Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Isn't This a Surprise!

The waters that bind us…

Sometimes you are just surprised by the ways in which we really are all bound together.  It happened last week at church.  In the short bio they had put in the worship guide about me, pulled from the Providence website, it stated that I have been active with the SC Campaign toPrevent Teen Pregnancy.  (In all fairness it is one of the great organizations in our country and I am so proud of my connection with them!) 

Well, a young man in the congregation came up to Anita after the service and said that he would like to talk with me.  He was helping put together a conference on issue around teen sexuality and wondered if I would be a part.  I took it to mean that he was inviting me to be there, to listen and learn.  I thought it was a wonderful opportunity and so quickly agreed.


Last Saturday he called to confirm, and as we talked I realized that he wanted me to present—to the teens.  Sure, I thought!  I have some stuff on my computer that I have used previously.  I will just do that!  With a group of 25-30 I can talk, we can have some questions, it will be wonderful!

On Sunday as we were finalizing everything I just happened to ask, to confirm my assumptions, “So how many teens are going to be participating?” 

About 300!

Well, it turns out that he was wrong!  There were only about 250!



So this morning I found myself in front of a bunch of Indonesian teens (loosely termed—actually the ages ranged from 10-20!) talking about sexuality and how to make good decisions!  Fortunately, I had an interpreters, since I don’t speak Indonesian and they didn’t speak English.  Someone asked how it went and I can honestly say, “I have no idea!”  I really don’t know what I said!  Oh, I know what I said, but what did they hear???  Ask my interpreter!!!

Anyway, I did my spill, and then opened it up for questions.  That is when I realized that a)I had overshot my audience.  They were really Middle Schoolers; and b) they asked the same questions that teens in the US want to know—about relationships, and affection and intimacy and making good decisions and friends and family.  Not one question about plumbing—thanks be to God!

One more similarity, when I asked them how many of their parents had talked to them about sex, there were 2 hands that were raised—both females.  Indonesia has the same problem that we have in the US.  Parents are failing to be the educators that our children so need!  We need to do better—all over the world!

So if you are in the US, and have children, talk to them!  You can find wonderful resources to help at the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy as well as the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies.  Talk to them!  They need it and want it.  Otherwise they may have to hear it through an interpreter—and who knows what he will say!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

One more reflection from China





I wish I had paid attention to the calendar.  We were in Tiananmen Square on June 3, the day before the 24th anniversary of the crackdown.  It is a peaceful place now, where several individuals came up to have their picture made with Alison—but not me for some reason?









But 24 years ago it was a very different scene.  There are no commemorative markers there, but how long did it take the US to recognize what occurred on the road from Selma to Montgomery, at Kent State, at Wounded Knee?


We do try to hide our dirty little secrets don’t we—as a nation, as individuals.  But I do think there is an old line that says confession is good for the soul.  For us all.



A footnote:

It is good to know that Batman and Supergirl are keeping everyone safe!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Everyday life in Bali



By Anita: 

Everyday living in Bali is  a bit different than our usual routine.  Our house is on the corner beside a rice field.  This week, we’ve been watching as the workers harvest the rice, first by hand and then finish it up with a large machine.  (Clearly, I need to find someone who can explain this process to me a little better.)    




In a vacant lot two doors down are some Balinese cows 
and chickens that roam the street.   Our eggs come from these house chickens that roam freely in Bali. We don’t have to pay extra for these organic, free range eggs!  On my walk this morning, a mother hen and her chicks scooted across the path in front of me.  I wasn’t a quick enough draw with my camera to catch them before they disappeared into the bushes.  

As Don has said - it’s hot here - imagine the temps and humidity of Charleston in summer.  Many places in Bali are not air conditioned  - except for the tourist places - so by 9 a.m. we’re pretty much coated with a fine sheen of sweat that just increases throughout the day.  But we’re learning to sweat gracefully.  Ha!
Our house is small but nice -
 with one bedroom and an office.   The bedroom and office have air conditioning  - which is helpful for writing and working and for sleeping at night.  The open doors in the living room and kitchen sometimes pick up a breeze  but it still gets quite hot  (ok... really hot) in the afternoon.  

Our kitchen has a two burner propane stove and a toaster oven - and a rice cooker.  
Since tap water here is not drinking water ( at least not for Westerners), we have a giant bottled water dispenser.  I think we’re going to set a record for the most water jugs two people can go through in a week.  

