July 4, 1998 – Saturday – 11:59 p.m.

I am now in a beautiful country home on the outskirts of Colerain, NC; a place I’ve never been to before.

I went to the youth service with David at Parkway Temple on Friday night.  It was so awesome.  I’ve never seen kids praise the Lord like that before.  I was around an entire new set of people, but I felt so at home.

After the service I went over to Justin’s house where he and all of his camp friends were getting together.  I spent another two hours with people I’ve never met before.

The past few days have just been new people after new people!  America is just filled with wonderful people everywhere I look.

Then, this morning, I left with David, Mary Jo, and Mark and we drove down to Mary Jo’s house here in Colerain, NC, 15 miles east of Ahoskie for the 4th of July.  All three of them are Divinity students at Regent, and we spent most of the day on the shore of the Chowan River that runs nearby.

Mary Jo’s parents are hilarious, especially her dad.  They are so hospitable and they fed us like crazy!  Three other friends of hers came over, Kelly and Chad from Greenville, NC and Coleen, another girl from Regent.

We swam in the river, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, but the fireworks were cancelled that evening due to strong winds.  Instead, we just sat on the swings and talked.  We spent hours and hours there; the conversation just flowed.  The warm wind blew all over us.  Coleen is so unique and beautiful.  It was just the most perfect 4th of July I could have had.  Talking and sharing with new souls who seem so eager to know you is one of life’s greatest gifts!

Now it’s time for a peaceful sleep.

July 6, 1996 – Saturday – 11:15 a.m.

It’s been a busy week.  Sorry I haven’t written.

I’ve been on duty since Tuesday night.  Tony, the Director of Financial Aid, asked me to watch his dog for him this week, so I’ve been sleeping over at his house on Faculty Drive while he was away.  The Dog’s name is Balki, we had fun.

Allen and I went to see Independence Day on the Fourth of July.  Great movie.  Very funny.

I rented Leaving Las Vegas and Dead Man Walking.  Good acting in Leaving Las Vegas, but a terrible movie.  Dead Man Walking was absolutely wonderful.  A perfect film.

Brigadoon has opened.  I’ve been working the box office and ushering for it.  I sold lemonade during Intermission last night and talked to a customer named Emily.

Two days ago was the first Fourth of July I haven’t spent at River Birch Shopping Center in a long time.

Fishnet is this Wednesday, but I won’t be going.

Vince just called me.  I’m going to go see him at camp.

Curtis is coming up today as well.

July 4, 1995 – Tuesday – 8:35 a.m.

This day has come again.

I am going to Riverbirch Shopping Plaza in Sanford today to help out at our Church’s hotdog stand.  I’m sure Jenna and Tenielle will show up sometime.  Perhaps I’ll see the beautiful fireworks with Jenna again.

Last night, I went with Henry to the “Total Man Forum” meeting.  It is a church men’s group.  I had a great time.  We just fellowshipped and talked.

Well it is time to put my shoes on and let this day begin.

It is now 11:15 p.m.

This day is over.

I arrived at Riverbirch close to 10:00 a.m.  Pastor Steve, Tim and I set things up.  Another guy named Alex came up from church and it was just basically the two of us running the show while Pastor Steve cooked the hot dogs.  I did that for 10 hours.  It was rough.  I got super tired.

Across the sidewalk, there was a woman running a little table.  She had the body and face of Michelle from Lees-McRae.  It drove me crazy.  I miss Michelle so much right now.


Jenna and Tenielle were there.  I didn’t see them much though.  I saw Sam.  He said hi.  Today he looked like a short punk little kid.  But over the phone he seemed like so much more.

I also saw Mandy and Dana.  The two girls Jonathan and I went to Myrtle Beach with.  Jonathan is supposedly at Myrtle Beach right now.  He’s been cheating on Mandy with a girl named Misty from Asheboro.  Why does he do that?

Tim took my place after the sunset.  I went to the restroom in JCPenny and little Christina and Aaron wanted to walk around with me.  They are two little kids from church.  So I let them.  I bought them some candy and we watched the fireworks together.  Jenna was no where to be found.  I took some pictures.  I was sad.  I came home.

Last yea, I walked around jokingly with a beautiful girl.

This year, I worked my butt off in the heat selling hot dogs to strangers.  For no pay!

What has happened to me?

What has changed?

What is important?

Am I a man?

Or still a little boy?

Am I a man of God?

Is there a woman of God who is looking for someone like me?

