Monday, February 22, 2010

On Monday, February 22, (Washington's Birthday), prior to taking them to the Lynchburg airport for their flight home, we drove west to Thaxton and had a short visit with Sister Rosemary Overstreet at her home. Sister Overstreet usually rides to church each Sunday with Sister Evelyn Deel, but Sister Deel had to be to an early meeting with the Branch Council and Sister Overstreet was unable to attend. We wanted her to meet our daughters before they left to return to Arizona. She stood at the door of her tiny home and received a hug from each one as they introduced themselves to her. It was another memorable moment!

Elmer and Sue Hodge of the Branch, made themselves available to assist with transportation to the airport at 12:45 pm, Monday. We should have taken a picture of them with the girls but all the goodbyes and hugs and tears at the curb side at the terminal sort of overwhelmed. We made sure their flight was still on schedule and them it was over. They had come and then like a dream they were gone! How it touched our hearts and made our spirits soar to have our daughters and Brookelyn and Ross with us for those few days!

It is a memory we will always tresure.

We couldn't help ourselves, but had to have a picture of these two young love birds, Ross and Brookelyn as they slept in each others arms while seated with us in the family room of our home in Bedford while we were all talking and laughing and making a general racket. It didn't seem to bother them in the least.

They had flown into Baltimore, MD and driven a rental car all the way down from Baltimore to be with us for this memorable weekend. When Ross wasn't catching up on sleep he was strumming a guitar and singing one pleasant song after another. He has a very fine singing voice. We all like him a lot and we are very happy for the both of them. They will be married in the Snowflake Arizona Temple next month. We can't be there because of our missionary assignment, so we are particularly pleased and complimented that they would come all this way to be with us.

Ross joined me and Elder's Cowley and Liddiard, and Danny Laprade, in singing "Love at Home" during the baptismal service.

On Sunday, February 21, it was our great pleasure to participate in the baptismal service held for Kathryn Laprade. Her husband Danny performed the baptism. They both were beaming with happiness!

This picture was taken in the east foyer of the Bedford Branch chapel, following the baptismal service.

Kathryn was honored by the presence of many members of the branch and by several members of her family, including 3 sisters, a daughter and a neice and 4 grandchildren.

It added to our joy to have five of our daughters present, along with a granddaughter, Brookelyn, and her fiancee, Ross. The girls and their mother and Brookelyn sang a favorite Children's hymn at one point in the service. It was very, very special!

On the day of their arrival, despite the long flight and the need for rest, after a late lunch at Liberty Station in Bedford they happily accompanied us down to visit our dear friend Merle Dutton at his home in Goodview, some 25 miles away on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake.

Merle had just lost his wife, Marianna. She died in the hospital in Roanoke from the effects of a massive stroke just the week before. He seemed very pleased and touched to have this visit and to get hugs and good wishes from each of our daughters. It was a very special visit in his home. Before we left to return to Bedford he gave us a loaf of home made Italian bread he had just baked that day! We have rarely gone to his home when he didn't press upon us something from his kitchen. He is such a fine man.

Linda took this picture of us gathered about Merle in the living room of his home, just before we said our goodbyes.
The girls had been on a long flight and we decided to take them for a bite to eat before taking them to our home. This was our first time to eat at the famous Liberty Station Restaurant in Bedford since the fire and restoration.

The girls seemed to really enjoy it!

We had the temporary use of a second vehicle to get them from the airport to home. Our Branch President, Harvey Scott, was on a business trip to England and offered the use of his vehicle which he had left at the airport parking lot. It was so kind and thoughtful of him to offer the use of his vehicle. It saved the day for us1 Renting a big van would have been so expensive.

This picture was taken inside the restaurant while everyone was still deciding on what to order. They each said later that it was the perfect place!

On Thursday, February 18, five of our daughters flew into Lynchburg, Virginia's regional airport for a 4-day visit. To their complete surprise our Mission President, Michael Thornock, was there to greet them on their arrival.
This picture was taken in the airport terminal with President Thornock and one of the West Virginia Charleston Mission's greatest missionaries
From left to right, they are Sister Linda Chapman, and daughters Amy Funk, Kelly Bevell, Ann Williams Rebecca Ricedorff, and Melissa Lesueur, with President Thornock on the far right.