June 28 through July 6, 2011

June 28 through July 6, 2011. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, our son Raymond worked during the day with his Coast Guard unit at Camp Lejeune; he arrived back at his rental home each afternoon. In the interim of his absence, Bonnie, Rebecca and I explored the strand of sand between the condos on the other side of the road and the Atlantic Ocean. Behind Raymond’s home away from home is the Intracoastal Waterway. We gathered shells and shark teeth on that beach (and on the Camp Lejeune beach as well). Since there was little public access to the beach on this part of the island and the homes were populated chiefly with families, there were few people on the shoreline, and nearly everyone was dressed in shorts and T-shirts – a far cry from the density of people and skimpy attire characteristic of spring break type destinations. The water lapping the shore and caressing our feet, the sound of the sea and salty breeze were pleasant and mitigated the searing sun. With such natural scenery, Bonnie and I walked miles for hours on the eastern edge of North Topsail Beach, NC. My sinuses must agree with the seaside climate as I could breathe without the assistance of my prescription. Raymond and the other three of us occasioned some meals out, enjoying seafood, pizza and burgers; one day, Raymond grilled burgers, hot dogs and corn on the cob – in the spirit of family, good food and holidays. We watched the simultaneous firework displays of several landside communities July 3 and 4, and we watched them all from the second story perch of Raymond’s home.

Raymond became our scout and tour guide as we traveled to the North Carolina Aquarium and near to that an earthen fort dating back to the Civil War. We saw more crawling-along traffic than we ever hope to see again, but that was forgotten especially in view of the gators, snakes, other reptiles, sharks and fish we observed at the aquarium. We all enjoyed ourselves.

There seems to come a time in life when children begin acting more like the parents and the parents begin to assume the psychological posture of the children. I think I had one of those moments (or more) during the week. Once when I suggested (and I suggested more than once during the week) that we stop and get some ice cream, Raymond essentially rebuked me for proposing we eat ice cream before supper; it sounded like a parent correcting the child – and I was the child! Raymond, though, did introduce us to a very nice and tasty little ice cream cone shop – and I saw that we availed ourselves of its wares on two occasions.

As earlier in the year, Bonnie and I plus Rebecca this time assembled with Laura and Thaddeus Ferguson on Wednesday evening and on the Lord’s Day in the hall rented from the women’s club in Hampstead, NC. This couple has been trying for three years to establish the church in the community in which they live, and they continue to face disappointment for the lack of lasting success in such. Thaddeus graciously permitted me to speak three times on Sunday. Laura and Thaddeus opened their home to us as they do to any Christians in the area each Friday evening for refreshments and fellowship. Tuesday, Rebecca’s birthday (July 5), was a travel day, as was the following day, too. I made sure that brother and sister Ferguson received some biblical books and pamphlets for their personal enrichment and encouragement.

We faced some inclement weather coming and going. The day we arrived at Raymond’s, we had to pass through a violent storm with severe winds, torrential rain and widespread cloud to ground lightning. Both times we have visited Raymond, there have been forest fires in the area. Wednesday on the way to Bible class, a bad thunderstorm forced the soot from the forest fire downward, gummed up our car windows and destroyed by windshield wipers; at other times, even without rain the smoke was so dense and heavy and low to the ground that breathing was impaired even inside the house.

Bonnie and I travel a lot of places stateside and abroad, and we enjoy the travel and the brief occasions along the way to stop and smell the flowers. Yet, we do not often take days off or go on a genuine vacation. This delightful visit with our son and providing Rebecca an opportunity to see her brother was more of a vacation for Bonnie and me than to which we are accustomed, and though I do not often do well without directing my attention to work and activity, Bonnie and I both enjoyed the temporary slower pace and relaxation afforded us that week.

We were not, however, completely forgetful of tasks awaiting our attention. We worked on The Voice of Truth International and Gospel Gazette Online, besides working some on our lessons for our upcoming mission trip to Guyana, South America. Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and preaching for the Hampstead Church of Christ.

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