July 11, 1997 – Friday – 11:55 p.m.

I’m at Deep Creek.  Charlie got a call earlier today from Jason.  He was here the first semester of my Freshman year.  Well, he only lives 30 minutes down the road, so he met up with us and is going camping with us.

We set up camp, then drove to Cherokee and did some Go-Kart racing and played miniature golf.  We also drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway and told scary stories.

But on the way back, Allen bought some little cigars and he and Vince have been smoking.  Well, I guess they say they are only puffing on them, but I’m not sure of the difference.  Perhaps I’m weird, but it makes me uncomfortable.  I left and went on a walk.  When I came back, they wanted to go for a walk.  I was angry with them because of the cigars and for the fact that they peed on the ground and not in the restroom.  I’ve been coming here for several years and I know beautiful young girls like Emily walk around on this holy ground in their bare feet.  I couldn’t believe they would pee on the ground a few feet from the restroom.  Who does that?

While on my walk, I was flooded with memories.  Although it’s only been four years since I came here with Danny, Peter, Marcus, and Kevin, they are the ones who fit this place the best.  My dear friends I’m with now don’t know the unspoken rules of this place.  They don’t know how it’s supposed to work or how it’s supposed to feel.

While walking, I remembered precious moments with Syndi and Emily.  I even remembered the days with Brandon and all he did was flirt with every girl he saw.  Jonathan came with me once.  Then all the family reunions I’ve had here.

But I think I had the most fun with Syndi.  This land will always be tied to those precious days of us walking hand in hand in these woods.

These guys here now simply don’t belong.  They have no idea.  They don’t know what each mountain tree and rock means to me.  This place is my home; as much as any other place in the world.

May 3, 1997 – Saturday – 11:50 p.m.

Jessica and I camped out on top of a small hill west of Hemlock Hill.  We didn’t sleep in a tent; we slept under the stars.  It was a beautiful evening where we ate an entire box of Wheat Thins and talked about the simple joys of life.  I don’t think I’ve ever known a more delightful girl.

On Friday, Vince and I moved some of my stuff into Tennessee dorm.  At 3 o’clock, I left with Amy and Derek to drive down to Charlotte where we visited Abigail’s family and saw STOMP.  It was a completely amazing experience.  I had a relaxing time just riding in the car and listening to music as well.  I haven’t had a car at all during these three years of college and I’m so thankful I haven’t.  To depend on others, to hear new music, to stare out the window as the car hums beneath me; oh I love it so.

I slept in this morning and Allen helped me move more stuff this afternoon.  We went to see Joseph again tonight.  Marjorie was there.  I’ve been running into her a lot recently.

Graduation is tomorrow.  I leave on Monday.  I believe mom and I will visit some family in Waynesville.

I’m only taking some clothes, my Bible, and my Book of Days home with me.  I don’t own much, but I don’t even want to bring that with me.  I’m leaving my stereo, music, and other stuff here.  I just want to see who I really am.  I don’t want to be around my usual surroundings for a while.  I just want me, the Holy Word, and a blank sheet of paper in this notebook.

May 1, 1997 – Thursday – 9:10 a.m.

Yesterday was great.  I tore box office tickets for an hour with Derek, ate lunch, then Jessica and I went hiking through the woods to find a place where we are going to camp out tonight.  I took a little nap, then went to student services to get my 400 key for next year.  A 400 key will open any door in any Residence Hall.  I went to look at my room in Tennessee dorm for the summer.

I ate dinner, then Jessica and I went to Boone with Derek and Dawn to see Joseph.  I had so much fun last night.  We went to Backyard Burgers and started thinking up weird sayings like, “Holy Therapeutic Thursday!!”  It was hilarious.  The show was great, and Derek treated all of us to milkshakes at Mel’s Diner.

So, it seems as it Jessica and I are going to sleep near each other in a small tent about a mile into the nearby woods.  I don’t know what’s going on between us.  It doesn’t matter.  She is simply a beautiful Christian girl and I greatly enjoy her company.

June 16, 1996 – Sunday – 1:10 p.m.

Today is Father’s Day.  I called my dad this morning.

This past Wednesday night, Sherry and Shannon came to church with me.  Sherry enjoyed herself.  I introduced her to Sharon.  Sherry was amazed by her love and kindness toward her.

After the service, Sherry and Shannon and I went to Boone to get a bite to eat and then we went to the park.  They are so much fun to be around.  I am noticing changes in Sherry.  Perhaps she longs to grow closer to the Lord.

They left around noon on Thursday to go and spend the weekend at Sherry’s home in Florida.

Allen came into town on Thursday night.  He is the summer studies RA in McAlister.  Good to see him.  He is excited about the Lord as always.

