Our Maranatha saga continues on only the second day, because I am a rambler. Ok. Good.

So yesterday I introduced everyone, and left off when Jenna was about to arrive. It was still Saturday, August 7th, right before dinner.

We sat, talking, waiting for Jena to arrive. Finally, I decided to go meet Mr. and Mrs. Staley for dinner – after all, Josh wouldn’t want me around when he saw Jena for the first time in months. I had an awkward moment alone at the dining hall, looking around for them, but it was all right once I found the Staleys.

Josh and Jena walked in about fifteen minutes later. Mrs. Staley was amazed at how she, four foot nothing, looked standing next to Josh.

I instantly liked her. She had just come from a kid’s camp she was working at (which we bonded over, sharing horror stories), and had a cute hat, shorts a tie-dye shirt on. The only way to describe her personality is that she was completely and totally comfortable being herself. She laughed a lot, and often, has a quick wit, and is really sweet and deep, as well.

Somehow, we got on the subject of Adventures in Odyssey.

“Have you heard of Jungle Jam?” Jena asked.

“Yes! OH my goodness, that’s my favorite!” I said. “We’re like…soul sisters or something.” I laughed. We gave each other a high five.

“I’m not sure if I like this” Josh said, warily, and his feelings were quickly validated. Soon we were ganging up on him, teasing him mercilessly. It was hilarious.

We walked down to Jena’s car after dinner, so she could put her things in Lebanon and then take a walk on the beach.

“So you’re going to have to watch out for Collin.” Josh said. “He came to me and said, ‘Sooooo….Melinda!’” Josh imitated Collin, who apparently had had one eyebrow raised.

“Oh no…” I murmured as Jena laughed.

As soon as she got in the car to move it, I turned to Josh.

“Do you want me to go? I can bow out gracefully if you want to walk with her alone!”

“NO!” Josh exclaimed. “I don’t want it to be awkward. I mean…” he quickly started to backpedal. “not that we haven’t hung out alone, but you know…just stay,” he concluded.

I tried to read his expression, make sure he was being genuine. “Okay,” I finally said, “If you’re sure.” We walked a few paces and then I spit out, “So did Collin tell you this before he met me, or after?”

“Just this afternoon.” Josh said.

I groaned again. I had been hoping that after he met me he would see I wasn’t his type…but apparently not.

Even though I immediately felt a kinship with Jena, it become abundantly clear that I was the third wheel when we arrived at the beach. Let’s just say there was flirting, and leave it at that. None of it was tasteless to any degree, I just felt the need to keep my distance is all. :)

Once we got back from the beach it was time to go see the fireworks. There were probably thousands of blankets from eager families claiming a spot for the fireworks show. Josh promised us that it would be the best we’d ever seen, and by the crowds of people milling around, I could see that he wasn’t alone in his opinion. We finally came to the chalked-out area on the lake that we’d saved for ourselves and found a 20-something aged couple sitting right in the middle of it.

“Excuse me, sir, we reserved this spot early this afternoon.” Mrs. Staley told the man.

“What do you mean you reserved it?” The guy asked. You could tell he had been “enjoying the festivities” a bit too much previous to sitting down. “It’s a free country — I can sit here with my girlfriend if I like.” He tightened his grip around her.

Mrs. Staley, who had gone through many ordeals to reserve this spot to the satisfaction of a over-zealous security officer, understandably got a little angry, and the man started cussing her out. It was ridiculous. Josh stepped in when the man threatened, “Listen, grandma, I’m not moving my — ” (butt) ” — so just deal with it or your blanket is going in the water!”

Josh tried to reason with him, but finally just gave up, and we settled down right behind them. Jena and I exchanged wide-eyed glances throughout the whole thing, hoping someone didn’t end up in the lake.

After the tension blew over a little, we talked as the sky grew darker and the crowds grew thicker. We stared up at the hill directly in front of us that the fireworks would be shot off of, as it was hosed down.

“Every year you kind of cheer more for the hill to catch on fire than the fireworks,” Josh informed us. I shook my head at him, and Jena laughed.

It definitely wasn’t the first thing on my mind, though, once the fireworks started. First of all, we were amazingly close to them, and the boom of the explosions were of the chest-rattling variety (my favorite!). Also, they were all choreographed to excellent music that was being broadcast from boats on the lake (all from soundtracks!). And then, after a good thirty minutes of beautiful fireworks, the finale was the best, brightest, and loudest that I’ve ever seen! It was just…well, to use a phrase that Josh and Jena say all the time “it was epic-ly legit”.

Mr. and Mrs. Staley didn’t want to fight the crowds on the way back, so Josh, Jena and I sat where the drunk couple had and swung our feet in the lake.

One more little story for today; on our way back to the SUV, there was this amazing grassy hill that instantly made me want to roll down it. As soon as I’d thought that, Jena said “That would be a PERFECT hill to roll down!”

My impulsive nature took over and I said, “LET’S DO IT!” We ran to the top of the hill and threw ourselves down it, giggling like little girls.

Let me ask you….how long has it been since you rolled down a hill? Because you are MISSING OUT. You lose all control and sense of direction in a giddy dizziness, and as silly as it may sound, to me it felt like I was getting a giant, grassy hug. It was unforgettable.

Until tomorrow, friends. :)

…lindy

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