June 15, 1997 – Sunday – 9:15 a.m.

Yesterday was one of the best days of the summer so far.

I was aloud to eat breakfast in the cafeteria that morning since I worked Orientation.  I ate with two different families.  They asked me questions about the school and about me.  It was fun talking to them.

For the rest of the morning I sat at a desk and checked people out of their rooms.  I helped a mother measure her daughter’s room to she could hang curtains for her, then we ate lunch together.  There was a drawing for a $200 scholarship.  I drew the name and it was Monica from Houston, Texas.  She was happy and thanked me.

After lunch, I drove her and Amber to Johnson City, TN.  I had such a wonderful time.  Our drive was really nice.  We talked the whole hour and a half drive.  Amber is engaged and Monica has a crooked chin like me.  I felt so comfortable with them.  We had a nice time to spare, so we went to the mall.  Monica bought some CDs and we looked at some tennis dresses.  Some were hanging up high and we couldn’t reach them, so Monica bent down on one knee and I tried to jump up off her other knee, but I missed and knocked a whole bunch of other clothes down.  We all had a great laugh.

We ate lunch in the mall and had 11 cent ice cream cones.  Amber and Monica were amazed at how nice people were here.  They were impressed with how nice I was.  They really seem to love the simplicity of the land.

We put a quarter in the little machine that would tell us if we were underweight or overweight.  They were within their ideal weight, but I was 21 pounds underweight.

I dropped them off at the airport after the mall.  My drive home was so nice.  I put the radio on a Christian radio station and just relaxed.  The mountains were so big and green.  Small rain drops decorated my windshield.  Knowing I just made two new friends, replaying in my mind what we did that day: throwing a Nerf football in the toy store, watching them as they modeled a bunch tennis dresses for me (they looked amazing in each one), and me getting toilet paper for Amber from the guys’ bathroom at a run down gas station.

I really had no idea how to get home.  I was a little lost, but finally found my way through the Eastern Tennessee country side.  As I was driving into North Carolina, I kept thinking of Sharon and her girls and how Hannah begged for me to come over last Sunday, but I was busy.  So, I thought I would surprise them.

They were having a cookout for Father’s Day and for Sharon’s dad’s birthday.  They invited me to stay.  The food was delicious.  After dinner, Hannah and I went for a walk down to the Snowflake Inn.  I hadn’t been there since Vince was looking at Melissa, I was looking at Laura, and Hannah, well she was leading the way.

But this time it was just Hannah and I.  How beautiful that little cabin is.  I long for it to be my home.  Hannah and I opened a window and looked inside.  And all I could think was, “Jessica sure would like this place.”

We took a longer walk back and Hannah kept trying to push me in all the mud puddles.  I kept trying to jump out of the way.  We couldn’t stop laughing.  Just an 11-year-old and a 20-year-old as free as they could be.

I left their house at 8:15 p.m. on June 14, 1997.  I came home and fell asleep, but Samarah called me asked me if I could stay with Mangus.  I did.  I slept over there and awoke to the tall oriental cat licking the sleep out of my eyes.

Father’s day of 1997!  What a lovely life I’m living.

June 5, 1997 – Thursday – 11:50 p.m.

Let’s see, what has happened these past couple of days?  The box office has opened; business is slow.  Lindy, my assistant, and I have wonderful conversations while we work.  She is simply great.  Last night Jeni and Tracey and I spent the night at a house down in Foscoe (they were house sitting).  I fell down the stairs; it really scared me.  I went swimming with Allen, Vince, and Laura on Wednesday.  Been chatting with MovieMark on the Rebecca St. James chatline, and he isn’t doing too well.  I got Jerry Maquire in the mail and I’ve watched it a couple of times already.  And, well, we leave for Promise Keepers in the morning.

Life has never felt so fast.

Will this ever slow down?

May 30, 1997 – Friday – 5:31 p.m.

Last night Vince, Allen, Laura, Sharon, and Bob and I went to Hannah’s graduation from Crossnore Elementary School.  Crossnore is a public school, yet they handed out Bibles to the 5th grade class and said prayers throughout the service all night long.  They even pray every morning there.  It’s so nice to know there are still small corners of America that remain untouched by the world around them.

The program was great and it’s so awesome to see Hannah growing up right before my eyes.  I feel like I’ve been a part of her life.  She just lights up when she sees me.  She’s the greatest!

