Friday, February 19, 2010

The Drive Home

My friend Jeana lives way over on the other side of town. It takes a good five minutes to drive from Jeana’s place to mine—maybe seven minutes, depending on traffic. And by traffic I mean pedestrians, because in Newberg we stop for them whether they’re anywhere near a crosswalk or not.

Today as I drove the two and a half miles home, I saw my friend Dave stand from his car and walk to his front door. His back was to me and I didn’t honk. I did grin to myself. The truth is I’ve been spying on Dave for quite some time. No, not stalking. Come on, people, this is how rumors get started! I read Dave’s book ten years ago and have reread it several times since. I’ve known his name and something of his mind (spied through the pages of his book) for a decade or so. Now I know him, his wife, his kids, and I know what time he gets home from work on a Friday afternoon. That’s worth a small smile.

Two blocks or so north of Dave’s house I passed by the George Fox University campus and I stopped my car for a jogger—Denise and Alex’s son! He doesn’t know me, I guess, because I raised my hand to wave, but this son of Alex and Denise just jogged on across the street. Alex, I should mention, is the man who got me my interview at George Fox, and now we work in the same department. Our kids are in class together; Todd teaches one of Alex’s daughters. Just two days ago Alex was walking onto campus as I parked my car, and I remarked what a wonderful thing to be able to walk to work.

“Every day for twenty years,” Alex said cheerfully.

Alex’s son jogged on up the street as I continued my last mile home. A minivan pulled in front of me, then slowed. I looked right, as I always do in this block, for the mint green house with the chocolate brown trim. Sure enough, the minivan pulled up in front of the chocolate-mint house, and as I passed by I saw Holly’s curly head through the driver’s side window. Holly was a freshman at OSU when I was a senior, and she married my roommate Shelly’s little brother about the same time Alex started walking to work.

As for our family, twenty years ago Todd and I were in Damascus. We would have never guessed what a humble sense of belonging and quiet joy waited for us in a small town in northwest Oregon many years (and many locales) into our future. It’s been a long road to get here, but now we’re finally home.


  1. Do you sometimes feel like we live in a Norman Rockwell painting? We love the small-town-can't-go-anywhere-without-seeing-someone-you-know feel of Newberg, too.

  2. Try not to burn out from the maddening pace, there, Lisa. ;o) I'm happy for you. These are neat weavings of histories.