August 30th, 2018 browsing by day



Thursday, August 30th, 2018

As I write this I am anticipating spending time with an old friend today. When I say “old” I mean it in various ways. Doug is about 6 months older than I am so that means he is 66.  He’s old; I’m not. 🙂  But even more than that: we have been friends since we met in college. I was a second semester freshman at my college when this hippy-looking dude came onto campus driving an AMC Javelin. Long hair. Big mustache. Yeah…neither were allowed at the school. He had attended Milligan College in TN for the first semester but transferred because many of his friends attended where I did (although I did not really know them except by name). I said, “Hi” and we chatted for a few minutes. We went our separate ways as he did the “check in as a new student” thing and I had other things to do. Doug joined the basketball team and integrated himself into my world. Our friendship could really be called an acquaintance at that point since we ran in different circles. He ran with a group who called themselves “H Bomb,” named after the dorm complex they lived in. I ran with Jo and a few others.

It was during our senior year in third year Greek (we both questioned our sanity) that we really got to know each other. His future wife was also in Miss Morgan’s Biology class (we sat next to each other). Graduation time was approaching and Doug asked me if I would be interested in a youth ministry. It was then he told me his dad’s church in Akron, OH was looking for an Associate/Youth Pastor. I attended a weekend youth retreat, interviewed, preached and was hired. Doug became the Youth Pastor at a church in the northern part of Akron and it was then we developed our friendship. We met each day to play one-on-one basketball (1/2 way for both of us), planned youth retreats and outings together, and attended multiple youth conferences together. We had an affinity for laughing and joking and eating pizza. Over time our ministries have taken us hours apart but we somehow made a way to get together. Whether it was to stay for a day or two or just meet for lunch (always pizza), we made a way.

That’s what friendships do. They make a way. He has retired now from being a full-time pastor. He sits around and watches Kentucky anything and eating bonbons.  Kidding.  He is retired now from full-time ministry (pastor) but still preaches at a little country church on weekends. But his greatest love, besides Vicki, is he is a full-time grandfather. Gotta envy that sometimes. 🙂

Anyway, today we meet for lunch. You guessed it: pizza. Topp’t in New Albany, IN. A very small homegrown chain his son manages. As MWS sang, “Friends are friends forever if the Lord is the lord of them.”