . .and I have all these grandiose schemes of MAKING gifts for Christmas this year. Yeah, right.
So, between all the hype of work this week, Edison survived his 3-day trip to Townsend, TN. The school takes two "retreats" each year -- last spring he missed his because of two strains of flu and strep throat. He was one sick puppy. This year, he had fun.
He arrived back at his school at 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon. Mark picked him up, brought him home, and within an hour, we dumped both kids at my mom's house--because we were headed over to Washington County, TN (Johnson City/Jonesborough) to celebrate a "reunion" with the kids that I taught during my one "infamous" year of school-teaching.
I've encouraged them to read my blog, so I'm obviously going to say glowing, wonderful things about them... (Yes, LISA, I think you're wonderful!!!) But, as we ate dinner with them last night, and chatted and caught up after TWENTY YEARS. . . I realized that each of them went down very different paths. Heck, I was a different person twenty years ago. Thank GOD that I'm not the same person now that I was then. But, we laughed. . . no one cried, that I can remember.
I wanted to kind of "capsulate" what I remember about each of them, and what I see now. . .
Mindie - she organized the whole deal. Mindie didn't actually graduate from WCA. The year after I left, she was expelled 6-weeks into the school year. Do I think that my presence would have changed things? Nah. She had a road laid out for her to tread. . .it was a tough road. She is on the other side of that road--stronger, and standing taller (if that's possible). I'm grateful that she planned this get-together. I think it was a good thing for her to do--for her.
Lynn - she was Mindie's accomplice and right-arm person. Lynn married her high-school sweetheart. She still called me "Miss Knowles," and so did her 18-year old daughter! Cracked me up. Lynn was one of my choir girls, too. She has a beautiful daughter, and really made me feel good about coming back to visit everyone. Thanks, Lynn!
Shane - I don't think the evening would have been the same if she wasn't there. Shane was one of most unique, outgoing, funny, irreverent "kids" I have ever known. She was funny and witty beyond her years (20 years ago). She, too, married her high-school sweetheart. She wishes that she wouldn't have--but because of that marriage, she has a beautiful daughter, Emily. Emily reminds me of Shane when she was my student. Emily is precocious, spunky, outspoken, opinionated, and a little bit rebellious. But here's the cool part: Shane is re-married, and has a beautiful 10-month old baby girl named "Sarah Kate." Sarah came right to me, and snuggled up against my face. Okay, maybe I did cry a little last night.
Shane and her family live in Georgia. She's very active in a charismatic Catholic church. You go, girl! I am so blinking proud of you. You keep strong. You stay on top of that Emily--and love her no matter what! I really am so glad to have spent time with you--even if I did learn things about everyone's extra-curricular activities that I never wanted to know!
Wade -- He was one of "my boys." But, as he admitted last night, he always let Paul Kennedy sing (loudly) and he just lip synched along with him. That cracked me up! He was a cutie pie in high school - blonde hair - blue eyes - a mullet - come on, it was 1987!! But, he and his wife, and three kids, live only about 15 minutes away from us. That was bizarre. He looks great. His wife is beautiful. So encouraging to see how well he's doing!!
Cindy & Gina - they were students, but I didn't really know them that well. It turns out, Cindy lives here in Knoxville. She is a beautiful young woman. . . husband & kids. Gina was fun to meet, too.
Then there were two students who "forced" us to wait around until midnight to see them again. . .and I'm so glad I did. (even though we didn't get into bed until 2 a.m.)
Shelton - he wasn't one of "my" students (non-musician, you see) but he was always one of my favorite kids to talk to. He was wise beyond his years. Very dry sense of humor. Very bright kid. He's a doctor, now. He and his wife live in Kingsport, and have a 3-year old, and a 1-year old. I am sooooooo glad we waited around to see him.
Lisa - I honestly didn't think she'd be that happy to see me. I don't know why. I always felt like I let her down as a teacher. She had aspirations (in high school) for music, and I really didn't do enough to encourage those aspirations. But, I don't think I have ever known a more genuine, caring young lady. As we were talking about other students last night --and we weren't always being kind, mind you -- Lisa was. She was always able to find a good characteristic. Unless she was fibbing, she and Shane both said that they truly liked almost everyone we named. They even liked people (students and fellow faculty members) that *I* didn't like.
This afternoon, they all gathered at the school, with a few more of the alumni, for an official reunion celebration. Because of Mayberry, I was just not able to stay around. But, I was grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with them last night.
One of the people that was going to be there today--that I would loved to have seen--was Caroline. Yes, there *was* another Caroline in my life. And yes, it's true. . . *my* Caroline is named after this young lady. She was, without a doubt, one of the sweetest girls I have ever known. Even before I taught her at school, I knew she and her family. They attended the church where I attended in college. I was fortunate to help "lead" their youth choir while I was a student at Milligan. When I arrived at Washington College, it was so cool to already know Caroline, and her sister, Julie.
Both of the girls were active in the music program. So, I got to spend lots of time with them. I don't know. . .there was just something about Caroline. When I learned, in December of 2003, that Mark and I were having a girl, that name just leapt out of my heart.
So, it broke my heart last night, to leave, and realize that I wasn't going to get to see her. Now, mind you, she only lives about 2 hours from here. And, Julie, her sister, lives here in Knoxville. So, we're going to have our own little reunion. . .mark my words!
Oh, there are others I would have loved to have seen. . . .Paul and Charles Kennedy, Lyn O'Connor, Hillary Dossett, Kenny & Denise Grabner. . . I'd name more if I could remember their names. (It was over 20 years ago!!)
But, I have to be satisfied with the great evening I had last night, and hope that there will be more in the future.
. . .and if I ever appreciated my husband, it was last night. Mark endured a stressful drive over (1.5 hours) in the rain. He ironed our clothes last night, as I touched up my makeup before dinner. He sat through dinner with an entire table-full of perfect strangers. And, he did it all because he loves me.
I think he enjoyed himself, too. He got to spend a good portion of the evening talking to Mindie's step-father, who is an army veteran, special forces. I'd see them talking. . .and overhear some of their conversations. Mark having worked as a civilian on an army post, has a special interest and respect for men and women in uniform.
So Honey, I wasn't kidding. . .I owe you big time!!(Just for the record, this extremely long blog entry took exactly 41 minutes to type and edit)