“Every teenager needs an adult friend.” That was a theme of Young Life, an organization that made a huge difference in my young adolescent life. Most kids get a pair of parents. Fortunately, both of mine were great. For good or ill, parents are the primary models for a young person’s life. Other adults come and go—teachers, coaches, youth ministers, even aunts and uncles. Few rise to the level of being close enough to teenagers to be major influences in their lives. One of the reasons gangs emerge is to fill the gap when there are no good adults stepping up to befriend teens during those turbulent years. I look back on my teenage years and am grateful for Jerry and Jane Howington and Uncle Tom and Aunt Mildred Hipps, four important adult friends and models for me.
During July, my oldest daughter Jenna and I drove her son Lake, my grandson, to Framingham (near Boston), Massachusetts, so he could spend a few days with his Aunt Julie and Uncle Tom, both of whom he adores. Sally did not go with us because, when Julie and Tom settled in Massachusetts, we decided to split our trips up so we would have more “touches” with them than if we always traveled there together. That’s worked out nicely. Also, on this trip, Jenna’s husband Thorne decided to fly up and spend a few days with us on the Boston portion of our adventure along the Northeast corridor.
Cooking and hanging out are generally the primary agenda when with Julie and Tom. On the trip up, Lake’s discovered the U.S. men’s soccer team was to play Haiti at Gillette Stadium (where the Patriots play) in Foxboro. Turned out to be a double header so we also saw Panama and Honduras, too. We ate a fine meal at the huge shopping mall attached to the stadium.
The next day, Lake and Julie made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. For dinner, Tom taught Lake how to shuck corn and Lake did it willingly. We went to the grocery store. How’s that for entertainment?
Board games are a big deal when Lake is with his aunt and uncle: Ticket to Ride and Apples to Apples.
Lake likes their cats: Athena and Magneto. Lake drives them nuts with the red laser pointer which the animals are glad to chase endlessly.
The car trip (I always rent a car for long distances) from Columbia, SC to Framingham, MA takes 17 hours, driving through nine states (SC, NC, VA, MD, PA, WV, NY, CT, and MA) and the Shenandoah Valley. I think it was nine states and I’m sure it was the Shenandoah Valley. And I’m sure it was 17 hours. One way. Jenna and I split the driving.
Next Leg: New York City