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 14, 1997 – Saturday – 1:00 a.m.

Orientation was today.  I met some soon to be new students; two beautiful tennis players from Texas named Monica and Amber.  I will drive them to the airport tomorrow.  I also met a new Performing Arts major named Sarah.

I spent some time with Kim, she’s part of the orientation committee.  We talked and laughed a lot together.  She complemented me on my hair.  And I worked with Lindy in the box office.  We have such a good time, just hours of laughter.  I later watched the NBA championship with Samarah, played with Mangus, Allison and Craig’s cat, and visited with Tracey, Jeni, and Ann-Marie.

And now I’m in my bed in the middle of the night.  I just mentioned nine different girls.  I wonder if any of them are Her?  Right now the closest thing feels to be the Durango postcard on my wall.  There’s a foot and four inches between us, but we often seem to be on the same level.  I went and took a picture of her favorite tree the other day.

I like it when I miss people.  Reminds me that they really do matter.  You can’t miss someone unless you first genuinely share your life with them.

June 11, 1997 – Wednesday – 12:15 p.m.

Life is good.  I go running every morning and I sleep in the peace of Jesus every night.  I pray and read his word every day.  I talk with friends in the afternoon at the box office and get paid for it.  I spent Sunday evening with Dawn until about 11:00 p.m.  She and Derek aren’t together anymore.  Derek wants to date other people.  I’ve seen all this happen before.

I’ve been trying to witness to Samarah, she is the RA in Canon this summer.  We went shopping the other night and had fun.  She feel so far from God at the moment.  Lindy and I have been talking about God and my faith a little.  I can’t help but talk about Jesus these days.

Rachel has been emailing me.  She wants me to go to a Chrysalis weekend in Virginia.  I’m going to try to go.  Its the first weekend in August.

Orientation is this weekend.  I’m going to help check people in and then on Saturday I’m driving two girls back to the airport.  Next week is Vacation Bible School.  I’m playing the main character of a play I wrote for the week.

The summer seems to be flying by so fast.  June is nearly half over.

Jessica still might get to be an RA.  One girl got a full scholarship and doesn’t need the job anymore.  I was so happy when I found that news out.

 

June 2, 1997 – Monday – 4:35 p.m.

A was awakened this morning by an amazing thunderstorm.  It was so loud.  Lightning was all around.

Then, I checked my mail and discovered a postcard from Jessica:

“Jacob, this is a funny story.  I went to church on Wednesday, to the Bible Missionary Church.  I didn’t know what it was, but they had a nice log cabin.  It turned out to be the Gideons, I think.  I walked in 10 minutes late with wet hair, shirt untucked, hiking boots, and all the women and girls had their hair in buns and braids, dressed really conservatively.  They were staring at me.  They were really nice though; I think I’ll go back. You never know, I may turn out to be a decent wife someday.  And I’ve been cleaning all week!

Love,

Little Jessica Homemaker.”

Her postcard was so beautiful.  Man, I miss that little girl.

June 2, 1997 – Monday – 1:25 a.m.

It’s early in the morning.  What an evening!  June 1, 1997.

After the evening service, Crystal, Clifton’s sister, invited me to go to a drive-in movie with her down the mountain near the Tennessee state line.  We saw Volcano, one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

I had never been to a drive-in before.  We laid out on sleeping bags, on our stomachs, which caused my neck to hurt really bad.  Crystal gave me a massage as the credits rolled.  Then she ran her fingers through my hair.

We went to Wal-Mart and played with toys until it closed at midnight.

I had a good time and we talked pretty deeply.  She says she is away from God.  She doesn’t even consider herself a Christian anymore.  She told me about a lot of things that happened when she went away to college in Asheville.  She said she lost her innocence.  I wonder if that means she isn’t a virgin anymore.  I didn’t condemn her.  I was just there and I listened.

We came back to my room and listened to some Rebecca St. James and Cindy Morgan.  She said she couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t give herself back to God.

I prayed with her.  And I hugged her goodbye at her car door.

Then she said, “I never should have grown up and gone off to college.”

Oh God.

Help her.

Help me.

All I know is that you love us.  There is evil in the world, but you still love everyone.  I want nothing but your love.

May 31, 1997 – Saturday – 10:45 p.m.

Tracey, Allen, and I plus a few others went out to eat last night and saw Donnie Brasco.  Good story.  Great movie.

This morning I went for a walk.  I explored the area around Elk River.  It was so beautiful and green.  I had such a good time exploring and praying.

Mrs. Kacy took Stacey and I out to eat at Stone Walls today.  It’s a really nice restaurant close to campus, but I’ve never been able to afford to eat there before.  I had trout with almonds.

This summer may be the most perfect and peaceful summer I’ve ever known.

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.