Saturday morning we slept in and then decided to go exploring since we weren’t due to rendezvous with everyone else until 1:00. The groom, Joel, has just graduated from Liberty University, and we were staying very close by, so we thought we’d go check it out. We had also heard a lot about it from our host, Dave, who used to be a professor there.
If you’re not sure what money smells like, a drive around the Liberty campus should rectify that for you. We were blown away by it in so many ways. It makes our own university campus look downright cute and quaint by comparison. For example, our campus is 162 acres. Theirs is 7000 acres. We have less than 1000 students on campus. They have over 14,000. We have 4 tennis courts. They have 12 (that we counted). Some of their dorms house more than our entire on-campus student body. And we were told that they hope to have 20,000 on-campus students within the next few years. I’m pretty sure there are enough Baptists to make that happen.
We felt like country bumpkins seeing the big city for the first time! The only place we stopped and got out was at the bookstore, which is both a Barnes & Noble and a Starbucks. Wow. It was huge.
We were still kind of in shock when we drove back over to Joel’s apartment, only to find that no one else had arrived yet, so we had some time to just relax while we waited. The wedding actually took place in Harrisonburg, Virginia, so we all had to drive up there and stay in a hotel on Saturday night. It was a good two-hour drive. Anita and her daughter Jemimah came with use (Jemimah is Janet’s sister) and we all convoyed up there.
That was such a blessing, to have two more hours to visit with Anita during the drive. Then we arrived at the hotel, where more friends awaited. Don and Gwen and their two sons had driven down from New York the day before. There was also another family from Texas, the McCorkles, who like us had been involved in older son Tim’s life when he was a college student at A&M (their son Jared was Tim’s roommate).
Most everyone else was staying at the same hotel, but they were fully booked, so Joel took us to a nearby hotel and checked us in (at his expense). It was so close to the other hotel it really wasn’t much of an inconvenience at all.
There was no rehearsal, and in lieu of a rehearsal dinner we all assembled at a pizza place downtown. We four “old” couples were seated first at Joel’s insistence so we could visit with each other. I was worried that I’d be stuck eating salad yet again (I eat SO much salad!) but to my delight I saw they had gluten-free pizza and it actually tasted like pizza and had a crispy crust!
After that enjoyable outing, we all went back to the hotel and we old folks hung out in the lobby while the young men went swimming instead of the traditional bachelor party. Another couple with Zambia ties arrived and joined the fun. Anita and Gwen and I went up to Gwen’s room for a while so they could practice the song they would be singing at the reception. Once I heard it, I knew I would have to be sure and get video of it!
I had expected that we’d all be madly trying to help with the last-minute wedding preparations, but it was all handled by Natalya and Joel. We were free to just enjoy hours of fellowship with our dear friends. It was a wonderful day.