Vince has started working at the local Presbyterian camp, and he got in touch with me and said that he was coming over on Friday night.  He did show up, but with four other friends including Ellen.  It turns out they had planned a camping trip and wanted me to come along.  Craig offered to take duty, so I went.  So a total of six of us went:  Vince, Ellen, Wilks, Erin, and Marjorie.  They are all working at the camp this summer.  Wilks is from Nashville.  Erin is from Tampa.  And Marjorie is an insanely pretty girl from California, but she moved to Boone about a year ago.

We drove a very long distance up a steep gravel road to Table Rock.  It had been dark for over an hour before we got there, then we hike for another hour up to the top.  I got to know everyone a little better.  Such delightful people.

We got to the top and saw beautiful distant clouds far away.  Bolts of lightning illuminated the sky as the storm inched closer.  City lights hovered in the valley below.  Everything was so big and so wide.  God is so beautiful.

The three girls were getting scared, so we walked back down.  Vince and I talked about Sharon and Laura.  We talked about their beauty and their endless love and caring towards us and others.  Erin listened earnestly.  I believe she likes Vince, just like every other girl who has ever met him.  She better get in line.

We reached the car and, with our own flashlights, tried to find a place to put up a tent.  We had three tents, but one was too big for us to try and put up in the dark.  The other two that they had borrowed from the camp didn’t have the right poles packed with them.  So, we did our best and constructed the weirdest looking shelter known to man.  It was only a two-man tent though, but we weren’t going to dare and try to put up the other one.

So, three guys and three girls ventured into this temporary home and all six of us squeezed into this small space very uncomfortably.

I slept next to Marjorie.  Her skin was so cool and soft.  She made the perfect pillow.  Needless to say, we all got very little sleep, but we simply talked a whole lot and laughed even more.

It was so nice to feel a girl’s body next to me as I slowly fell asleep.

The storm we saw brought no rain and we woke up to a beautiful, sunny day.  We found the tent much easier to tear down than it was to put up, and we set off down the mountain to stop at Wiseman’s View over the Linville Gorge.

Vince took a shower here that morning.  Then we went shopping that afternoon.  We met up with Ellen, Erin, and Marjorie, and even went to see The Cable Guy.  It had a plot and a meaning, which is pretty unusual for a Jim Carrey movie.  I liked it.

After the movie, we got a pizza and walked to the mall.  The sunset was beautiful.

My bed felt nice compared to the rocky surface of the night before, but I awoke this morning with only my teddy bear next to me.  How I longed to be able to open my eyes and see the sunlight grace along the curves of a beautiful woman, but that will come in time.  I am content with where I am now.

The worship service at Heaton really touched me.  Jim spoke on holy families and how parents need to say the words “I love you” more than “wash the dishes, I’m tired.”

I cried.  Tears rolled down my face.  My mom loves me I know, but there were times when she wasn’t very affectionate towards me.  I noticed and it hurt.  However, every time Sharon sees me, she hugs me, looks deep into my soul, compliments me, and affirms who I am.  I surely notice and I love it.

I told Bob happy Father’s Day today.  A special grin filled his face.  He’s never had a son to say that to him, until now.

September 4, 1995 – Monday – 3:40 p.m.

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Four very special days are coming to a close.  Syndi and I returned from our weekend away about 20 minutes ago.  I just got finished unpacking my clothes.  This entry will probably not be in chronological order, but nonetheless I spent almost every second of the past four days with beautiful Syndi.  We went to Deep Creek with my parents.  We went tubing.  She wore her bathing suit.  We took hikes.  We went and saw three amazing waterfalls together.  I took tons of pictures.  We drove to Cherokee, played miniature golf, rode go-carts, and I spent a lot of money I didn’t really have.  We ate at Pizza Hut and we looked out over that never-changing scene.  She held my hand while we hiked, and whenever we sat down to rest, she would put her head on my shoulder and I would put my arm around her.  We would hold hands while tubing down the creek.  We would make jokes and laugh.

In short, I roamed the playground of my youth, the place I visited every summer for the past decade, with a gorgeous tall redhead who clung so close to my side.  Syndi and I were inseparable.  And everywhere we drove we listened to the same song over and over because she had the single stuck in her cassette player and couldn’t get it out.  So any time in the future, when I hear The Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) I’ll think of Syndi and our perfect weekend in the Smoky Mountains.

A really funny moment was when Syndi and I were simply hanging out at the campsite after we had finished tubing.  She was still in her bathing suit.  We were just sitting next to each other on our tubes, and I don’t know, but I guess I yawned or something and my grandpa asked what was wrong.  I said, “I don’t know, I guess I’m just bored.”  He turned around and mumbled, “Son, how can you be bored with something like that sitting right next to you?”  He didn’t mean for Syndi and I to hear that, but we sure did.  We had a good laugh.  But it is a blessing to be seen with such a beautiful woman.  Especially one who spent nearly the whole weekend in a bikini.

