I made a quick trip to my hometown of Columbia, TN over the first weekend of Spring Break, leaving on Thursday the 8th and returning Monday the 12th. Columbia is located about 40 miles south of Nashville and it is nestled into a beautiful spot in the rolling hills of middle Tennessee. I’m a 1975 graduate of Columbia Central High School, graduating at the ripe old age of 17. I didn’t get my driver’s license until about half-way through my junior year which made for some awkward dating situations, i.e., “wanna go out Saturday night? My parents and I will pick you up at 7.”
Columbia’s claim to fame is that it is the “mule capital of the world” but don’t let that nomenclature fool you because, as far as mule capitals go, Columbia has a lot going for it. I still love going back there. I have a ton of fond memories and some of the finest people I’ve ever known across the globe call Columbia home. Plus it really is a beautiful place – even on Mule Day (www.muleday.org).
What did I do over my weekend visit? I spent quite a bit of time with my Mom who is almost 90 and in a nursing home – it’s a good one with really good care. Mom has a great spirit, is happy, still likes to joke around, and plays a mean game of Bingo. She even won the “cover-all game” last Saturday! My sister Carolyn lives nearby and is an amazing and irreplaceable source of supportive help to my Mom.
Sadly, I have another sister who is not doing well physically but I got to visit with her as well. My sister Gail, who is 14 years ahead of me, suffers from the early onset of dementia and it is a very aggressive form of Alzheimer’s. Her husband and children have been fantastic to her and she is now in a full-time care unit – but her husband is there every day. In her prime, Gail could dominate a conversation and it would be full of robust information, but now she struggles to complete a simple sentence. But she knew me and she understood my words. Gail was a force over the years and showed a ton of care – and now, thankfully, she is receiving in return the compassion and care she so abundantly demonstrated. I’m glad that her best days are yet to come.
On Saturday morning, I had breakfast with one of my hometown buds – Bobby Bishop. Bobby and I go way, way, way, way back and he is one of the funniest, most genuine people you will ever meet. The way I see it, if you were to look up “the guy who really will give you the shirt off his back” you would find Bobby Bishop’s picture. He’s an absolutely great guy, a ton of fun and his default setting is “go.”
On Sunday morning, instead of going to my home church in Columbia, I drove about an hour south to the small town of Waynesboro, TN where my nephew Gregg preaches. The drive was terrific. Gregg has a full-time job but serves this church in a part-time way. He is a very talented player and he and his wife Amy have three vibrant little girls. So glad I had a chance to visit them.