At the post office, mailing a love package to James' friend's family, stationed in Africa! This family of three have to speak French to get around, and icecream does not reach them having melted and been re-frozen, so certain things are precious to these far-removed loved ones.
We began our weekend with a search for a field, just for play. We found the perfect place on campus, surrounding the memorial built in honor of the twelve students who lost their lives when Bonfire fell on 11-18-99. This was my first visit to the site. I was a student, right here, that many years ago, when this tower of compactly-bound logs fell oppressively upon its builders, and devastated my entire school. Standing in the green grass at a distance, my gaze focused on this beautiful monument, and a flood of memories came back to me. Forgive my honesty, from my personal point of view, as I let this out. And it was one of two extremely sobering experiences that punctuated my 4.5 years at A & M.
In an apartment at last, after sharing the minuscule dorm room with my best friend for two years, I relished my flexible schedule, which allowed for a measure of sleeping later. One morning, I slept soundly when all of the sudden, my roommates burst through the door and alerted me that Bonfire had fallen. I truly didn't get it. I figured, "Okay, someone broke an arm. Let me sleep now!" I remember rolling over, trying to return to my dream, and yet, the commotion was too much. I finally snapped out of my state, and realized the seriousness of this freak accident. Fellow students were trapped within the collapsed mass of wood. Bodies were crushed. I, along with my best friends in the world, was horrified. I had two tests that day...or three...or two and a quiz. I had to ride the bus into campus. The bus, normally loud with cacophony, was silent save for the serious voice on the radio. Every power attainable was at work trying to save, trying to salvage, trying to secure peace of mind for a nation standing at attention now. It took a long time to free and uncover and be done, and it was a long agony, I remember. My professors stood at the front of the classrooms...and observing extended moments of silence, wept. I may have been pardoned from a test or two, but I don't recall for sure. I remember waiting inside a building, where I checked my e-mail (a relatively new exercise for this computer-challenged girl), and picking up a Battalion. A photo of a male student, gesturing to others while half his body succumbed to the logs, was accompanied by the newsworthy fact that he insisted paramedics tend to the females, whose voices he heard coming from within. This student, once freed, later died. He was a hero, a real, close-to-home one, I'll never forget. I doubt I ever met him, but he felt like family. He was a Twelfth Man.
Anyway, life afterwords continued on, as it does, and all these years later, I stood, stunned and respectful.
Wendy is at an age now, she asks question after question until the whole picture makes sense. In child-friendly language, especially Wendy-friendly language (those of you who know about her sleep-issues), I explained that God wanted these wonderful students to come home to Him a bit early, for His glory, and that they were instantly in Heaven and at their reward. I read the engraved bits about each student to her, and was touched to see just how much of what is forever etched into the slabs of some sort of steel or something, perhaps bronze?, reflected the student's love and dedication to Jesus Christ. It moved me to my core. And I was also moved to see how with little said, a child can somewhat grasp the gravity of this and comprehend the afterlife, even, hopefully! God bless you all. (Copied from an e-mail I sent a while ago.)
Teaching Wendy and her friend to play Settlers of Catan. She doesn't get it yet, but he sure did!
It'll grow out. Wendy cried. Linc said, "Dat not peedy!"