Nearly a year ago I was at another graduation:  Lee Senior for Ryan and Christi.  Christi is now covered in 2nd degree burns and Ryan is supposedly 17 miles down the mountain at App. State, but I have yet to see her.

I have not seen the sun for the past week.  We’ve been covered with rain clouds.

One more day remains in May.  1997 is nearly half over.

Sherry won’t be here this summer.  She left after the first semester last year.  Jeni, however, is doing the first summer theater show.  She says she wants to move here permanently.

Hmm.  Some leave and never say goodbye, and others you can’t seem to say goodbye to.

I really miss the Internet.  The computer lab isn’t open for summer classes yet.  I miss chatting with MovieMark.

I’m going to try to return to Siler City in the middle of July to see Rebecca St. James in concert.

And then I turn 21 nearly a month later.

May 28, 1997 – Wednesday – 9:00 a.m.

Yesterday I borrowed Vince’s car while he was working at the Sugar Mountain Tennis Pro Shop; I went to feed a dog in Newland and took him for a walk.  It was a favor for Vince.  We cooked dinner for Sharon, Laura, Hannah and Bob last night.  Then us guys went to see Scream at the dollar theater; I didn’t like it.

Sharon and I had a great talk today.  We talked about love and marriage.  She is so wise.  God’s grace and forgiveness is so huge.  I still don’t understand all the mysteries of this life and I’m never going to; at least not until heaven.

But I’m sure that’s not too far away; it feels like its right over these perfect mountains.

April 30, 1997 – Wednesday – 9:00 a.m.

I did great on my Technical Writing final yesterday.  Curtis packed up and left.  I will see him in a little over a week.  It hasn’t hit me yet that he’s gone.  Jessica’s birthday is today.  She turns 19.

I took a long shower last night, listened to Jewel, and fell into a deep, Jesus-filled sleep.  I awoke at 7:00 a.m., ran to Wildcat Lake, laid on the deck, walked back through the woods to my dorm where I just got finished read 1 Corinthians 15th.

I’ve begun packing.  It is fun, yet hard.

I’ve changed since the beginning of my junior year.  I began this school year with my thoughts on Laura, then they moved to Ann-Marie to Abigail to Jessica.

Things change.  Praise God for that.

I am growing.

I wonder who I’ll be when this is all over.

April 21, 1997 – Monday – 11:50 a.m.

Bowling was fun yesterday.  I drove with Dan and Allen.  We met our Sunday School class there.  Vince and Laura were there as well.

On the way there we heard the end of a song that I heard a couple of times when I was working on my stage design model last month.  All I knew was that it was from a group called Hanson.  It’s so fun.  I went to the mall and immediately bought the single.  The song’s called MMMBop.  It’s so much fun.  Allen and Dan and I had the best time dancing to it in the car.

Last night was college night at church.  I gave the message and spoke on how God is calling us to be perfect.  Charlie said he was moved and others asked me if I was going to be a pastor when I grew up.  I simply said no, that I wanted to work in theater and film.  After the service we all came back to school and played ping pong for hours.

Life is wonderful.  Life is short.  College is about learning.  I’m learning how to be perfect, how to live, how to dance, and how to say….

Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du, yeah

April 5, 1997 – Saturday – 6:40 p.m.

It’s April 5th already.  Vince has been at the beach all week with Laura and her family.  Josh and Timothy are in Charlotte on a costuming field trip.  And I am not on duty.  It’s been a pleasant day.  My windows are wide open and the spring wind is blowing in.

Last night I hiked with Jessica and Todd for six miles to see a beautiful view of Boone.  It grew dark and cold, but Jessica and I had so much fun just talking and laughing.  She is so cool to be around.

Jeni, Tracey, Ann-Marie, and Abigail don’t talk or spend as much time with me as they used to.  I don’t know what it is.  I try to talk, I don’t believe I’ve done anything.  They just don’t respond like they used to.  It’s like there is a fog in their eyes when they are with me, like they’d rather be somewhere else.

Why do we hurt each other?  What is so hard about waltzing in the flowers?  Or even the grass?

We are the earth’s flowers, yet we choke each other at the roots.

I am a dandelion, waiting for God to blow my spirit away.

I don’t think I belong here.  It’s hard to grow in this pavement.  Loving eyes quickly turn to daggers of hatred.

People are changing.  I only long to grow in Jesus.  Am I still the same?  I think I am.

I would rather grow alone in an open field with my God, than to try to grow with others in their pavement.  But I still long for them to water my soul.  And I want to care for them as well.

When will we be free God?