My sister Liza and I headed to Corpus Christi for the Memorial Day weekend. The primary reason was to retrieve the stuff I had left behind in my dash to Boston. But I also wanted to see friends.
My friends on this road trip can be divided in two broad categories: those who kept me sane in the newspaper business and those who supported me during my spiritual journey.
To and from Texas, Liza and I stopped by Knoxville. Kathryn and Case Mosby allowed us to crash at their place. I had met them a decade ago in Albany, Georgia, when Kathryn and I had worked for The Albany Herald. Kathryn’s witty remarks have always made me smile. I remembered Gus as a tiny white puppy. Now he was a giant white furball, which reminded me of Cody, a Shih Tsu that my family had. The couple showed us around town and brought us to a few restaurants. My burrito was OK, but I would prefer a better job wrapping it so the delicious goodness wouldn’t spill out.
It was nice to drive down familiar streets in Corpus Christi. Some things change like the Shoreline Boulevard shift and the new high school in the Southside. Other things remain the same: the ever deteriorating roads. The drivers in Corpus Christi seemed tamer than I remember. But it must be because I survived 8-9 months of random behavior by Boston drivers.
In Corpus Christi, I hanged out with my journalism buddies in two big gatherings. For the first gathering, I got lost in Brian Grant’s apartment complex in the middle of night. A security guard had to escort me to the right building. Even the guard had to pull out a map to find the building. It was fun to see so many familiar faces (Sara, Bowman, Brian, Diandra, Natalie and Anthony). Hearing how the copy desk was, I was grateful that I had made the move to join the Oblates in August instead of staying at my job for one more year. But I couldn’t stay up as I used to so I headed back to motel early.
My former co-worker Randy hosted the second gathering. His place was deep in the Southside. I had joked that part of town felt like the end of the solar system and the beginning of interstellar space. I didn’t realize that Randy was such good pizza maker. We all enjoyed his pizza delights. Ben, Randy, Daniel and Jim chatted with Liza and me during that Sunday afternoon.
My visit with my spiritual friends began with lunch with the Incarnate Word Sisters on Saturday. Sister Lou Ella Hickman had been my spiritual director during my discernment. Her insights and questions had helped me choose the Oblates. Liza and I chatted with the sisters in their refectory. Sister Lou Ella gave me a box of religious and spiritual books at the end of the meal. She suggested visiting the Pink Sisters (Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters) on Ocean Drive. Their adoration chapel had brought me solace during hectic newspaper days. The sisters were happy to see me and we chatted a few minutes.
At Mass at St. Patrick’s, I met various friends. One of them was Diane McCravy. She became my spiritual mother when we had met four years. Through her, I met others who would become my friends. Liza and I had lunch on Memorial Day with Diane, Father Varghese (parochial vicar at St. Patrick’s), Greg and Christy, and their daughter Sarah.
My stay concluded with Tuesday breakfast with Eric at Price’s Chef. Eric played a key role in my discernment. He had stayed with me and the religious order in Boston during the first blizzard in January.
I thank all my friends who took the time to see, host and chat with Liza and me. I was asked whether I missed Corpus Christi. Yes, I miss my friends. But I do not miss the newspaper job. Thinking about it makes me tired.