We share the house with a variety of small lizards.  Lizards in the shower take a little getting used to.  Our bathroom shower has enough hot water for me to either wash my hair or shave my legs - a lesson in clarifying your priorities.   And we do have a western style toilet -even though I’m getting used to the squatty potties. 



We do have internet now but instead of paying by the month, we pay by the amount used.  You become aware of how much time you spend aimlessly surfing the net and just leaving the internet on while you’re off making a cup of tea or cooking dinner.   The thing we don’t have right now is television - and those of you who know Don Flowers know he is going through news, sports and The Voice withdrawal. 

By far, the best thing about our little house is our pembantu, Ilou.  A pembantu is a house helper.  Ilou has helped us do everything from paying for electricity and drinking water to cooking some fabulous Balinese food for us for lunch.  She shakes her head at us when we don’t know what to do,  then tells us what to do, and translates for the visitors who show up at our door.    

It's a slower pace of life here - not so driven and rushed.  People take their time about life.  Not a bad plan at all. 


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gamelon lessons

By Anita:

It’s our first week in Bali and we’re headed out for music lessons.  Balinese gamelon is a traditional musical ensemble that features gongs, xylophone-like instruments, and drums.   Each instrument is tuned to a specific ensemble and are not interchangable with other gamelons.  All the instruments are tuned in pairs, but with just a slightly different tuning on each so that when the same note is struck on both instruments, you can hear the vibration of the note almost shimmering in the air. 

The notes of the scale are ding, dong, deng, dung and dang. It seems easy - just strike the right tone and mute the last one- but there is no written music.  You watch the notes the leader is playing and the signals that he gives to  know what note you should play next.  You also memorize the patterns the leader is playing so you know what to expect. 

Playing gamelon means paying complete attention to the leader and listening in a whole new way.   I think it would be much easier with a sheet of music in front of me.  But playing this kind of music is a practice in listening to a different sound in music  and watching carefully - especially when the leader is speaking in Indonesian!  
  

Who knew Don was a musician?


Our friends, Daniel and Mary, follow the leader on the higher notes.

AF










Monday, June 10, 2013

Don's No Good Really Rotten Horrible Day

Since Alison Flowers has already outed us on Facebook, I thought I needed to share the whole story!  

Today Anita and I decided that we would go shopping for some beach towels, get some flip flops so as not to ruin our shoes, and then go to the beach and grab some supper.  Sounds easy enough, right?

And we made our way to Hardy's which is like a Super Wal Mart.  Bought 2 beach towels and 2 pairs of shoes for $25.  Then we stopped by the church to see if Anita's internet card had showed up--it hadn't.  (Note the music change to much more foreboding!)

We headed back to the beach, thinking that we would eat at a resturant where we ate on Sat--right on the beach, but couldn't find it.  So we walked for a while and then started driving to find it.  Remember, I am driving a little scooter in the land of crazy drivers.  

We look and look and look for the resturant--it has become a quest--when Anita asks, "How are we on gas?"  "Fine!" I say, because it is close to the end.  Only, as I looked at it, it was past the E!  So food takes a backseat (if we had one on the scooter) to gas.  We ask people about Petrol, they send us on a quest that ended up on the traffic equivalent of Savannah Highway at rush hour, only faster.  At last we see a place, make a U-turn and get in.  

Let me say that I was as stressed as I have ever been.  What do we do if we run out of gas, have no idea where we are, or where a gas station is!  Filled the tank up for 18000 rupiah, or about $2.00.  

Now with gas we can head to supper!  Back on Savannah Highway, get to the light where we are to turn, and it turns red just as we are starting across.  We aren't in a good space--even worse when a policeman comes over and "invites" me to come see them!

They are very polite, telling me that I have the wrong license -I can't drive a motorcycle in SC.   He also cited me for not backing up.  The bottom line, I can either give up my license and registration and go to court, or we can settle it there for a mere 250,000 rupiah, or about $25.00.  What would YOU do???

I now have a criminal record; but escaped life in an Indonesian jail.  All in all not a bad day!  It was a really horrible no good rotten day!

I know, I know!  It's Bali!  But can't a guy get a little bit of sympathy?

And no, I didn't take a picture of the nice police officer, but I will get you a picture soon of Don Flowers, preacher and soon to be Hell's Angel!  With Anita Flowers, my Motorcycle Mama!  Or Scooter Sweetie--either way she has a hot red helmet!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Have you Been Whelmed Recently?

