Athens, The Final Chapter

On Sunday I had the privilege of going to church with Caleb and Jenny. While I love my church family, I also love the beautiful connectedness that believers have with each other even when they are strangers. Consequently, I enjoy the occasions that allow me to visit with other congregations (but please, don’t make me stand up in front of everyone to introduce myself, or make a speech about missions in Sunday school – missionary kid PTSD). Fellowshipping with the believers at Classic City Community Church was a joy. It was so nice to worship with my children and get to know the people they have joined themselves with. I was also introduced to Matt Redmon’s music, as we sang, “10,000 Reasons“. I loved this song enough to come home and buy the CD.

After church we went to De Palma’s for lunch. I had an eggplant parmesan sandwich on Cuban bread with a cucumber salad on the side. Both were great, but I am going to have to try to recreate that salad… When we had finished, we drove to Hendershots, one of the many places we didn’t have time to experience. There, I bought some coffee beans and a tee-shirt to take to my caregiving son. This coffee shop is just the kind of place he and his musical friends would hang out if they lived in Athens.

We returned home where I gathered my belongings and we got in the car to head to Cummings to visit with Strokeman’s brother and sister-in-law. On the way, I noticed a post on Facebook that indicated that a childhood buddy of mine was in the emergency room of the town we were passing through. We contemplated stopping, but having been in an ER in the not too distant past, I knew that I would be an unnecessary distraction, so we went on our way, praying for Andy. I am thankful to say he is recovering.

When we arrived at Bill and Libby’s, we were pleasantly surprised to find Strokeman’s cousin, Caroline, was also there. We immediately made our way down the hill to take a ride in the pontoon boat on Lake Lanier. It was on this boat ride that this infamous picture I posted on Facebook was taken.1071450_10151707751968190_1200608775_o It wasn’t until it was already posted that I realized that my pants were unzipped. I contemplated taking it off (the picture, not the pants!), but there are so many people who get their jollies from seeing what has come to be known as “pulling a Deanna” that I figured I may as well leave it. Besides, the picture expressed more than words the effect that this weekend escape had on me. I was totally relaxed for the first time in ages. How thankful I am for everyone along the way; from David here at home to Libby taking me to the Marta Express station on Monday morning, and each person in between who worked to make it a true respite for me.

Once we finished with our ride, we walked back up the hill to a wonderful home-cooked meal served at a beautifully set table. It was during dinner that Caroline related a story from early on in my marriage when my husband had gone to a family gathering without me. His family is mostly from Mississippi – deep south. So in the midst of this gathering of southern whites, he was asked about his new wife. Looking down at his plate to load his fork he said, “Well, she’s from Africa…” and then he looked up to see every uncle, aunt and cousin looking at him with dropped jaws and wide eyes. It might not have been the best way to start his description of me in that crowd.

I said my goodbyes to Caleb and Jenny, and after a good night’s sleep, Libby drove me to the train station so that I could get to the airport. The flight home was uneventful. I sat by a lovely woman who chatted with me about her family and her love for UGA football. She asked if I had grandchildren and I happily told her about my two girls. When I asked her, she said she had some step-grandchildren. “Oh!”  I said, “I guess technically mine are step-grandchildren as well, but I never think of them as that.” Somehow that just seemed strange to me. I never even refer to my children as “steps” unless it is to avoid confusion in scenarios where their mom is present. I just don’t see the point of specifying. In my heart they are mine. I want as little distance between me and them as possible.

I landed at DFW around noon, and knowing my sitter would be with Strokeman until 6:00, I stopped by a friend’s house and visited with her. We had a lot of catching up to do and many things to talk about. It was a great way to ease back into my life here at home. It was good to get home, and see my beloved husband. He was so kind to me to let me go, and to assure me each time we talked on the phone that he was fine and that I should not worry about him. This was an unbelievable gift from a man who doesn’t want anyone else taking care of him. Once I was home he told me, “I am so glad you are home, I need you so much!” But not once while I was gone did he let that pining tone enter his voice. Heroic.

And so, we come to the end of my story – only a month and a half from the time the events took place. Pardon me for going on and on about it. I just wanted to drag it out as long as possible.

We have these moments to remember.

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10 Responses to Athens, The Final Chapter

  1. Kelly Lyrene says:

    Loved reading each of these posts. Made me live it with you. I’m so glad you got to get away. And to hear that Strokeman gave this gift of respite to
    you makes my heart sing. May there be more to come. (Gifts of respite). Love you dear friend!

  2. It makes me so happy you got to go! And pulling a Deanna? ?? Priceless!

  3. Tonya says:

    Lovely written monologue, Deanna. Hold on to that precious time!

  4. Grammy5TImes says:

    Refreshing “get away” times are such a precious gift! 10,000 reasons has long been a favorite of mine. My favorite music video is one our grandsons singing the chorus when he was 2. At almost 4, he sings the entire song and it is such a blessing to hear those words coming from his lips. When I first read this post many months ago, I determined to REALLY listen to the words any time I heard this on the radio. Well……my thoughts now go to you and instead of listening to the song, I find that is a special time to pray for you and yours.

    • Isn’t the grand-parenting gig the best ever? I so treasure the videos I have of mine. I am so grateful for your prayers. I hope I haven’t ruined the worshipfulness of the song for you though. I have hearkened back to the Athens visit many, many times. It was such a wonderful respite for me.

      • Grammy5TImes says:

        I think Redmon would be pleased to know his song encourages worship through prayer and we know how God feels about it. Nothing ruined here-just blessings in praying for and thinking about all of you. And yes, grand-parenting is a GREAT gig. May you be “singing when the evening comes” this day.

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