I have to say this year has had life altering changes.  First I sacrificed the opportunity to retire this year because of things I heard God say to Libby and me when leaving River Of Life one Sunday morning in June.  The effects of what WE heard brought about two things.  I had to bow to judgments in my divorce decree to do what was necessary to bring about the fulfillment of the latter, that being once the former was completed Libby and I were able to get married.

Getting married was something that we both wanted and it was a joyous occasion and it grew beyond our expectations with many people in attendance.  I appreciate those who saw fit to come celebrate our wedding.

All that lead up to that day was positive and it was a God inspired happening.

Another happening was I received my Medicare Card.  Awe, you say what of it.  I say it’s not the card so much as it is the milestone it represents.  Being sixty-five years old is unheard of for the men of my family tree.  I suppose I took after my mom’s side of the family on this note.

A full week of vacation away from home with my bride in October was stupendous.  We traveled to Tennessee and spent a week in a somewhat run down resort, but it proved to be a wonderful home base to travel out from.  Libby got to visit the Bush Bean Museum and Cafe where we ate some Pinto bean Pecan Pie.  As you begin to make a face at that, let me tell you this is some really good pie.  You need to try it.

The Jack Daniel’s Distillery and the small town around the corner were most interesting.  I’ve seen small stills before, but never one that was 45 ft high.  Of course we bought a couple of bottles of that alcoholic elixir.  We’re not big time imbibers of alcohol, but they did say one of the bottles we bought was full of liquor that was good for cooking with since it is infused with honey, pecans and pralines.  The other is simply a good sippin’ whiskey.  Gentleman Jack still sits most nearly full even three months after purchase.  I’m not a big sipper.  By the way, the county Jack Daniels distills in is a dry county, so they can’t sell liquor on site.  But they can sell bottles, which they do.  They just consequently contain liquor.

We also tried Tennessee’s versions of BBQ in Knoxville and other areas, but primarily we visited Sweet P’s in Knoxville.  Along with that BBQ we added “Greens n things”.  It consisted of collards, black-eyed peas, pintos, carrots and celery.  Pretty good stuff.  We also made a trip to an art museum and the old 1982 World’s Fair site and went to the observation deck in the big gold ball that overlooks the city.

We spent some time in Nashville in the heart of Germantown the first day we were in Tennessee, but it was a little disappointing. Turns out it was more of a craft show with a little German flavor thrown in.  But still we were there.

Our Monday was spent driving to Bowling Green, KY to walk through the assembly plant for GM’s best.  Corvettes all along the line made for fascinating viewing to see how they are put together and tested after assembly.  We also ventured over to the National Corvette Museum and looked at the history of the Corvette and mourned over the loss of the ones of greatest value that fell into the sink hole.

With time left that day we drove down the road a bit and visited Hidden Cavern.  We took a tour inside, which would not have been a place for those who are claustrophobic.  In order to get inside you had to ride in a boat while bent over completely to keep from hitting your head on the ceiling until you were completely inside the massive room inside.  The entire floor of the cavern is waist deep in water.  In a made-up story by the owner of a former nightclub in the entrance of the cavern it was supposed to be the hide-out of Jessie James and his gang after a bank hold up in a nearby town.  It was all a fabrication to draw crowds to a failing night-club once A/C had been invented or something like that.  You see, the reason the nightclub was so fabulous was because around 1900-1915 A/C had not been invented and the cave presented a constant temperature of somewhere in the low 60’s year round.

Most of all Libby and I got to meet with Jonathan Edward Baker, a relative of mine who pastors a church only thirty minutes away from our home base.  We went to church there that Sunday, the day after we arrived in Tennessee.  We spent Sunday afternoon with him and his wife talking about old times with family.  They are a very nice couple and hope them the best in their ministerial endeavors.

So far as the vacation goes I’ll close with this short but very meaningful event.  I also have family living in Clyde NC and also a minister of the Baptist faith.  Bruce Cayton was nearing the end of his life, but still very much active at the time, so we asked to stop and visit for a spell and I’m so very glad we did.  Bruce was a very charismatic man.  Libby took to him instantly.  I so enjoyed the moment we spent with him and Patsy as well as his sister Delores and her husband who were visiting as well.  He passed away this past Sunday.  What heaven gained was the loss among a dwindling crowd of men and women whose words do not fall to the ground.

I can’t say the year was mundane in the least.  We have spent our first entire year in our new home.  Just that.  OUR home.  Libby and I have no intrusions of our pasts in this home.  We create our own memories here not tethered to previous life experiences.  It was a joy to go out this past spring to see what might pop up around the yard.  Gardenia blooms, Azalea bushes in bloom.  Tons of Elephant ears along the ditch banks.  That among other delights of spring made for a wonderful summer here.  We started our first garden together and the end of season left us knowing what the ground in our new garden loves to grow best.  Hopefully the coming spring will honor us with a more bountiful crop next year.  We have plenty of birds and squirrels to sit and watch from our front porch in the bird feeders and bath.  All this while the American flag flies proudly from our porch.  I’m very proud of our country, or what it used to be and hopefully will get back to.

Someone also mentioned I should say that I got back a replacement from my youth.  I bought a 1955 Chevy.  What a car.  All the hot rod street car one could want.  It has a 350 small block .40 over, TH350 trans with Ford 9″ rear end.  All wheel disc brakes with 18″ wheels front and 20″ wheels out back.  Love this car second to the Corvette of course.

I sit here on the porch presently as it rains knowing God has all things in hand no matter what men might try to alter.  I also thank God for our neighbors.  They are good people.  God-fearing people who are as I when we think of this country and our faith.  May God bless them richly in the coming year as well as you who reads this.

2016?  Who knows what it will bring.  I just know I want to see it through with the joy God has given us in my heart and a beautiful woman at my side I can call my wife.  Hope your year will be prosperous as well.







About Jim

I'm a 72 yr old guy, who had worked in Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune for 28 yrs and now retired as of 31 Dec 16. I've worked in medical records, Health Benefits Department, Billing, the IT department and retired as the Personnel Security Manager for the hospital. I'm a musician and Corvette enthusiast. Yes, I have had two. I traded my second Corvette for a Harley Davidson Fat Boy mid-summer 2019. I've already ridden about seven thousand miles. I'm also searching for a fresh new outlook on life with new spiritual insight among other things. I was ordained a minister on 20190202. I've become certified with the American Chaplaincy Association through Aidan University in June '21. I've found that with the unconditional love of my companion, Libby Rowe life is complete through God. She's a beautiful, vibrant, giving woman who gives her all in everything she puts her mind to do. She and I married on 24 July 2015. She was ordained in February 2022. She has a blog too called Under a Carolina Moon. Give it a visit.
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