There are those places in the world that you hear so much about that you are just certain they are over-hyped.   You go because you “have to go,” but you really expect to be under-whelmed.  There is just no way the Grand Canyon can be THAT Grand!  How great can a wall in China really be?  It’s just a way after all!

No!
It is a GREAT Wall!








No, that doesn’t even come close to my reaction!  It was there, standing shrouded in a mist that arose from the depths of the earth.  (OK, in fact it was another cloud of pollution, but the effect was the same!)

We took the cable car to the top—there just wasn’t enough time to hike to the top, nor do I think my legs, ribs or lungs could have managed it.  So how in the world could an entire army managed to get up there and then fight their way over?

As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so let me give you just a few thousand! Words, not pictures!



The next time we get married we are having our wedding pictures made on the Great Wall!




Reading your Nook on the Great Wall.  When centuries collide!



If Savannah had been here the day would have been perfect!  Well that, and if we could have done the toboggan down the hill, but Anita says broken ribs say no!  Next time though!


A reflection:

This wall was built over centuries to keep the Mongolians out.  It was successful.  It did keep them out—but it also kept the Chinese in.  For centuries the flow of people and idea stopped, which led to isolation.  That is beginning to change, but the fear of outsiders is not a Chinese monopoly.  It is just as alive in church as over the centuries we have built walls to protect the precious valuable faith that we hold, but also to keep “them” out. 


I wonder in a couple hundred centuries if our walls will be deemed this great?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Beijing - First impressions

By Anita:
My first impression of Beijing was the one I really wanted to see.

There they were...behind a large group of fairly somber Chinese people waiting to pick up friends and relatives at the air port...Alison and James jumping up and down and waving!    The real reason reason for the trip to Beijing!








Other first impressions:    *When you can see the pollution in the air,  it's a bit polluted.  *Don't ever complain about American traffic.   Beijing traffic, including cars, buses, motor bikes, bicycles, and lots and lots of people, is complete madness.  And they believe in car horns.   *There are a lot of people in Beijing.









*It's amazing how much you can communicate without knowing a  language by using gestures and context clues.  And pointing at pictures.
* You really only need to do rush hour in a Beijing subway once in your life.  It an incredible mass of humanity.  You're packed in like sweaty little sardines in a tin.

As Alison says, "You have absolutely no personal space."      

First day in Bejing, we toured the silk market, visited Lake Houhai, and shopped in a houtong. But the hugs and the stories and the love were the best part.

AF

It Really is Different!


It really is different!

As I mentioned in my last post, part of what I am looking forward to during this sabbatical is experiencing life in a different way.  China, Bali—the culture, the history, the life is different!

And so is this!  And this was sooooo unexpected!

Anita and I spent Wednesday (and Thursday if you add in the time and day change!) flying!  We went to Atlanta, of course, made our connection to Seattle.  One of the little things we learned from Alison and James was that paying the little extra to move to Comfort Coach is well worth it!  And it was!  We had a bulkhead seat where we could stretch out and it was wonderful.  Absolutely wonderful!

But we were anxious—note the word again!  We knew from checking in that our transfer to our Beijing flight was tight—very tight!  Even worse, we knew that the flight was overbooked.  They were already looking for volunteers to take a later flight.  AND, there was horrible weather in the middle of the country that meant we had to take a different route and were going to get in even later!

When we arrived in Seattle the gates were only a few apart—good sign; they were already boarding the Beijing flight—a sign.  But when we got to the check-in lady, she asked me to step aside for a moment!  Not a good sign!  Not a good sign at all!

(Wait!  I have my passport!  I have my visa!  I have my international driver license and my inoculation certificate!  I am still in the US!  You can’t say, “You go back!”)

Wait, there isn’t an AK-47 over her shoulder. 

She said, “There has been a seat change.”  Before I could protest I saw the boarding pass. 1-B.  Anita is given 1-C.

As we walk down the gangway Anita says, “Did what I think just happened really happen?” 

YES!!!!

We are in Business Elite!  And let me tell you—IT IS DIFFERENT UP HERE!

The flight attendant brought us a glass of Champaign before we left!  He brought us a menu to order supper!  He brought us a napkin, that wasn’t a napkin.  It was a small tablecloth!

