As my family prepared for a weekend trip to the Sooner State that would culminate with the dedication ceremony for the newest addition to our family, many items and incidents brought to mind the history that laid the foundation for the present.


 

When memories and activities converge, it adds to the meaning of an event.

Turning the page at the end of one chapter of life only to reveal many blank pages still waiting to be filled leaves you anxiously waiting to see the story yet to be written.

As my family prepared for a weekend trip to the Sooner State that would culminate with the dedication ceremony for the newest addition to our family, many items and incidents brought to mind the history that laid the foundation for the present.

As a raging winter storm threatened to interrupt our plans to travel south, I looked in the closet for a coat and saw my leather coat that I hadn't worn for years.

That coat took me back to another winter storm that threatened to interrupt plans for two young lovebirds.

About a decade ago, my nephew Ryland was at a Christmas dinner at my mother's house while hoping a storm would leave his plans unchanged. But as snow began to fall, his parents were quick to tell him that his trip to see his girlfriend -- who lived hours away in the northeast corner of the state -- was canceled.

Crestfallen, the young man who always held a special place in my heart kept a smile on his face despite the circumstances that conspired to rob him of a rare opportunity to see his future wife.

This was no ordinary uncle/nephew relationship. He sometimes called me Uncle Kent, but more often I answered to Buddy.

It wasn't a nickname, it was a title -- like doctor or professor.

I was his buddy.

When his mother taught piano lessons, I watched her children after I got out of school. We grew even closer as I coached his baseball team every summer.

It wasn't a normal relationship. So my response wasn't normal when his plans were being short-circuited.

I told him if his girlfriend could find a way to meet us halfway, I would get him there before the snow had a chance to pile up. Her mother agreed to leave a family Christmas dinner, as well, in order to complete the transaction. My future wife and I loaded him in my car and took him to his house to pack. He ran through his room grabbing everything he could to prepare for a few days snowed in away from home.

We got to Stroud, OK a couple of hours later as snow and the temperature continued to fall.
As fate would have it, he had forgotten his coat -- so much for any chance for fun in the snow.
Thinking quickly, I took off my coat and dug through the trunk to find some gloves to help him keep warm.

Needless to say, he had a great week and my position as Buddy was forever etched in stone.

That young couple went on to marry and recently began trying to expand their family. The joy of pregnancy was snuffed out by miscarriage three times.

The pain built each time like an avalanche ripping through their hearts.

Then came Isaac.

He wasn't affected by the same conditions that had hampered those who had come before. On Feb. 3, he sprung forth as evidence of the faith that refused to die.

As we prepared to spend a weekend in Oklahoma before his dedication ceremony, we rushed to beat the weather and saw that same old coat that had been part of this story from the start.

As freezing rain and snow hit the windshield Friday, I thought about that night so many years ago.

As I sat in their church, worshiping with so many friends and family members, that sweet little face seemed to overshadow all of the times in the past when pregnancies ended in sadness.

His name means "laughter" and that laughter erased all of the tears that fallen before.

I hope he continues to bring joy like his father brought me.

He's already off to a good start.

Augusta Gazette