So much more happened, but last night as we were coming back from Pizza Hut, we turned to go to the recreation park.  I pulled the car up a hill and turned it around so we could face the sunset.  And there began one of the most interesting conversations I have ever known.  She wanted to know why I do the things I do.  By this she was referring to my Christianity.  And with our hands holding each others and my head on her shoulder, I told her how much I love Jesus and why.  I almost cried trying to explain it.  She held my hand tighter as I continued to talk.  And with my head in her lap and her fingers running through my hair, she told me so many things.  She told me little childhood stories and things in her past.  A life so different from my own.  She told me about Eric, her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend, whom she can’t seem to let go of.  He is a drug-addict, and admits it.  And Syndi basically referred to her alcohol as her own god.  Yet, throughout our differences in conversation and beliefs our bodies got closer.  My lips ran across the back of her neck.  And, at one point, I eventually fell asleep with my head in her lap.

Earlier that day, we decided we both needed to take a shower, but the only way to take one is to pay for it at the laundromat.  So, I was in the men’s shower and she was in the woman’s shower.  Syndi finished before me and when she walked to the car, she said a woman came up to her and said, “Your husband sure does take a long time in that shower, doesn’t he.”  She said she didn’t have the heart to correct her, and for a few times that night, Syndi called me “her hubby.”

I asked her why she was with me this weekend and why she spent so much time with me?  Why she seems so concerned with my life?

She said she found me interesting.

Normally, Syndi is not the kind of person I would hang around and she said the same about me.  However, this non-Christian, this “person-of-the-world”, is on my mind 24/7.

For the past few years while at Deep Creek, I secretly hoped to meet a special girl.  And I did.  I met Emily.  This year however, I brought one with me.

I am not any better than Syndi.  She is not any better than me.  Jesus died for her just like he died for me.  She is a child of God who is simply lost.

And I am a child of God, who in the long run, will probably lose her.

July 15, 1994 – Friday – 6:12 p.m.

Jonathan and I have decided to leave tonight around midnight. I can’t wait to get home.
Last night Jonathan and I talked over a campfire. He poured his heart out to me that night. He talked about how his greatest fear was to die without anyone loving him or caring for him. He told me how he longs to go to the stars, but he is stuck here on this little planet.

He and Vicky broke up. He met a girl here, but she lives in Georgia.

I went down Indian Creek Falls again today. This Deep Creek trip turned out a lot better than I first thought.

For almost two weeks straight, I have camped. I have enjoyed it greatly. I have learned a lot.

On, by the way, yesterday I ran into the girl who jumped the car off while I was in Franklin. It was so cool to see her here in Bryson City.

Well, I’ll soon be home, probably within the next 12 hours.

I can’t wait to see Hannah and Kristen.

Kenny and I will joke around as usual. I know this means nothing to you, but when I read this again years later, I will surely laugh:

“How much blood young man? Knee Deep!”

These two vacations are over.

Fishnet ’94 and Deep Creek ’94.

I enjoyed Fishnet a lot better.

I have 42 days of my home left. Then I will go off to a life of acting classes, term papers, community showers, new faces, and lost memories.

Dear God, help me.

July 11, 1994 – Monday – 9:15 a.m.

I’m at Deep Creek.  So much has happened since I last wrote in my journal while at Fishnet.

My heart is aching now.  What am I doing here at Deep Creek?

First of all, we left from Fishnet late Sunday morning.  Hannah and I sat in the same seat.  We both slept, we were very close.  I miss her.  She is very sweet.

When we got to High Falls Church, we all said our goodbyes.  The way I lived from the 6th to the 10th of July…I could live that way forever.  But when I got to my church that night, I talked to Jenna about how much fun I had.  She hugged me so many times that night.

I then discovered that Scott had a motorcycle accident and he can’t go to Deep Creek with us.  He’s okay, just some scratches.  So this morning, at 2:00 a.m. Jonathan and I left.  And here we are now.  He has been sick, so he’s asleep.

It’s raining and well…I feel like crying.

Hannah!  Kristen!  Lisa!  Jenna!  Tenielle!  What am I doing here?  I should be near you!

But I am here until Friday.  Just Jonathan and I.

We leave Saturday morning.

I’m used to being here at Deep Creek with Kevin, Marcus, Danny, and Peter.  Where are they now?

I want to go back to Fishnet so bad.

God, please give me joy during this time.

July 7, 1994 – Thursday – 6:45 a.m.

I’m at Fishnet!  We got here yesterday afternoon around 2:30 p.m.  The ride up was amazing.  I’m having so much fun.

The people I came here with are so friendly.  Their names are Kenny, Lisa, Tony, Leslie, Bradley, Dana, Kim, Hannah, Glen, Kristin, and some other girl.

Yesterday after we set up camp, we sat around and ate.  I went to the concerts and praise & worship last night.  After that a storm came up and blew down our tarp.  It started to rain, so I slept in the van.  Thank God, I was dry.

There is a whole world in front of me and with Jesus at my side I can do anything.

Time to help make breakfast….