December 15, 1995 – Friday – 12:08 p.m.

Ten days until Christmas.

I am at Crystal and Clifton’s house now.  I got here around 4:00 p.m. yesterday.  We decorated the Christmas tree, then went to the rehearsal at church.  Clifton and I played cards before we went to sleep.  It was like spending the night at a friend’s house.

I slept really well.  I had a weird dream that I was walking alone along the abandoned country roads of Bear Creek, North Carolina.  A car pulled up beside me and in the car were Scott and Shirley and a grown up Veronica.  They told me they were riding around looking for colleges that Veronica might attend.

Then my dream ended.

I talked to Sharon last night as she came to pick Hannah up from rehearsal.  She said that Melissa had a really good time with Vince and was a little sad because she wasn’t going to see him again for 23 days.

She said 23 days.

She counted them.

She counted the days until Vince would return.

That seemed so beautiful and innocent to me.  I wished I had someone I could count the days down to.

This morning, after I took a shower and ate a bowel of cereal while everyone was gone, I watched Apollo 13; I enjoyed it much better the second time.

It felt weird this morning as I walked around in the kitchen, my bare feet touching the cold tile floor.  It reminded me of my home in Siler City.  The tile floor on the second floor of McAlister Hall is always warm.

Which reminds me…my third semester at Lees-McRae College is officially over.  I remember that after my second semester I said that my two best nights were the nights in which I first talked to Emily over the phone and the night in which I held Syndi under the waterfall.

By the way, Syndi has gone back to Tampa.  She is not returning next semester.  I will probably never see her again.

For my first semester I would have to say that one of my best nights was when I was in Cincinnati with Jeni on top of a hill overlooking the city and seeing a bright red moon hovering over the city lights.

Now, for my third semester, I would have to say that my two greatest nights were when Dan, Allen, and I went hiking one evening on the other side of Grandfather Mountain.  It was really warm, my hair was long and blowing in the wind.  I could see so far.  There were huge rocks all around us.  I kept on saying, “I’m flying!  I’m free!”

The other best night would have to be this past Wednesday evening as Vince and I, plus Sharon’s three beautiful daughters, Melissa, Laura, and Hannah, took a walk down a wintry trail to their little cottage hidden in the woods.  While walking down there with Laura next to me, I dreamt of a summer of ’96 in this beloved land and how I would always go up to visit Laura, and she would come down to visit me.  We would sit out and watch the beautiful sunsets together.

I dreamt of warm weather.

I dreamt of her.

I still dream of her.

A young girl of sixteen whose mother will only let drive to Ingles and Eckerd Drug.

I remember being 16.  So long ago.  I remember three years ago as I tried to put a Christmas show together at my old church.  It fell through.  It didn’t happen.

But now, three years later, I attempted to do it again, in another land with different people and different children.  And it is happening.  It came together.

It opens tomorrow night.

Back in Siler City, I dreamed Winter Dreams.

But here in Banner Elk, they come true.

In a few days I will say goodbye for a short while and return to a place and say hello to many I said goodbye to long ago.  Only to say goodbye again and return here to say hello.

That is what life consists of.

Hellos and goodbyes.

But in between each one, there is laughter, there are tears, there are smiles, there are special unique moments that make my life so beautiful.

Laura?  Do you dream of me?

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