After so little sleep the day before I didn’t expect that I would be up for doing anything on Friday. Surprisingly I had a little energy left after working all night. We weren’t sure what we would try to accomplish. Our list of things we would like to see doesn’t seem to have shrunken down any with the things that have already been crossed off the list. As we are getting closer to being done here we are reprioritizing and Gettysburg and visiting friends and aquantences within driving distance are at the top of the list. Gettysburg was close enough to be a day trip drive and a childhood friend of mine named Ann-Marie lived within an hour of there. We had talked about getting together some time earlier and she had said that since Lancaster county and Gettysburg are close to her house we could meet up at one of those places. I messaged her to make sure they were available and we made plans to meet up after noon in Gettysburg. We packed the kids and headed that way, arriving just a few minutes before our friends. We needed a bathroom break and time to stamp our passport book. Caleb smooshed a penny, Eve flirted with the older gentleman at the counter who gave each of the kids Gettysburg trading cards and Chad picked out patches.
I have to be honest, I found myself slightly nervous about this reunion. I had worked all night and slept only a few hours in the car. I felt like I looked like crap. Ann-Marie and I have been friends for a long time but we haven’t been that close of friends and we hadn’t seen each other since 2001 or 2002. In which time a lot has changed for both of us. We met at age five in the short time we attended the Bible church in Cambridge, but there are years of Vacation Bible Schools, Good News club, and Singspirations. The year (or partial year as it may have been) that we rode in the back of a car together going to a private school in Council when she taught me how to crochet (and maybe there was some knitting too) was when we were close friends. She asked me to call her Annie like her mom always did. She loved the way her mother said it and planned to change her name just as soon as she was old enough. To this day I catch myself calling her that although she goes by her given name Ann-Marie now. I wonder if it bugs her that I still call her that. I remember birthday parties, harvest parties, and playing basketball In highschool guarding one another. After that second or third grade year we spent commuting to school together we grew apart. I didn’t feel like I could be good enough for her. It was nothing she ever said, but maybe something I put on myself. She was beautiful, smart and athletic. I mostly just watched from a distance. We ended up going to the same smaller christan college in Nampa, Northwest Nazarene University (NNU). I had started the year before so I don’t think we had any classes together and I had my own friends. We ran into each other in the cafeteria, chapel, and just crossing campus, exchanging smiles and hellos. That stopped abruptly when she transferred to another school. At that point her younger sister attended NNU. I had inquired of her once on Ann-Marie’s where abouts. It was years before we found each other on FaceBook. We had spoken and commented on each others posts, but now we were going to meet again in person with me looking like I’ve been hit with a truck. The butterflies were short lived, our kids are all about the same age and played so well together it really was so fun.
We introduced the kids to each other and they all, except Eve, pretended to be shy for about two minutes. We decided on a plan to do the driving tour through the historic battlefield. Ann-Marie led the way for the first 4 stops then we switched places as they had been to Gettysburg before and didn’t know what we were most interested in seeing. That way we could slow down when we wanted to and we still would all stay together. There were so many monuments and cannons. The kids were adorable and with each stop they warmed up to each other more and more.
4,000 soldiers died in this field alone…it isn’t even that big. I can’t imagine…
The moisture in the air gave it a serreal look and feeling. It is hard to imagine the sheer number of dead laying out in the fields.
Ann-Marie and Josh had extended an invitation to stay the night with them and we gladly excepted. It was all back roads to their house and Josh was home from work when we got there. It was fun to see first hand all the projects they have completed and are still working on in their new home. The kids played until so late then watched the Lego movie. They were all so cute and so tired by the time we got them in bed. We stayed up and tried out a local brand of ice cream called friendly’s and had tea talking and catching up. We could have talked for hours more but I was dragging And knew the kids would get up early. I was up at 5:00am to use the restroom and heard the boys talking. I’m not sure the kids got any sleep at all, but I’m sure they had fun. There was no lull in the playing and everyone got along beautifully. When it was time to head towards home around noon Eve tried demanding that she would not leave. Of course that didn’t work but it was definite proof that we all had a blast. We took this picture together before we left.
I’m so glad that our travels brought us to Pensylvania and close to friends. Ann-Marie I have loved being witness to the Wife, Mother, women of God that you have become. Thank you for your time and friendship.