And the seats!   They go flat and you can sleep.  All night!  Anita is currently in hour 7, which means that she has missed all the good movies available and will never get to sleep tonight—which is when we are going to arrive! 
This has been such a different experience!  And sometime different is good—even great!  It gives me a great feeling about the different to come!

And I could get spoiled this way!  But I don’t think I have been that good!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And So It Begins!

Anita is over her anxiety!  The house is clean and ready for the guest who will be using it as their home away from home—and preaching at Providence and feeding  Mike the Cat!  We are appreciative of them and hope they don’t look under that place that I was supposed to clean!
 
But as soon as we got to the airport, Anita relaxed.

I just got more anxious!

It all comes from an incident involving a passport that didn’t make it with me to Prague, a large man with an AK-47 strapped over his shoulder saying, “You Go Back!”  It only takes one time and you clasp your passport all the time.  (Pause while I check….yep, it is here!)

The truth is however, my anxiety has been growing over the past few days.  It started when I realized I had to be intentional about what I was going to wear, and what I was going to take on the trip.  I found myself wanting cantaloupe, because who knows if they have them in Bali.  And will I ever get a tomato sandwich this summer? 

It is not that I am not thrilled about this trip!  I am!  I can’t wait to discover places I have never been.  It is just that the routine of my life is so…. comfortable.  I know what coffee cup to use on what day, what is going to happen, what I am going to do. 

But this sabbatical?  Well, it has disrupted my life, my routine.  I don’t know what day it is, or what to do, or soon, where I am.

Which was the point wasn’t it?  TO get outside the waters that bind me, that set the limits of my life, that form the natural borders of my world. 

To pontificate just a bit, I do wonder how often that is the way we live at church.  We have our borders of right and wrong, proper and inappropriate, how we do things, and to get outside that border is just too anxiety producing to even consider, let alone doing! 

But what if we did? 

So now it begins!  I am heading into a new world (actually a very old world—going to see the Great Wall on Sunday!) and really don’t know what to expect!  It will be an adventure!


And yes, I am a bit anxious.  But I do have my passport!  Just checked again!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

It was wonderful...right up to that last moment


I had heard so much about Greenville’s Swamp Rabbit Trail.  “Have you done the trail?” people would ask whenever we were in town.  This walking/running/biking trail runs…well forever!  I know that it runs from downtown Greenville to Travelers Rest. 

I can now attest that it is wonderful!  No, that really doesn’t capture how wonderful it is!  

Last weekend Anita and I were in town to celebrate Amy Shelley and Matt Olson’s wedding.  We decided that we would throw our bikes on the car and go for a ride.

(A sideline, when we checked into our hotel the young lady behind the counter looked at me and said, “Mr. Flowers?  I am Brett Barbare…well I was.  I got married last month and now I am Mrs. Flowers!”  Brett and Alison were good friends when we lived in Greenville.  Just one of those little serendipities!  And the people at the Hampton Inn downtown took great care of our bikes—and is a wonderful place to stay I might add!)

So Friday morning Anita and I took off!  We rode north.  And did I mention that it was wonderful.  Anita turned green with envy when she saw the rubberized running track!  The trail runs through places that prior you wouldn’t have gone, but now there are little cafes that cater to the bikers and runners.  Neighborhoods put up signs that say “Like riding the Swamp Rabbit Trail?  Imagine living beside it!”  The trail has become an economic catalyst.  (Do you hear that Charleston???)


We made our way to Furman, took a ride around the lake which our children had enjoyed during their college days; ran into friends.  We ventured on to Travelers Rest before turning around and heading back for a quick lunch.  We made it back downtown and then went a little further—through Cleveland Park.

That was when Anita said she was going to head back to start getting ready for the wedding.  (Did I mention that I was officiating??)  I rode a bit further before turning back!
I got lost in Cleveland Park—ended up down near the zoo, off the trail.  I realized my mistake and turned around.

Did I mention that it was a wonderful ride?

Right up to the point that I made a left hand turn off the little bridge, never seeing the mud on the trail.

You know, it doesn’t take long to hit the ground!  Hard!

As I was sprawled all over the path, I tried to catch my breath, confirmed that I could move everything, made sure my bike was ridable.

It was then that I realized that my ribs really hurt!  REALLY HURT!

Short version, I saw Dr, Mathis at the reception and he told me what I knew. If they were broken (which I think they are) there really isn’t anything to do—just wait.

