A River Runs Through It

True or False? I have never lived farther than 10 miles from White River. At the risk of your thinking I don’t get out much, my answer is True.

While growing up in Bloomfield, Indiana, our family crossed White River frequently as it edged the town’s western perimeter. My sister and I could bike to one of its creeks where we learned to skip stones and torment frogs with stray branches.

Later I followed the river north. Although I didn’t choose Ball State University based upon its five-mile proximity to White River, I enjoyed knowing it was nearby. The only Muncie river interaction I remember involved an earth science class field trip to study how the city purified its water.

The farthest I’ve ever lived from White River came after Al and I were married and rented our first apartment near Eagle Creek Reservoir. At that location, I was approximately 10 miles from the river. Ironically that was the closest I’ve ever lived to a body of water.

When we built our first home in Decatur Township two years later, we lived five miles west of the river. In 1987, we moved to our current location in Center Grove, five miles east of the river.  When it flooded in 2008, White River and our area erupted into a news flash as homes were damaged beyond repair.

This spring White River became relevant when Al and I were introduced to its scenic four-mile round trip asphalt trail, the White River Greenway Trail, which starts at Waverly’s Old Town Park. There’s no better way to spend a sunny afternoon.

Thank you, White River, for being a continuum this side of Heaven!

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. . .” Revelation 22:1

Time Travel

Since “official” retirement in 2013, what has surprised me is how much I read again. It’s a throwback to growing up in Greene County in the 1960’s glued to the Bobbsey Twins’ escapades, and later, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mysteries.

While working fulltime, I only read books on vacation, preferably on a beach with a cozy mystery. Now I love to read any time, during winter months while lying on the sofa with hot tea in reach, or if the weather is warm, in the patio’s wicker settee with lemon water close by.

According to the Daily Journal’s Free Time weekly listing, book clubs in Johnson County seem to be thriving. Whether we’re reading to escape or to be informed, we’re reading.

Even more surprising in this culture of electronic-everything, our nation still enjoys the printed page. In 2018, 695 million printed books were sold, the highest amount since 2010  (https://www.statista.com/statistics/422595/print-book-sales-usa/). However, I confess to reading some library books on my Kindle app because they’re quick and easy to download.

My book club, Heartland Christian Readers, started and hosted by Becky Horton, is beginning its fifth year. And I LOVE it! I especially enjoy our lively monthly discussions. Even though the eight of us live in this area, our perspectives often differ, making our time together intellectually stimulating and insightful.

We’ve covered monthly nonfiction topics about mental illness, human trafficking, and an array of famous people’s biographies. Since the first of the year, we’ve read USS Indianapolis, Angela’s Ashes, and Upstairs at the White House. I love how books are like time travel, putting us on a sinking naval cruiser during war, or in famine-starved Ireland, or in the White House during the FDR years through the Nixon administration.

As we used to tell our kids, readers are leaders.

Friends, read often!

In the Air Again

I enjoy traveling. Packing–not so much! Not that I’m complaining, because this is the only way I can see my precious kids and their families. Since Al and I retired five years ago, we have been blessed with opportunities to travel overseas to Israel, Austria, and Cyprus, with two of those three to visit our daughter and her family.

Stateside, we have put several of the 100,000+ miles on our 2008 Chevy Malibu to drive to Maryland, Florida, Texas, California, Colorado, and Michigan. Four of those destinations involved visiting family.

Today I’ve finished packing for the fourth trip this year, second one to Houston, and believe me, I’m grateful not to being going overseas to visit our daughter Valerie, her husband Charley, and our most precious granddaughter, Elianna, who will soon become a big sister to a newborn baby sister.

I love my life!

But I loved my life, too, when both in kids were in college and our big outing for the week was a Friday night trip to Chick-fil-A with coupons. Afterward, Al and I would go to Home Depot and buy a gallon of Behr’s satin finish paint, because our weekend entertainment involved painting a room in our now 32-year-old house.

Then there were the tough-but-precious-memory years when we took care of my parents who moved from their 50+ year old home in southern Indiana into the nearby Hearth at Stones Crossing. Then most of our travel involved going to Bloomfield to check on our childhood homes. During those years time trumped travel in importance.

On the horizon we have a Utah hiking trip with friends planned, another trip to Houston, and two to San Diego where we will welcome to the family our son Chris and Shwetha’s firstborn due mid-October. Weeks later we will all gather in their new home to celebrate the holidays.

I love this phase of our life and am thankful for the God-given resources to be able to visit those we love. But occasionally I wish they were just minutes away instead of hours. Our two homebound gray babies, the infamous Bevo and Bewley kitties, agree.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6