Welcome to a series of stories that basically make up my autobiography. It’s not entirely thorough, but I’ll do the best I can with the memories locked away inside my head. Could be therapeutic for me. Could be humorous for you. Either way, enjoy…
Previously on Life Story… I auditioned for a choir known as Variations during my freshman year at Bluefield College. We were pretty good.
Freshman year came to a close, pretty much without incident.
No, not pretty much. Fully and completely without incident.
I packed up my very few belongings from the Spartan dorm room I shared with graduating senior, Kevin. I wished him luck, loaded up my car, and I was out of there. Good-bye Bluefield! See you next fall!
The summer of 1999 saw me back in my hometown of Roanoke. I was older, wiser, and more experienced thanks to my year as a worldly college student.
Please, keep in mind, I attended a tiny Baptist affiliated college in southwestern Virginia and I barely left my dorm room. I was still as introverted and sheltered as I’d been before I went to school.
But I did have a couple of jobs while I was at home. I continued working part-time for my aunt and uncle’s company. I helped manufacture small framed gift items. I’m pretty sure the extent of my responsibilities was to glue labels onto the backs of pictures.
My second job was as an intern with the youth minister at my parents’ church. This mostly meant that I played ping-pong and foosball in the youth room with the youth minister. I also made copies of curriculum for the kids for Sunday morning. I may have had to teach the middle schoolers, too. That was an experience.
I’ll come back to that internship in another chapter.
For now, I want to share about an adventure in which my worlds collided… even though I didn’t realize my worlds were colliding at the time.
Remember the friends that I went to the beach with after graduating from high school? I had one more wacky adventure with them before I mostly said good-bye to my pre-college life.
We were looking for something to do one weekend and one of the guys suggested we all go camping. His claim was that his grandparents had a small cabin that they had rented near Roaring Run in Botetourt County.
Sidebar: Roaring Run is kind of awesome. I used to love going hiking there as a kid. Because it’s not a difficult hike at all. And when you get to the top, there’s a gorgeous waterfall. On the way back down, in the river, there are natural waterslides. Now… the water is frigid, so only the bravest of warriors choose to get in the water.
Anyway, the plan was to find this supposedly rented cabin, spend the night, then hike Roaring Run the next morning.
We drove out to this property and found the way barred by a locked gate. We were undeterred. Some may call it breaking and entering. In fact, many would call it that. Because that is the legal term. We didn’t break the lock on the gate, but we were able to bend a couple of nails that held the lock in place.
In my client’s defense, I didn’t actually witness any nails being bent or locks being broken. All I know for sure is that one of the other guys worked some kind of mojo and we were free to drive our cars into a wooded area.
We came across the “cabin” which I’d be more comfortable referring to as a “shack” in a small clearing. Did we have a key for this place? Nope. But that’s okay, we had pretty much planned to sleep outside, anyway.
It was a fun little camping trip, as spontaneous camping trips go. And Roaring Run was the adventure that it usually is.
Flash forward a few years. I’m friends with a guy named Mark. You’ll find out more about him later, once he enters the scene at Bluefield College. As it turns out, the property that my friend’s grandparents had supposedly rented was actually owned by Mark’s family. So I broke onto the property of one of my future best friends before we’d even met.
Small world, huh?