The American Chronicles: The Outing

One of the many fun things we are able to do with our Airstream travel van is take friends on outings. We have shared the van on trips to wineries, restaurants, parks and picnics. Sure, we could all meet at these venues by driving separate cars, but it’s more fun if we go together, or as they would say in “Christianese,” have fellowship. Sometimes, though, one could write a sitcom about what happens during these little excursions. This is the story of just one—just one—such outing with our very close friends from our church—Kim, Chuck, Cindy, Christine, Ed, Tony, my wife Chris and me. There were so many “moments” I’m sure that not all will be recorded in this missive, but you will get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, I wanted to get everybody together alongside the van to capture the moment before we embarked on our great adventure to Harvest Gap, a family-oriented restaurant and brewery in historic Hillsboro, Va. I had told everyone inside that when we went out to the van, I wanted to take the picture. Getting everybody lined up for the picture, however, took a while. We were all gathered together when Chuck had to move his SUV. Then we started forming up and Tony had to get his walker. Kim was talking to Cindy and didn’t know that we were going to take a picture. I reminded her that I had announced it inside. She said she didn’t hear it because she must have been talking. We were almost lined up again and Ed had to go to the bathroom. Now we were lined up. No, Chris had to get our dog Charlie. Finally, picture taken.

It doesn’t help when the average age of the group is 69 ranging from 59 to 84. Half of us can’t remember what we were about to do and the other half doesn’t remember what we did when we did it. We all have our little idiosyncrasies. Chuck, who had a stroke a few years ago, is very inquisitive. Whenever we are driving, he is usually riding shotgun and has these outbursts, “Look at that!!!!” or “What’s that!!!???” They are said in such exclamatory terms that I think someone is slamming on their brakes in front of me or something disastrous is happening. When I call him out on it, he says, “I had a stroke you know.” Then Kim is in the back with the ladies and asking if the air conditioning can be turned up because she is hot. She “glistens” a lot.

Finally, arrived. Then getting everybody out safely. It was like one of those Senior Center field trips. Once inside, we got settled right in front of the band. Then everyone was getting up and down and trying to hear one another about what they wanted to eat and drink. It was our own little beehive of activity. Now Christine was tired as she had worked all day so she wanted coffee, and her dutiful husband Ed went and found her some. Christine, on a half of cup of coffee, started singing and performing along with the band. Tony was making jokes, but even though he was sitting next to me, I couldn’t hear him. Cindy was sharing her food and trying to carry on meaningful conversation. After a while, it was time to go. We all loaded up again and drove off.

On the way home, there was a beeping noise in the van. Ed went into his “flight engineer” mode and was looking all over the van for the source of the noise, which we couldn’t really figure out. Turns out, it was telling me that a bird had made a nest in the air filter chamber—but that’s another story. Fortunately, we got home safe and sound. It was one of those evenings with friends. Kind of recalling Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes 3:13, “that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.” These folks truly are a gift of God as are the times we have together. We all have a laugh about it, and sometimes we can even remember what was so funny. Happy Trails!

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Bill Wilson

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