Friday, April 10, 2009

An Unexpected Guest

Wednesday night after church I stopped by Braum's to buy a half gallon of milk, then headed the truck toward Bella Vista, twelve miles distant. I was about two miles from the house when my cell phone rang--or vibrated, actually. I dug it out of my side pocket and answered without checking to see who it was, expecting it to be Lynda. I can't really see the display well enough when I'm driving to see the name or number.

It wasn't Lynda, it was an old friend, Richard. We met Richard and his family in church in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia in 1981 (yes, there are clandestine churches in the land of the house of Saud). He was in town, had just called the house, gotten my cell phone number from Lynda. I was to go to the McDonald's where he was waiting and guide him back to our house, where he would eat supper and spend the night. I had already passed that place, five or six miles back, but I did a U-turn and went and fetched him in.

We had a great time visiting until midnight, when I had to turn in to be able to function the next day, and he had to do the same to be able to drive to Tulsa and Oklahoma City the next day. A brief time in the morning was all we had after that. He followed me to the place where Arkansas 279 meets Arkansas 72. I went left; he went west. I last saw him and his wife and son in 2003 at his son's wedding, before that in 2001 at our daughter's wedding, before that in the mid-90s when their older son died of leukemia. We talked about the need to get together more often and Richard asked, "How do we make that happen?"

I wish I knew. When we are in St. Louis (where he and his wife live), we are always on a forced drive, trying to make tracks to Chicago or parts east (as we will be late this month) or on the return trip and anxious to get home. We all have busy lives, and spend them with our closest family. Keeping in touch with friends from decades ago is tough enough, let alone getting together. Still, we can work on making it happen.

So I am a day behind in everything I hoped to do. Last night I finished my Federal income tax. Yeah! Subject, of course, to mathematical checking and a last review against the instruction book. I should have it copied and in the mail on Monday. My Arkansas taxes should go pretty quick. I might start working on them tonight and try to have them done Monday as well.

I completed reading the book I had committed to critiquing, and enjoyed that. I have put aside all the books I was surreptitiously reading that have never been added to my reading pile, and am concentrating on a Bible study. It looks as if our Life Group may have a two week gap between lesson series in May, so I'm trying to put together a two-week lesson on one of the kings of Judah. It's a fascinating study for me, whether I have to teach the lesson of not, as the accounts in 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles differ both in time line and details, and I'm studying to reconcile them.

This weekend, hopefully, I will be back to a few writing activities. Actually, last night I read once more through "Mom's Letter" and did a few minor edits, and I finished my research into potential markets and made my decisions on where to send it. This weekend I intend to make the e-mail and snail mail submissions. Next week, who knows? Perhaps another angel will visit us, and my best laid plans will again go astray.

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