Sleeping the last few nights has been difficult.  Moving heavy stuff around hurts (so don’t do that!) I am almost looking forward to sitting on the flight, because they don’t hurt when I am sitting.

Did I mention that the Swamp Rabbit Trail is really wonderful?  I had a wonderful time—right up to that last moment!

See, this sabbatical stuff isn’t all wonderful! Life does go on!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dancing lessons from God

By Anita: 

       Look out world!  I have a international drivers license!  I can drive in 179 countries around the planet  - from Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria and Azerbaijan  to the UK, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Samoa, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  But most importantly,  I can drive in Indonesia... well, I’m licensed to drive now in Indonesia.  We’ll see about the actual experience. 

       


That’s just one of the many details I’ve checked off my very long to do list.  Trip prep has taken up a lot of my time in the last few weeks.   The reality is that we’re leaving the country for two months.  We’ve done visas and immunizations.  What do we have in the way of travel clothes and what do we need?   Most of our suitcases have wandered off to Texas and China.   Do we need new ones?  What about phones, money, insurance, bug spray, contact solution?  How do we get Don’s “must be refrigerated” medicine (in needle topped syringes, no less) to Bali?  And the big question.... do I pack my running shoes? 

Then there are the practical matters on the home front.   How am I going to pay our regular bills while we're gone?   Who’s going to cut the grass - and how do I pay them?  What about my finicky ferns on the back porch?   Several friends will be vacationing at our home in Charleston and feeding Mike the cat so, of course, I’m in serious cleaning mode.  Details. Details. Details.  Not what I do best.  

But it will be worth it!  Kurt Vonnegut once wrote “Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.”  My unfinished to-do list reminds me that I can't arrange and manage every tiny detail for every minute that I'm away.   It’s almost time to begin the dance.

AF




Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's Not Just About Me


I will be the last person in the world to ever say that the opportunity to take a sabbatical is not an incredible gift, perk, benefit, extravagance—you pick the word!  It is wonderful!

But it isn’t just wonderful for me!

It is also an incredible gift to my family. 

I am aware that I have a lot of flexibility with my weekly schedule.  If I have a doctor’s appointment I just go.  If I need to run out to the bank or the grocery store during lunch, I can.  That is wonderful.  I often wonder when normal people go to Wal Mart.  (OK, lets be honest, I don’t go to Wal Mart anyway.  Anita makes that run, but you understand what I am saying!) 

But the flip side is that I work during normal “family time.”  Weekends are full—either with weddings or more often just getting the sermon finished.  Sundays are full.  We can’t plan a trip away…because Dad has to work.

But a sabbatical!  It is extended family time!

I realized that the first time I ever took a sabbatical.  The girls were young then, but as the time came nearer they got more and more excited.  They looked forward to the time.  “You mean you won’t have to go to work?” they asked.  “You can come and have lunch with me at school?”  “You will be here when we get home?”

During one of the most memorable sabbaticals we have ever took the whole family went to England.  We got to see so many sites, created memories that fuel stories that we still tell.

That was gift!  It is gift! 


Even now…now that the girls are all grown up.  This sabbatical is gift to them!  Savannah was home from Austin last week.  We laughed and went to the beach and had fun and never got interrupted with “work.”  Next Wednesday we will leave to head to Beijing for a few days with Alison and James. 

It is even more!  I spent a few days this week at home in Cherryville.  I mowed the “Lower 40” (actually just about 2 acres) helped Mom make some decisions, and just relaxed in the old homeplace. 
On the way back to Charleston I stopped by to see my father. All of that would be next to impossible during “Normal” time.  But sabbatical time…

So on behalf of my family, thank you!  It is gift to me, but also to them!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The visas have arrived!

     



     Several of you have asked if I (Anita) will also be blogging about the trip.  The answer is yes... Don and I will be co-blogging from this website and hopefully, our marriage will survive it.   

     We're prepping for a two month trip to the other side of the world - China, Indonesia and Australia.  Until you are in the middle of it, you don't realize how much work it takes to get there!

