According to several tour guides and other people I talked to, there is a sort of supernatural draw of people to Gettysburg and the famous Civil War battlefield in Pennsylvania. Lisa and I certainly understood that attraction after spending over four months there this past summer and fall. Just like the two armies were drawn to that location one hundred and fifty years ago, people go there to pause and think and remember those tragic events of that tragic war.
Lisa and I now understand the “draw” people have for southern California. I have heard some tell of family and friends who came here and never went home again. We feel the need to take back some of our bad-mouthing that we may have done about this place early on. Much of that had to do with being here during the Christmas holidays – away from home and family and far, far away from Kentucky winter weather. But now we freely admit – we absolutely love the weather here in Loma Linda and we fully understand why people would not want to leave.
But tomorrow we will begin our two thousand mile drive home and after four months away – we are ready to see our family and friends again (Yes – we are even looking forward to seeing our dog, Agnes). And then there is the anticipation of our first grandchild on his way – so there is much to look forward to.
Saying our good-byes are never easy. We became very attached to people in Hanover Pa., and we both are looking forward to a return trip very soon. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Lisa may be reassigned there sometime and if not in Hanover – then somewhere in that area would be wonderful. Now we find ourselves again facing some painful good-byes here in Loma Linda. Aside from the near perfect weather (we now realize how brutal weather is in Kentucky) there are some people we will miss. Though we have not made as many friends here as we did in Hanover, there are some really good people who have been very nice to us and it is still hard to part company. We will be going out to eat with some of them one last time this evening and I’m sure saying good-bye will be hard. This part of traveling is just not easy.
Besides the friends we have made – we will miss other aspects of Loma Linda and southern California.
I will miss the perfect conditions for walking (or jogging or bike riding, or skateboarding, or wind surfing – whatever requires being outdoors). Since January the high temperatures have been in the mid-seventies and the lows (with just a few exceptions) have been low fifties. I could count on one hand the number of days we have had rain and if its snow you want – we are ten miles from a ski resort. You want to walk along the ocean shore? We have been less than an hour away. This place offers everything.
We will miss being within an hour of Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks.
We will miss the “In and Out” burgers.
We will miss the Ontario Mills Mall and the Victoria Gardens shopping complex.
We will miss Stater Brothers grocery.
I will miss seeing and talking to the veterans while walking through the Veterans Hospital complex.
We will miss the relaxed pace and slow. easy-going flow of life here. Lisa was amazed that people at her work would come in late and nobody really cared – just as long as you completed your eight hours – it did not really matter. We thought driving here would be difficult. But to our amazement it was easier driving here on the twelve lane freeways than most places we have been. Here people will actually let you merge – no problem. Avoiding the motorcyclists was a problem since they tend to squeeze between cars going seventy miles an hour while doing wheelies and standing on their seat. We could not decide if we should be mad or applaud the show.
But mostly it will be the people we have met that we will miss the most. It always, in the end, is really about people. We don’t know where God will send us next – it is the exciting and scary part of a traveling job. But we do know there will be people there to meet and get to know. And then another day will come like it will for us here today and tomorrow – when we will again have to say good-bye.
On our way home!
Steve and Lisa