A Trip to the Far East – The Winter of 1990 – 1991 Part II

Thursday, Dec. 14th:

I’m at Paisley Hall on the campus of the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond VA. Just had a grand tour of Mom’s beloved campus where she matriculated some 55 years ago. Even saw her old dorm room #216. You talk about going back in time, wow! I love this. Another spin-off from her B’Day Bash a year ago. This makes three – Austin Seminary, Schreiner College, and now Richmond. Oh, what a neat trip this has been, so far.

What gets me is the transition from the slow southern drawl to the crisp eastern accent that you hear as I cross VA. I just remembered that lady at the Holiday Inn – she grew up in West VA, has kids in Houston, but has never been out of the Appalachians. She had the mentality of a gradeschooler. People here are stuck here. Incredible!

Saturday, Dec. 15th:

Well, I must have lost a day somewhere back in Tennessee. We’re sitting around the Heath Rada’s stretch dining room table, having cheese grits, ham, and biscuits. Glen Bannerman and his family are with us. All told there are eleven seated. An arrangement of poinsettias adorns the table’s center, so much so, that Peggy Rada cannot see her husband at the opposite end. It’s a moveable feast.

It’s a cloudy, cold, and rainy morning outside, but inside is full of warmth and friendship. I felt so thankful to be a part of all this. And to top it all off, there was Annie, a beautiful 3-year old retriever. Anyhow, I’m thinking it’s Friday. It doesn’t upset me. I have more than enough time, I think. I’m two-thirds of the way to Vienna, Maine, having taken only half of my allotted time to get here. And that’s averaging 136 miles a day: So I cruise the Richmond city center, and visit Thomas Jefferson’s unique Virginia State Capitol, the original portion being a replica of Classical Roman Maison Carre in Nimes, France.

It actually has an interior dome in the center. I was impressed by the manner in which the supplementary government buildings were arranged around the capitol, all tied together by landscaping and walkways. I feel bogged down with all this travelogue. It ain’t my style. Like I said before, I’ve got visitation rights. What continues to amaze me is the diversity of friends that I have, especially when re-acquainting myself with them. Nick Nichols, the book-worm/opera-lover (almost 4,000 classical albums!). And gay at that. Jim

Grinstead, unworldly country boy architect. “Boo” Farrier, an ordained minister. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all backgrounds. But I find something in common with all of them. No, I’m not like that little reptile (phonetically ka-mee-lee-an), that changes colors to suit his environment. I suppose it’s my curiosity about people, you know, “Are you happy with what you’re doing? Are you happy where you’re living? Where else would you like to live? What keeps you here?” And so on. I try to avoid, “What do think of the Middle East Crisis?” Nothing philosophical. That’s a waste of time. Also, I just accept people for what they are. Sounds trite, but true. Enough philosophy. I love ’em all.