     I spent several mornings talking to the Indonesian consulate  and Chinese visa service and locating the documents we needed.  Because we’re going to be in Bali for six weeks, we had to apply for a social-cultural visa for Indonesia, which meant we had to send in a thick stack of paperwork - including a letter of invitation from a sponsor in Indonesia, that person’s identification papers, our travel itinerary, a copy of our bank statement, a U.S. letter of employment, and our U.S. passports.  Mailing off our two passports to the Indonesian consulate in NY just weeks prior to a trip was a little anxiety producing - and we were going to have to do it twice!  You can’t do it too far in advance because you have to use the visa within 90 days.  Thankfully, the Indonesian visas arrived back within a couple of weeks, stamped neatly inside our passports.  The next day, I  loaded a second mailing envelope with another stack of papers and, again, our passports,  bound for the Chinese consulate in Washington, DC.    And today, the wonderful FedEx delivery person showed up at the front door with our passports and Chinese visas.
       Thanks be to God that Australia has entered the digital age.  For an Australian visa, we just had to log onto the Australian government website, fill out a form with our passport information, give them our travel dates and our credit card number and Boom!  We have  electronic Australian visas.   

Visas done...  and then there were the shots!

      We spent an afternoon at the MUSC travel clinic and found out again that the medical staff there really know their stuff.  We had used the clinic before we traveled to South Africa in November and were very impressed with their knowledge and helpfulness. So, there we were again, getting immunized against everything from typhoid fever to hepatitis.   Don hates getting shots so he was relieved to find that the typhoid vaccine is an oral medication that you take over a period of days.  We also were given prescriptions for anti-diarrheal medication and assured that we would definitely need it.  The travel clinic gave us recommendations for mosquito repellent,  a list of places where the water is not safe for wimpy American stomachs (pretty much everywhere we are going!) and other travel recommendations.

Visas done.

Immunizations done.

Packing.... well, that's next.

AF
*********************************



Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Waters from Which I Came


For a few wonderful months while I was in seminary, I had the great privilege and joy of having Grady Nutt as my Sunday School teacher.  Words just can’t describe how much we laughed, and learned. 

One Sunday, as he was finishing up he became very serious.  He looked at us and said something that I so needed to hear, and something I have never forgotten.  He simply said, “I have never met a mature person who was ashamed of where they came from.”

Saturday night, I took the time to go “back to where I came from.”  Oh, I didn’t go home to Cherryville, NC.  I went to Darlington!

You need to understand.  I was a NASCAR fan before being a NASCAR fan was cool.   It was hereditary.  My father and uncles would make pilgrimages to Charlotte and Darlington and Daytona and the stories of those trips have become family legend.  I remember the first time I went to the infield of the World 600 in Charlotte, sitting on towers that would never be deemed safe by OSHA or my mother or any sane person! 

I met the King as a young boy (and if you don’t know who that is you will not understand anything that follows!!!) and thought I might as well die then!  Could anything better EVER happen???  I can talk to you about Fred Lorenzen, Fireball Roberts, Tiny Lund, Junior Johnson, and about Cale Yarborough and his infamous 1979 fight with the Allison brothers at Daytona—a race The King won I might add!.  I learned early in life that you were either a Ford man or a Chevy man or a Chrysler man and you didn’t change!  (I still can’t buy a Ford, although I recently rented a Taurus and it was incredible!!!)
A few years ago Richard Nunan, made me an offer.  We would go to the Saturday night race at Darlington and he would drive home so I could be ready to preach on Sunday.  (That is a Sunday in which I PREACH REAL LOUD!)  It has become a tradition. 

You have to understand that Richard is the last person in the world that you would suspect of being a race fan.  He teaches philosophy at the College of Charleston, is prone to wear a T-shirt to the race that says “This is what a Feminist looks like” and brings wonderful vegetarian pizza to eat.  Last night we had a wonderful conversation about time travel and the philosophical implications.  He is teaching an honors course next fall that you really should take—even though you can’t!  Richard grew up near Hueytown Alabama, a point of contention that I have gotten over!  (How could you pull for the Allisons???)  He is a Mark Martin fan and dreams of living long enough to see him win again.
 
Sorry Richard!  You’ve been outed!)

I am a Baptist minister who serves a church on Daniel Island, drives a Volvo and loves going to the ballet.  I have a degree from Wake Forest, Southern Seminary, and Emory, and have been accused of being rather liberal in my politics and theology.  Not the kind of people that you would expect to be sitting in the Pearson Tower at the Track too Tough to Tame on a Saturday night listening to country music, Republican senators and the roar of engines!

But there we were!  Pearson Tower.  Section H, Row 24, Seats 23 and 24. 

We’ll be there again next year. 

Sometimes you have to dip your toes in the waters that birthed you.

Sometimes you have to remember not to be ashamed of where you came from.