When I first started thinking about the sabbatical experience, I really hadn’t given a lot of thought about heading to Ohio to ‘rest.’  As most of us will admit, hanging out with our families can lack for rest at times.  I know this for a sure, as it’s always true my siblings and nephews look forward to my ‘going home,’ but after awhile I know I can be tiring and despite their requests I can tell more stories about Texas than they want to hear.  “Yeah, Uncle Brian, we heard the one about the 20 foot rattlesnake  your roped and rode into town…” and the one about how the Houston Rockets wanted you to play for them when T-Mc got hurt and they needed a good shooter…”  Well. You know how that goes…

 But, after I found out that Katy’s fiancé’ Ben was hired to teach at Kenyon College in Gambier Central Ohio just 2 hours from where I grew up) and a move from the city to the country was imminent, it didn’t take a lot of adjustment to put a trip to Ohio on the trip-tick…and now that I’m on the plane pecking away at another blog entry…I’m sure glad that I was able to do this…as the past 7 days have been left a very peaceful feeling in my heart and mind…here’s why…

 When I was a seminary student, at my first year evaluation one of my classmates made the comment to the question…”when someone mentions Brian’s name, what does that bring to mind?”  Jim’s answer was one that has stuck with me… “Brian?  That’s easy.   Works hard.  Plays hard.”  Everyone smiled and now I’ve remembered… and this past week…I have played hard.  Playing with family and friends this week has been an absolute joy…and without trying to bore you like a day of twitter that send your mind into oblivion…here’s what my calendar has looked like since O dark 30 on Thursday, August 12…

 THRS 8/12 6:40 AM-  Kissed my wife good-bye (twice) + will see her that night at the Columbus, OH airport.  One hop, two skips, one jump and a plane change and I was in Columbus at 12:30 PM to be met by my seminary classmate Jeff Wick, now Asst’ to the Bishop in the Southern Ohio Synod.

 8/12 12:40 PM – Found Jeff quickly and although we have not seen each other in over a decade we have kept in touch over the years, by phone and e-mail and most recently as Jeff had planned to bring some people to TX from the congregation he was serving then in West Virginia after Hurricane Ike to assist with recovery via LDR, but the funding was non-existent and his team was told to ‘stay put.”   Amazing how hindsight provides some clarity in life, eh?  After a short walk to the parking garage and the beginning of a stroll down memory lane we meandered our way through Bexley finding out that all 3 of our old eateries were now closed or worse yet…Willard’s was torn down… then we settled on BW 3’s and had a good chat over cheeseburgers chased down with some coffee and we split a very big and tasty piece of Key Lime pie…what a lunch….the staff there was great and put the emphasis on REST in rest-aurant and before we knew it, it was 3:30 PM and Jeff needed to drop me off at Trinity Seminary on his way to a late afternoon appointment at the his synod office.  Parting by means of a dual ‘bear hug’ we look forward to a 2011 reunion back in Columbus for our 30th anniversary of graduation…

 8/12 3:45 PM – dragged my bags up the seminary ramp,,, whose facilities are now twice as large as when I attended there 1977-81.  Found Academic Dean Dr/ Jin Childs in his office and had a good chat with him while waiting for Keith and Kara to pick me up for dinner.  I then took part in a self-guided tour of the new Trinity Chapel and read some email in the Wi-Fi friendly sem library.

 8/12 5:00 PM.  Got kicked out of the library (now there’s a first!) at five and waited in the hallway for my ride to dinner.  Keith and Kara were students at Capital University (directly across the street from the seminary and founded in 1850) my second year when I worked and lived on the CAP campus as the Hall Director for Lehman Hall, once the Old Main and only building on campus.  Keith was one of my RA’s… a senior and a basketball player on the school’s varsity.  As the new guy on the hall that year, I went to him often to get perspectives on how dorm life went and by the end of the year, he and I and the other RA’s formed a lasting friendship.  So, what a joy it was to go to dinner with him and Kara, and their children.  We went to an old house in Grove City, now converted into a pizza parlor and ate on the porch in the cool of the mid-Ohio evening…we talked of old times, what they are doing now and I listened to their children’s stories of life in college and the music biz as their son plays bass in a band…After dinner we went into old Grove City (kind of like FM 518 in old League City) to Graeter’s Ice Cream parlor… a new rival for BlueBell ( their daughter had even  heard about Blue Bell from her Austin-raised roommate at Duke!)…what a day the Mendenhalls dropped me off at the airport where Margo’s plane was only 10 minutes late and Katy and Ben were there to pick us up.  40 minutes later we were in Gambier.

 FRI 8/13     1:05 PM EST.  I woke up to hear the words from the other room… “There’s stirring in the guest room.”  Wow, I missed the morning and the unpacking of boxes as the other 3 got a bit of a head start; but by the end of the day the kitchen was beginning to take shape and Katy gave us a tour of their 10 acres, the open door born, the hill with the corn, deer and wild turkeys and the place where I now know where the horse shoe pits will go.  The house is a 1900 Sears and Roebuck catalog house with some add ons…a great place for a college professor and his family to live.  A quick trip into town also helped us secure some grilled chicken and the trimmings from the Kiwanis Club for $9 a box… a good day’s work (well, a half day for me!) we all slept well knowing that there was more to do in the morning and we helped the local children via the chickens we bought…God IS good…

 SAT 8/14 – I am up first today and found the coffee and filters and made a pot and turned on the tea kettle to heat the water for the other tea drinkers aboard… more boxes and then into town for the “Farmer’s Market” and buy some fresh corn, peppers and even some applesauce bread from an Amish boy and his sister.  They didn’t speak to us (“The English” we are called!) only to say the amount due.  But their smiles were a sincere form of ‘thank you” blending into the live blue grass music playing on the stage at the local weekend festival.  We hung around there, went back to the house, polished off the kitchen boxes and then Ben gave us a tour of Kenyon College (touted by some as the ‘most beautiful college campus in the world—and they may be right!) and then back to the festival for dinner and a rest and then ended up dodging raindrops running to the car as a front blew in quickly dropping the temp about 20 degrees over a 45 minute period… sending us back home for the night…and then there was Sunday… which I will share in my “Why I Worship (Part 3)…



About briangigee

Loves life; lives love! Bud and Doris' eldest son. Descendant of 'refiners' and 'reformers.' Husband to Margo. Father of 5. Grandfather to 4. Brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Working parish pastor. Became a naturalized Texan in February 2013.
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