Once at home, I did some laundry and repacked before we pulled out of the driveway and drove to North Bend State Park in West Virginia.
The beauty of the red dogwood leaves and the quaint lantern welcomed us to the lodge. The peaceful atmosphere prepared us for time with friends who would arrive from Ohio on Saturday afternoon.
Our friendship with John and Jackie dates back to the late 70s. We all attended Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church then, and invested time together in a small group Bible study that met consistently for over three years. Four couples committed to keep these studies a very high priority in their schedules.
We met on Tuesday nights and rotated homes. When you hosted, your husband led the study and you made the main dish for dinner. The other three
couples supplied a salad, a veggie and a dessert. After eating like royalty, we put any children to bed before the adults settled in to study I and II Samuel, James. I and II Thessalonians.
After the study, we prayed for each other and then departed. For years, if I turned the radio station to a Christian station reading Scripture, I could instantly recognize a passage from I or II Samuel without hearing the reference!
Fast forward to 2010 and our paths again began to cross again. The Drakes had moved from Maryland to New York to Ohio.
From the Annapolis area, we had migrated west to Garrett County, Maryland in 2008.
Jackie discovered North Bend State Park in Parkersburg, WV and Blannerhassett Mansion, a short steamboat ride across the Ohio River.
She and John proposed that we meet there for a weekend that included a visit to the mansion, open only one weekend a year.
We spent much of our time on the porch, catching up on all the Lord was teaching us right now, listening like we did over thirty years ago.
But on Saturday night we boarded the steamboat and enjoyed the hot cider, dancing, storytelling and full meal.
Local actors and actresses dressed in period costumes. They then proceeded to tell us everything from the history of the couple who owned the mansion to the ghost stories of the property.
The fresh apple butter and warm bread made a great appetizer for the meal that followed.
We ended our Saturday evening with a hayride over the large estate the Blennerhassett family owned.
We reboarded the steamboat and headed back to North Bend to enjoy a leisurely Sunday together before saying goodbye on Columbus Day Monday.
Job 16:20-21 says, “My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” These words speak to the deep-rooted friendship we have experienced.
I pray that our children (collectively, the Drakes and Wolfes have five sons and one daughter) will, at some point in their lives, have the kind of friendship God blessed us with over thirty years ago.