When all is said and done – it really is the people you meet. Lisa and I have come to that conclusion as we reflect on this vagabond life we have taken on as we travel the country with Lisa’s job as a traveling ultra-sound technician. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and its surrounding area was historic with profound meaning as a place in history. But we remember most Megan and Scott, Karen and her family, John (who I met while shooting basketball in his neighborhood) and Don Knox – whose son is an animator for Disney. And in Loma Linda, California we remember mostly Amy and Mark and Marcello and Martha.
And now it is time to introduce you to some of the people we have gotten to know here in Kingman, Arizona. So without further ado:
Meet Paul Daniel. Paul is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Kingman. We have actually not met him personally – only have heard him preach twice – but we love his family and his style of preaching. Our first Sunday visiting the church – we learned that he was recovering from a heart attack but was expected back to the pulpit the following Sunday. As we were about to leave that morning, a lovely young lady approached us and introduce herself as the pastor’s daughter. She was so welcoming to us that Lisa and I decided to return the following week. Her father, Paul, preached the next two weeks and we fell in love with his relaxed demeanor and casual style. Where so many preachers seem to be loaded up with “Red Bull” and blow and go with such gusto it seems they hardly take a breath – Paul’s “aw shucks” kind of style has been a welcomed respite from the ‘fire hydrant force preaching style’ of the day. At one point during the service he invited people to come forward and kneel at the altar while he led in prayer and he did so with such ease I was not surprised to see half the church go forward. Just no big deal. I also noticed there was no offering taken up and no invitation in the end. Lisa and I loved that. When he finished preaching he had a prayer and said, “You’re free to leave. Have a great day!” I did notice that they managed to reach their weekly budget as printed in their order of service – so I suppose not “taking up” an offering did not matter much. People gave by placing their offering in a box as they left without being told how or shown the plate. I hope my telling this does not create problems for them in the Southern Baptist Convention. Not having an invitation or designated offering time during the service may be more dangerous to some than denouncing the trinity or the virgin birth. But – way to go First Southern of Kingman!
Meet JC and Carol. When you live in an RV park – you see people come and go on a daily basis. Since we are in a popular vacation area (Las Vegas, Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon all within two hours or less) we notice a lot of people come and go. But we have met some of the long-term campers including JC and Carol. Although they live in Las Vegas, they travel to higher elevation spots during the hot summer to avoid the furnace like temperatures of Vegas and other lower elevation cities. Of course the first week we arrived in Kingman they had record high temperatures here not seen before in a hundred years. But since that first week the temperatures have normalized and average 98 – 100 degrees. JC, we learned, is a retired craps dealer and an interesting fellow. I asked him how to win at craps and his reply is one I will never forget. “Don’t play!” Carol is a retired nurse who also traveled some with her job and is now recovering from cancer. Very boisterous and fun, she is the one who pulls people together to go out to eat or get together at the pool.
Tom and Diane. Another long-term camping couple we have met is Tom and Diane from Redding, California. Diane’s father lives here in Kingman and is in poor health and so they are here for a few months taking care of him. This very nice couple have a few dogs that they keep and recently was the cause of a stir with an unfriendly neighbor. All their dogs are completely harmless – one is toothless, one is too fat to hardly move and the third is a skittish Chihuahua seemingly afraid of his own shadow. A neighbor complained that their dogs were off their leash and the camp manager threatened to have them evicted. In years to come it will be known as the great “Kingman KOA Dog Controversy of 2013”. I learned of the problem and that they may be asked to leave one day while talking to them at the pool and the next day they were gone. I was so depressed that they had been asked to leave – I told Lisa it made me not want to stay here any longer. The next day, while driving through the RV park – I noticed that had, in fact, only relocated to a different RV spot – away from their tattle-tale neighbor. Whew! I was so glad to see them later I nearly hugged their necks. So Peyton Place is back to normal and all is right with world.
Gary. Lisa was told that one of her co-workers would be hard to get along with and she may not like working with him. What the hospital did not know is that Lisa is a southern girl who could find good in Stalin. She and Gary have actually hit if off very well and she may be the only traveler here (and they have had many) that has been able to appreciate Gary’s dry sense of humor and skill as an echo-tech. Whenever I hear that Lisa may not get along with someone – I just have to laugh. When that day comes, I believe, Armageddon may be around the corner.
Hope you like our new friends – we think they would like you.
Steve and Lisa