I went to Norfolk Virginia, my home town from the time I was five to the age of ten, this past weekend for Rutledge Hammes' wedding and it was a blast. It was great to see Ruth-Anne and her family, including her two sisters, Lydia and Lynda, Burke, the whole Hammes "Herd", and Mrs. Glover, her mom. On Friday night, I arrived in Norfolk and went directly to the Chinese restaurant, The Forbidden City, where the rehearsal dinner was going to take place and helped Pam Andrews, Ruth-Anne's best friend make flower arrangements. That was fun and of course exciting. Just driving to the restaurant was a roller coaster adventure with Pam as she is quite the driver. No dull moments with her definitely. So naturally I laughed a lot that weekend. Dinner was six courses of Chinese delicacies and was of course delicious. The next day was spent at a Mall which looked more like a Colonial Building made of red brick, called MacArthurs, just a couple of blocks away from the hotel.
After shopping at the mall Pam and I ate what had to be the best Irish Pub in town, just across the street from The Tazewell Hotel. The only negative thing about the downtown location was the amount of homeless people I saw there. Later when I went to replenish the parking meter down the street, I noticed a man coming out from a dark entry way and quickly crossed the street as I dropped coins in the meter. He began following me stepping up the pace just as I did. I tucked my purse under my arm and stepped on it. Well as fast as I could. I was sure I could make it to the diner where the Glovers were at, so I walked as fast as I could and I passed the first restaurant, the second, and entered the diner with the man closely behind and in fact he followed me into the restaurant. I quickly went over to the Glovers and he went down one aisle to an empty aisle, looked around and left the restaurant when he saw I wasn't leaving and had friends there. He didn't even make an attempt to order. Later I left the eatery with them and as you can see I am safe at home now... Unfortunately that wasn't the only incident of people following us. We actually had two more incidents and again we are happy to say we slipped away from these people each time. I have nothing against the homeless, but it turns out there is a homeless mission next to the hotel and naturally it attracts a lot of desperate people. Praise God he protected us and we are okay. In general, the city seems to be showing a nice turn around but it has pockets of poverty that contrasts with the more affluent areas.
Our next adventure started at five thirty when Pam, Ruth-Anne, and I, headed for a country club where the wedding ceremony was to be held. I figured Ruth-Anne knew the way and would guide Pam. Unfortunately, she made a wrong turn and we ended up on the Cheasepeake Bay Tunnel. Fortunately, I had been in the Tunnel this past July and knew there was a turn around about a half mile up. We made our illegal turn and went back. I was able to convince them which general direction we needed to go, and made it to the Country Club area, but we missed the entrance, and went past a High School full of marching bands in bright uniforms and turned around while Pam was blasting the horn and both she and Ruth-Anne were waving and yelling at the dumb founded musicians! Pam only minutes before had been on the verge of tears, when we nearly had an accident. Okay, she was crying, and holding back the tears as much as she could. Emotions were the order of the day. To our relief we made it to the Country Club and of course pretended that nothing had happened, no tears, no yelling, no adventure!!
As it turned out, I drove us both back to the hotel at midnight in Pam's rented vehicle (later I realized that I had left my wallet in the motel, so I was very naughty on several accounts, but not for drinking, thank goodness!).
To my surprise, the best part of my weekend came when I got home. My daughter Ana called me and Arwen and Zanneke, my granddaughters, wanted to talk to Grandma. I had a hilarious time with them, Zanneke telling me different monosyllabic colors, like pink, green, red, each pronounced firmly and with pride, while Arwen entertained me with Elephant and Knock-Knock jokes for what seemed like a half an hour. Does it get any better? Though I clearly had enormous fun and adventure earlier, there is nothing like being loved by your family. They affirm and cherish you in a way no one else, other than the Lord, can. I learned a lesson this weekend. Actually a couple.