With an offer to take the 3rd off instead of the 4th and the ability to work my Half-day Friday from my cell phone and laptop provided the perfect situation to head south to visit Heidkamp South. Usually when we head south we just visit family, but I have been jonesing for a get-together with my old friends. When you move to a new state to start a church it is very hard to get home and often when you do you need to invest that time with your family. Then when your wife works there it gets even hard. But when Kim decided to stay at home with the kids we have been able to get home more often and in general my family down south have made multiple trips up to see us since my diagnosis.
So, since we have some flexibility on this trip I messaged some friends via Facebook to see if any of them would be around and since it was the weekend just before the 4th of July I recieved a resounding, ‘yes’.
This crew is true OG friends.
I will start with Paul. I have known him for a long time, we lived about a block away from each other so setting up a sleepover was a quick call and a short walk. Paul was one of the few of us who knew exactly what he wanted to go to school for, he was and still is crazy smart. He is the kind of friend that you can not see for years and when you get back together its like no time has passed. He even spent a year with me in Minneapolis when I first moved up there.
Paul’s sister Julie should come second. Julie was basically a kid sister growing up, in high school we would often hang out with a large group of friends and Julie was part of the crew. I clearly remember walking into their house while she was cleaning the house blasting N’SYNC, a scene in my life I will never forget. Julie is a person of great character, when she writes a post to her husband or her kids on Facebook there is just so much love and intention in the words she chooses.
If you are hanging out with both Julie and Paul, the likelihood that Emily will be there is near 100%. Emily is the daughter of Joe Hirt who I wrote about a bit ago, and as I said then, while the Hirts and the Ericksons are not related by blood they are basically siblings. Emily is wildly blessed with the gift of hospitality, which she inherited from her mom. I remember in college regularly hanging out at the Hirts, as soon as you entered the door food was in hand and, once legal, beer followed.
When their parents Tom and Penny Erickson and Jamie Hirt respectively, found out that we were getting together it was no question that they weren’t coming. And when I told my parents that, they quickly “rsvp’d.” It will be fun to see the three generations of all the families, as the spouses and kids will be there ready to party.
And the hosts of this joyous event? Rick and Sue Chalupnik. I met Rick and Sue at my 8th Grade Youth Group “Graduation” party. I pushed their then one year old daughter Kali around in her stroller for a hour off-roading in the field just behind the house where the party was held. Rick and Sue were our brand new Youth Pastors. Little did we know how significant of a role they would play in our lives. Their kids Kali and Trevor will be there making us feel old as dust as they are now both in college.
Yesterday I was reading through the Facebook Messenger thread that we were using to plan the event and was just overcome with joy that we are finally all getting together. Finally getting to be in the same room together, finally getting to see our kids meet each other and play, finally to catch up on the goings on of our lives. I wrote a message in that thread saying that I don’t have the words to express how excited I am to see everyone, and right on time Rick responded, “Use Emojis.”