Moving To Texas

by John C. Westervelt

The tops of the roses in the garden beside the patio presented a smorgasbord of red, pink, cream, and orange. The morning sun was still hiding behind the neighborsí trees. Just as I finished my bacon and eggs, a car arrived. Paul, Sandy, Brett, and Amy got out. Katy, the friendly, family dog, stayed on the sheets in the back seat. My son and his family had left their van filled with precious belongings in my garage overnight. These two vehicles would soon be joined by another driven by Sandyís parents, Chris and Nancy. The three carloads would then caravan to my sonís familyís new home in Katy, west of Houston.

After crowding more luggage into the van, Paul and Brett, in a matter-of-fact way, shook my hand. I sensed that for Sandy and Amy it wasnít so matter-of-fact. They shared a warm hug, and then were on their way.

I stayed at the patio table awhile. The many colors of the roses blended into one, as I let my eyes and mind fall limply into memories. Amy is now twelve, and for several years has preferred overnight stays with church, school, and soccer friends.

It hasnít always been so. Drifting backward in my thoughts to nine years ago, when Amy was three, I was her choice for overnight stays. On an October Saturday in 1988, Paul, Sandy, and Brett went with their good friends, the Schroeders, to Stillwater for the day and for a 6:30 football game between OSU and TU. When they dropped off Amy, she said, "When I get big, I can go to Stillwater, too." Amy and I were to play for a day and then meet her family at church on Sunday morning.

After lunch and a nap, Amy and I headed north on Sheridan toward the zoo. The three-year-oldís conversation was continuous and contagious. Since Amyís legs were short, we rode the train to the south end and walked back as we visited with the animals. Just beyond the train stop, we found the seals. It was an instant friendship between Amy and the daddy, mommy, and two baby seals. The daddy seal was on the top platform, which seemed to be his territory. The babies chased each other. It was as if all four seals could hear Amy's continual chatter as they performed to her requests. The daddy seal dove into the water. Both Amy and I were surprised at how fast the seals could glide about the pool, barely missing the sides.

In my mind, we should have kept the tour moving, so we could say we had seen all of the animals at the zoo. After seeing the lions and giraffes and zebras, Amy said, "Letís go back to see the seals." The two babies were now on the high platform taking their nap. In their sleep they kept twitching, trying to snuggle closer together. It may be that God designed them this way to share body warmth. After more talking to the four seals, we looked at fish in the building close by.

As we came out, Amy said, "Iím hungry," but she had to see to her seal friends first. After reading the choices at the snack stand of hot dogs, popcorn and others, I asked Amy, "What would you like?"

"What do you like best, Grandpa John?"

"Popcorn."

"I want popcorn and a pop."

We took our snacks with us to watch the elephants. Amy showed me that you can sit and talk to the elephants and to each other. I may have been wrong, thinking we had to see all of the animals.

There were 45,000 at Lewis stadium that evening. If you could find the one player or fan that truly had the best time, it is evident to me his joy was not as great as mine on that October day.

Memories are for moments. Living is for the hours and the days. The roses came back into crisp focus as I returned to the present and decided to get ready to go by Janís office to leave a disk, before going to Amoco for a few hours work. Iíll stay busy. Iíll pretend to be brave, even when I feel alone. Jesus must know how I feel because He reminds me, "And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20.

So, His words tell me that Iím never alone. For this, I am grateful.

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