Published in the Rains County Leader on April 30, 2019:
“All roads lead to Rome” is a proverb of unknown origin that has come to mean that everything you do and everywhere you go will eventually lead you to the center of things. In the days of the Roman Empire, this was true because all the empire’s roads radiated out from the capital city.
In present day consumer-driven American society where trends come and go at the speed of teenage whimsy, it’s almost impossible to determine where the center of things lies from moment to moment. However, I believe I have verifiable evidence that, at least during this past week, this small town was that center and that, indeed, all roads did lead to Emory.
Earlier this month, David and I drove to Conway, Arkansas to visit with my brother and sister-in-law. Originally, we had planned to take the RV for two reasons. First, we had found a mechanic in Conway who agreed to repair the generator in our twenty-year-old motor home instead of replacing it – which would mean a difference of several thousand dollars. Second, friends from Florida were on a northern RV trek of their own. Their route would take them through Arkansas around the time we would be there, and we hoped to join them as they passed through.
I believe it says somewhere in the Bible that if you want to make God laugh, make plans. That’s a very loose paraphrase, but you get the idea. Anyway, as we prepared for the trip, we realized that the motor home was, not for the first time, stuck in our muddy yard due to the plentiful spring rains. After several setbacks that I won’t go into, we managed to get the six-wheeled beast onto solid ground, and preparations resumed. The next morning, once everything was loaded and ready for departure, David fired up the engine so the air bags could inflate.
In case you’re unfamiliar with air suspension, air bags are often used in place of steel springs on large vehicles like trucks and buses. The vehicle is allowed to idle for a few minutes while the compressor does its work. You can actually see the vehicle rise several inches when this happens. And when it doesn’t happen, you ain’t goin’ nowhere! That particular morning, three of the four bags behaved properly, but the fourth one simply let out a loud hiss to let us know that all the air was coming out as fast as it was going in. I wasn’t happy when it became obvious that everything that had been put in the motor home now had to be removed. Still, when things were going so badly the previous day, I had prayed that we would know if it was a bad idea to take the RV. This seemed like a pretty good indication, so I did what I had to do. We left about two hours later than planned, and in the KIA instead of the Eagle, but we had a good time.
We cancelled plans to meet our RV friends and kept up with their progress via Facebook. They stopped in Little Rock and then headed for Texas. They had so much fun in Waco that they never made it to San Antonio. They had obligations back in Florida, so they spent the Easter weekend at Lake Dallas in Lewisville and plotted their course for home. They discovered that their preferred route was on Highway 69 which would take them – you guessed it – through Emory. Monday around noon, we met them for lunch. We had a great visit before they continued on their way.
Not enough to convince you that all roads lead to Emory. Wait! There’s more.
Mary is a long-time friend from BD – before David. We sat next to each other in the alto section of the church choir, we had a standing Friday-night date unless one of us had a better offer, and we had more in common than she and her twin sister. Time and distance have separated us in a lot of ways, but we still keep in touch by email and Facebook – and we always talk on our birthdays. On my big day in mid-April, she called, and we spent about thirty minutes catching up. Her most interesting news was that her sister has moved from Austin to Shreveport. Mary lives in McKinney, and when she goes for a visit, the best way to go is – yep – Highway 69 through Emory. Her next visit turned out to be Wednesday. Once again, David and I met a dear friend for lunch and a great visit – and I’m not done yet!
Our neighbor Connie has a long-time friend – also named David – who uses her spare bedroom for a base between travels. It might be a stretch to say that Highway 69 or Highway 19 are always on his travel routes, but in the year or so that we’ve known him, he has traveled the U.S. from coast to coast and from north to south, he spent a couple of months in India, and he always ends up back here. Most recently, he spent a couple of months out west in Arizona and New Mexico among other places. Sunday when we got home from church, we saw his car in front of Connie’s house.
When we moved here in February of 2011, one of the most common questions we were asked was “What on earth brought you from Florida to Emory?” I usually explain that it’s a long story, but that it seemed to be God’s plan for us at the time. Perhaps the truth of it is that all roads really do lead to Emory.
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