August 2
August 2 E-mail

Transfer Day

I was packed by 8:20 am despite getting very little sleep the night before.  My toasty room -- with the perpetually open window -- was over the main entrance to the building.  Because it was the last night in Oxford, some folks stayed out late.  Several held lengthy conversations outside my window. 

Thought from this morning's reading: Psalm 105:4-5 "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.  Remember the wonders he has done."

At 9:30 I headed down to the courtyard to await the coach in the cool drizzle.  It's a good day to spend dozing on a coach.  While waiting, I talked with Donald Davis, a retired librarian from Texas.  I asked if he knew Dr. Holley from UNC and his son, Jens, a former high school classmate of mine.  He did.  Dr. Holley was his mentor.  He said Holley engendered loyalty in his students because of the interest he showed in each one.  And he is also periodically in communication with Jens at Clemson.

On the bus, I sat next to Corey.  He will soon enter a Catholic seminary to prepare for the priesthood.  Corey was at the Kilns a few weeks earlier with Butch and Peggy.  Butch had been my pastor 16 years ago in Virginia.  Church members sent them to a Kilns retreat in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Butch's ordination.  Through Corey, I felt like the proverbial "fly on a wall" during that special week.  He reported that the church members wrote messages of appreciation that were mailed ahead to the Foundation staff at the Kilns.  The other guests took turns reading the notes aloud to the couple.  Corey said Butch was always the last person to board the van at the conclusion of site-seeing trips because he was taking so many photos.  This was a trip he had dreamed of for years.  The following week, he and Peggy would tour the Cotswolds on their own. 

I thought about the contrast that week at the Kilns: Butch, in his 70s, celebrating 50 years in ministry, and a much younger Corey, about to enter seminary and begin a career in the priesthood.

Corey warned of all the roundabouts between Oxford and Cambridge.  At times, I wondered if the coach would ever get above 30 mph.  Angela sat behind me on the bus and she had a bar of Ritter's dark chocolate just for me.  At dinner the night before, she praised this brand of German chocolate and was eager for me to try it.  It was heavenly!

We arrived at Robinson College in Cambridge shortly after 1 pm.  My luggage along with several others' was on a different bus, so we went ahead and checked in while waiting for it.  What a beautiful room -- both in comfort and in view!  I am on the second floor and look out over verdant gardens complete with lily pond and fountain.  There are French doors going out to a veranda.  At my door to the inner corridor sits Henry the Hoover (vacuum cleaner).  It has a face painted on it.  I see Henry whenever I come and go.  It's sort of like having a dog greet me.

my cambridge view

The view from my balcony at Robinson college

henry

Henry sat right outside my door; it was like having a dog greet me in the morning.

Lunch and dinner were on our own.  I made one trip into Cambridge and stocked up at a Sainsbury.  The town was crowded.  Lots of open-air markets and shoppers.  I spent the afternoon in my room reading and gazing through the French doors.  I felt the beginnings of a migraine late in the day.  No surprise given the lack of sleep the night before.  Thankfully, my medicine took care of it. 

In the evening, there was a film documentary we could view called "C. S. Lewis: Dreamer of Narnia."  I sat next to Linda, who had been in a serious car accident and learned of the conference through a magazine in the physician's waiting room.  She reminded me so much of my friend Ouida - middle-aged, blonde, bubbly, easy conversationalist, pixie nature.  I gave her some of my decaf teabags.  Given the warm temperatures, I wasn't drinking nearly the amount of tea I thought I would.