Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Roadtrip for Freddy

This is Freddy. The very first time I ever remember talking to Freddy was freshman year, with my roomie Lynnette, in the cafeteria. We were talking about a chant that a guy's club had done the previous night. We were being so girly talking about how much we loved watching them parade through campus stomping around, and Freddy must have thought that letting us know that he was one of "them" would be good for conversation! It was, we talked for the rest of that meal, and Freddy was a part of my college experience from that day forward.

I cannot tell you how many times we would go in groups out to eat, or to the movies, or concerts on campus. Going on club events, and doing Spring Sing--so many of my college memories have Freddy in them. Even just hanging out at his apartment watching movies and eating grilled chicken was a fun way to spend the evening. Freddy was such a fun friend. He always had a smile on his face, and he was always a good friend. Everyone knew that.

Another special thing about Freddy--before Jon and I were even friends, we were both independently friends with Freddy. He didn't become Jon's or my "default" friend just because we started dating each other and all of a sudden we were always together--no, Freddy was legitimately both of our friends before there was even an "us".

After graduation, Freddy went on to Virginia/DC, and Jon and I did our thing...except for email and Facebook, we didn't keep in touch as much as we should have, and I hate that. Freddy did send us a gift, though, when he found out that we had had Lawson...little light-up Wee-boks! I'm telling you, he was such a thoughtful, generous guy!

Jon and I were both so sad to hear that on July 7th Freddy had been taken to the hospital and had emergency open-heart surgery after collapsing. We joined with our friends in praying that Freddy's big heart would be strong enough to recover. The next few days were touch and go, but on July 15th Freddy's physical body just couldn't take anymore.

Jon and I went back and forth that weekend trying to decide if it would be possible at all for us to get up to Maryland to attend Freddy's memorial service that Tuesday, and we finally decided that we really couldn't miss it.

Our amazing friends Jason and Sunny agreed to keep the kids for 2 days, and Jon and I rented a car Monday, July 21 for our whirlwind roadtrip for Freddy. I dropped the kids off with Sunny about 11:30 and Jon and I were on the road by 12:30. We drove all day and we really enjoyed that time together! We listened to old CDs that reminded us of our college and dating years. We played silly games. We updated our Facebook statuses and enjoyed a lot of fun conversation with our friends. Really fun times. We arrived at our hotel in Hagerstown, MD at 11:45 Monday night.

For all of the light-hearted fun we had Monday, Tuesday morning brought a whole different mood. The idea that we were there to say farewell to one of our friends was really starting to set in, and we both prepared ourselves emotionally for the day we were facing. We were glad, though, that several of our friends were able to make the trip too, and we were looking forward to catching up after too much time apart. This was my Facebook Status that morning:

Today is going to be a day that is full of both tears and laughter. Saying goodbye to a friend is never an easy thing to do...but reuniting with friends after too many years apart is sure to lighten the mood. I am sure God meant for those two things to go hand-in-hand.

It really was a beautiful service and a tribute to the man Freddy was. He was a believer. He was a son and a brother and an uncle. He was a friend. He was a hard worker. He was generous and kind. He was compassionate. I was so glad to have that time to hear what so many who knew him better than I did had to say about him. I was thankful to meet his mother and his sister and brother. We met one of his friends that we had heard about since we had known Freddy--and were amazed that even after his passing he was bringing people together.

After the memorial service, we all decided to drive the hour and a half to DC and walk around the capital for a few hours before Jon and I had to leave. I am SO glad we were able to do this--It was Jon's first trip there anyways, and I'm glad we were there together, along with our friends. We walked FOREVER and EVER and it was SUPER hot, but I wouldn't have traded it for anything. SO many memories were made that day!

Here are some of my favorite pictures from that trip. The whole album is on my Facebook, so if you are my friend and want to check them all out, feel free!

All of the Harding folk who came, plus Jasmine, one of Freddy's closest friends
Our group sitting in some little booth things we found
Jon and the Washington Monument
This picture cracks me up...I was actually at the WW2 monument and the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool were eye-level for us. I tried to snap a picture, but a lady on the sidewalk 20 feet in front of me walked by. If I would caption this, it would be "Lincoln Memorial and surrounding tourists stomped by 200-foot-tall woman!!" Maybe I should send it into the Enquirer...what do you think? :)
Me and my hubby in front of Link
Jon and the Washington Monument
Love this view of the Memorial
Grabbing dinner before Jon and I hit the road to go home
This picture cracks me up because it looks so doctored! This is our friend Armand, who is almost 7 feet tall, using 5'1" me as a arm rest! So funny!
After dinner, Jon and I hit the road at about 9pm, headed back for Hville. The plan was for Jon to drive until 1am, then I would take over driving the rest of the way so Jon could sleep, because he had to work Wednesday morning. After the fun day we had, I had the hardest time falling asleep and was so worried that I wouldn't be able to drive my whole shift! Jon ended up driving til about 2 or 2:30, then I took over. About 5am, I was in pure misery (since I had been awake since 630 to get ready for the service that morning) so I pulled over and took a nap in a Cracker Barrel parking lot. I slept for an hour and 45 minutes, then woke up and drove on home.

It was quick. It was fun. It was tough. It was sad. It was a reunion. It was tiring. It was amazing.

I am thankful we were blessed with this trip. And I am thankful we were blessed by knowing Freddy.

No comments: