Time is best when it is shared

Have you even noticed that when you see an enormous moon on the horizon that it just isn’t enough to look at it?  You have to make sure that at least one other person has looked at it with you.  It is almost as if the moon itself isn’t beautiful until the experience of seeing it is shared.  

Derek and I have been traveling with our exchange students (Lotta from Finland and Michi from Sardinia Italy) in our attempt to share as much of America with them that we can.  In April we were able to take both of them, along with our friends Patricia and Ron, to Washington DC.  Patricia went to Law School in the DC area and she was so happy to be our tour guide through the city.  We went to the Ford Theater, toured the Library of Congress, the Capitol building and the monuments around the mall.  

Patricia was even able to arrange for us to get a tour of the White House.  Unfortunately a man in a wheelchair on Pennsylvania Avenue set himself on fire as we were entering the house.  This triggered another man with a machine gun to ask us to leave.  We decided to comply to the request of the man with the machine gun because it just isn’t smart to argue with a man with a machine gun.  We were all pretty disappointed but Patricia came to the rescue by making some phone calls and getting us tickets to the White House Garden Party that was happening that Sunday.  Now that was lovely!  DC itself is really beautiful in the spring.  The cherry trees are amazing along with everything else that was blooming at the same time.  I had flown through DC years ago but I had never seen it through Derek’s eyes or the eyes of the students. They saw things that I would have never noticed or paid attention to and my experience of the city was really unforgettable because of the wonderful people I shared it with. 

A few years ago I was able to help a couple sell their home in the Sanford area so that they could build a new home near Ashville.  The entire transaction happened over the phone since they were already out of state when the sale happened.  We had kept in touch over the years and once they got the new home completed they asked if I would bring Derek and Lotta up to meet them and stay at the new house.  We worked out the details and after a quick flight we managed to find each other at the Ashville airport because we didn’t know what each other looked like.  

The house they had built is absolutely amazing.  It sits on the side of a hill overlooking a lake surrounded by trees.  The views are beautiful and my favorite area of the house was a screened room overlooking the water.  There are chairs in the room that you could tell were their favorite chairs to sit in and enjoy a morning cappuccino.  They insisted that we sit in their favorite chairs.  You could tell that they truly wanted to see what they had built through our eyes.  That this beautiful setting wasn’t complete until it has been shared with others.   I am so honored that we got to spend that weekend with them because what the two of them have created on that hillside is amazing and I hope that we will be able to share a long friendship.

By the time this letter gets mailed out Lotta will be back home in Finland and Michi will be doing his last Rotary trip before heading back to Sardinia.  I can’t describe how much my heart aches just writing this but I hope they know how much I have enjoyed seeing how beautiful our little corner or the world is through their eyes. 

Mark Ramey