I’m in Metuchen, New Jersey again. And my recent days have been a learning experience. On the 15th Marie and I drove to Banner Elk. We visited Tracey’s and Lindy’s first. Everyone heard we were there and then almost suddenly their living room was full of nearly 20 dear friends wanting to see me. That was a bit overwhelming for Marie since most of them were girls. Sarah even showed up and hugged me tightly.
Saturday night we saw Hamlet on campus. What a wonderful production! It had one of the most ambitious sets I’ve ever seen on that stage. On Sunday morning we went to Banner Elk Christian Fellowship, then to hike on Grandfather Mountain, then to visit Leslie and her family, and then to visit Heaton, then to visit Sharon and her girls, and it was just a huge day. And when I say “we,” I don’t mean Marie and I, I mean everyone, all my dear friends. Needless to say, Marie got placed aside a bit. I tried to get her to join in on the fun, but she didn’t.
We talked that evening, and she cried. She cried because she felt so lonely. She felt there was this huge world that she had to compete with. And the next three days passed in that same fashion. One of those days we drove with Sharon down to Asheville, and we realized that this world of Lees-McRae had already been defined for me. I knew this place without Marie. It felt natural for me to cling to them while in this land, for I had no memory of ever clinging to Marie in these mountains.
Marie’s world is three family-members.
Mine is 25 friends.
I never realized how unique my college experience was until I saw it overwhelm another soul.
I still got to see everyone and get caught up. Curtis and Megan came down. It was so weird to see them married. Dan was there for two days, then he left to go snorkeling in the Florida Keys. Vince is leaving on the 8th of May for Bolivia. Allen is marrying Jessica in June. Abigail and Tracey’s band is doing wonderful in the area. Ann-Marie is moving down to Florida after graduation to work in a repertory theater. Charlie and Kate are getting married on June 24th.
It was the last time Dan, Allen, Vince, Curtis, and myself would be together for at least the next two years. And who knows… maybe forever.
Marie and I learned much about ourselves during our five days in Banner Elk. We left on Thursday to drive up here to New Jersey. We took the Blue Ridge Parkway until Roanoke and looked at that city a bit. Then we took the Skyline Drive to Front Royal.
The drive through Shenandoah was beautiful and misty. Then we drove through parts of Pennsylvania that I’ve never seen before. I came down with a horrible head cold during the drive, and so here I am super sick in New Jersey. I think they want to take me to their family doctor.