Aug. 8-9, 1970
With Mary, Bervin, and Tom coming to Champaign for the weekend, Nate and I worked hard to clean the apartment, front to back. We didn’t own a vacuum but had been given a partially-functional carpet sweeper. It was powered by good old fashioned elbow grease, and I always reserved that chore for Nate.
The carpet sweeper had a revolving bar much like a vacuum, but it wouldn’t pick anything up unless the user pressed down hard while shoving it around the room. It was pure pleasure watching Nate throw himself into that assignment each week, and our dull, grey carpets never looked better.
When our little home was sparkling, we shopped together for fondue ingredients, thoroughly excited about our visitors. But as we unpacked the groceries, our phone rang — and brought bad news. Chicago weather had “turned,” and small planes weren’t allowed to fly. The forecast was better the following day, though, and they planned to come then.
When the weather didn’t improve, Mary and Bervin decided to drive. This shortened their visit to just a few hours, but we were glad they still wanted to come. Sadly, Tom couldn’t join them, since Corvettes have no back seat.
Mary surprised me with dessert — a homemade birthday cake topped with 25 candles – quite the gift!
We got to meet their new Cocker Spaniel, Russell, and hear positive reports about how our Baron was doing. When I expressed guilt over leaving him with Mom and Dad, Mary insisted we not worry, describing how much Mom loved having a dog again. But a note in Mom’s diary hinted otherwise:
Tom enjoys the Baron – but he is work and concern for me.
By the end of the day, we’d caught up on all the news from home, and best of all had been able to “see” our first nephew/niece by way of Mary’s expanding tummy. To me it was an absolute wonder – a real live baby was about to join our all-adult family. Almost too good to be true!
As they pulled away close to 10:00 PM, we calculated they wouldn’t get home till the wee hours – and were grateful they’d stayed so long. But watching their taillights disappear was torture for me. Our foursome was relatively new, and we longed to spend more time together. But distance (and Nate’s 7-day-a-week paper route) kept us apart.
Nate and I lingered on our building’s front porch long after they’d left, appreciating the song of crickets and the balmy summer night. But I was missing my sister already. “Where do you think we’ll end up after graduation?” I said. “Maybe in the Chicago area? Like… close to Mary and Bervin?”
But as we climbed the stairs my last thought was, “Chicago’s a really big city. Surely there’s one good job there for Nate.”
“Lord… you hold my future.” (Psalm 16:5)