August 1 marks an anniversary for our family. On that date in 1999, we officially moved in to the parsonage in LaMoille, IL, marking our move from the South to the Midwest.
It was, without a doubt, the most insane thing we did. It was also the best thing. No disparagement to the folks in Jarratt, or the Commonwealth of Virginia, but neither Lisa nor I fit in there. Lisa wanted to be near her family as our children grew up. We were young - 34 and 32 - and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Finally, we had 9 weeks to arrange the move, pack, figure out the logistics of getting a two-year-old, two cars, a very large Great Dane, two cats, and ourselves to the prairie.
Somehow, we managed to do it all, and then some, but not without creating a whole lot of memories in the process.
In the intervening time, our family has expanded. We lost our precious Gretchen and gained Dreyfus, a marvelous St. Bernard who knows nothing more than love. Both our old cats have gone to wherever cats go when they pass, replaced with two new cats. We've added guinea pigs, and a livelier and more interesting pet I cannot imagine. We've moved twice since, and those moves have seemed more of a hassle than the massive trek across country.
Along the way, we've made more friends, enjoyed more laughs, shared special and wrenching moments with all sorts of people. And folks have been there with us. When Miriam was born. When Lisa's father passed away suddenly just a few months later. Helping out when the basement in LaMoille flooded. Painting the living room and kitchen in Poplar Grove. Building the safety fence around the backyard in LaMoille when Moriah, not yet three, took advantage of her parents' attention elsewhere for just a few moments, walked out the back door and decided to practice her high-wire balancing act on the retaining wall behind the church, giving us both heart attacks.
There are times it doesn't seem possible that so much time has passed. Some days, though, the thought of so much living can be a comfort. Either way, we are happy with our lives, and our life, and look forward to celebrating so many more years out here on the prairie.