I am 18-years-old.

I’ll be 19 next month.

I have hardly begun to live.

Yet, I feel as if I have survived through so many lifetimes already.

July 4, 1994 – Monday – 11:30 p.m.

The 4th of July is over.  This day will never happen again.  Something happened that I will be faced with again.  My brother will make me face it.

The plans did not go awry.  This is what happened and part of what I tell you now I did not know at the time.  I learned this from my mom later.

After I was dropped off at Sally’s, mom went back to Riverbirch to pick up Henry, but found out that he had to stay there.  She went to get Kevin from McDonald’s.  Kevin asked where I was.

“At a friend’s house,” she said.

“What is he going to do?” he asked.

“Why do you need to know everything?” she said.

Now don’t ask me why she is saying this, I was shocked when she told me.

Kevin said, “He’s with Jenna and Tenielle, isn’t he?”

She said yes and then told them what our plans were, to see The Lion King, etc.

“Did he tell you not to tell me?”

Mom said no, which was the truth and then Kevin said, “Well, I’m going to have to have a talk with him.”

I didn’t know about this conversation until mom brought me over to the kid’s house in Bonlee where I am now.  I have to watch them tomorrow night too.

So mom brought Kevin to Sally’s picked us all up and drove us over to the cinema.  Kevin told me that we had to talk.  I said okay.

Whenever Jenna and I were making plans, I told them that Kevin would probably join us…and I even called Marcus to find out what time he got off work, but it wasn’t until 8:00 p.m.

Well, I enjoyed the movie much better the second time.  Simba really does remind me of myself.  After it was over, mom picked us up and we all went to Riverbirch.

Scott showed up.  I talked with him.  He’s okay and he is still going to Deep Creek.

Jenna and I walked around alone together.  We did crazy stuff.  She held onto my arm at times and we were so close while we walked that our shoulders touched.  We even went to the grocery store to buy some Grey Poupon and went around offering it to people in a British accent, “Pardon me, would you like some Grey Poupon?”  Ah, too funny.

We spent about an hour together.  The little stuff we did to pass the time is simply too wonderful to put into words.

We watched the fireworks together.  Then Kevin and Tenielle found us and we all listened to the band that was playing together.

Then, while standing next to Jenna, it all hit me.  These days here may very well be the best days I have ever known.  And once they are over I will not be able to relive what is in the past.  Jenna saw the look on my face.

“What’s the matter?” she asked.

“Retrospect.”  I said.

I told her I would explain it to her some other day.  They had to leave.  I hugged her.

They went home.

I went home.

Kevin said he wanted to talk to me tonight, but I had to come to Bonlee to watch the boys.

The 4th of July, 1994.

Will I be with Jenna on the 4th of July in 1995?

Or will I see beautiful fireworks with someone else? 




July 4, 1994 – Monday – 1:45 p.m.

I called Jenna. We tried to make plans but my mom wasn’t home so I said I’d call her back later.

Jonathan came by and we discussed plans for our Deep Creek trip. I talked to Lisa today. Fishnet is going to be awesome!

Then I called Jenna back and we made plans. At 3:00 p.m. mom will leave and I will go with her to Sanford. She’ll drop me off at Sally’s house where Jenna and Tenielle will be. She will go back to pick Henry up from helping sell hotdogs at the Riverbirch Shopping Plaza (where the fireworks will be later) and then go home so he can shower and change. They’ll come back and pick up Jenna, Tenielle, and myself from Sally’s and we’ll go see The Lion King, then go and see the fireworks.  From there, Ginger will come and pick up the girls and take them home, then I’ll just ride home with mom and Henry.

Kevin works until 3:00 p.m., so I don’t know if he will be with us; Marcus works until 8:00 p.m.

Hopefully the plans won’t go awry.  

Thank you Lord for this beautiful fourth of July!

July 4, 1994 – Monday – 9:15 a.m.

It’s morning and something isn’t right. For the past four mornings I have been with Jenna and Tenielle, either at their house or with them at church. And now they are not near me. It seems I’ve come too attached. I don’t know what to do with myself now that they are not around me.

Jenna told me to call her today. I will. We will probably do something together. Kevin and Marcus are working all day. I’m not sure how tomorrow will go…then Fishnet will be here…and I’ll be away from them for a few days. I’ll be back on Sunday night, but then I go away for a week. I’ll come back and only have 42 days left to get even closer to them, and then college will creep up on us and who knows what we become of us then.