The next leg of our journey began Tuesday morning (4 August) at 0840 hours (EST) en route to Illinois. We were somewhat overwhelmed at the thunderstorms that we encountered north of Brazil, IN. I found out just how well the sway bars on our camper hitch work! Nonetheless, we safely arrived in Catlin, IL at approximately 1210 hours (CST).
(The picture above is Lori's maternal side of the family, also referred to as the Campbell Clan. The below picture is the paternal side of the family otherwise known as the LaBaw side.)
Tuesday night was when the real overwhelming event took place. Lori's mom and sister-in-law (and probably others that I'm not aware of!) had organized a "get-together" at Southside Nazarene Church. At our best guess we expected 30-40 friends and family members that would come to visit and wish us well on our journey. What transpired far exceeded our best guess as over 80 friends and family members converged on the fellowship hall to wish us well on our journey. Time nearly stood still for over three hours as Lori and I attempted to greet as many friends and family members as we could. For those of you familiar with Lori's side of the family, the event was reminiscent of our annual family reunion normally held over Labor Day weekend, only condensed by time. The true sense of feeling overwhelmed was in realizing the love that exists in our family and in the realization of that love being expressed to us. I must confess that I initially expressed to Lori some discomfort at the attention being drawn to us as part of me simply wanted to visit quietly and just as quietly be on our way. In retrospect I feel somewhat selfish at the thought of having missed the opportunity to be with family and friends in what was not a "quiet" event.
I'm still reveling in the thought that we are blessed to be part of such a wonderful group of people. Had we simply left "quietly" we would have missed an incredible blessing of seeing so many wonderful friends and family members as well as reciprocating the love that exists between all of us. Thank you again to Lori's Mom and Vicki (and whomever else) for having the vision to see beyond us "quietly" leaving. And thanks to all those of you that came and shared your love with our family. Believe me when I say that it was our privilege to share our love with you. For the rest of you, thanks for letting me reminisce affectionately. The journey Northward begins tomorrow...early...Starbucks awaits.
Blessings to All,
Brad, Lori, and the Clan