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I’m switching gears to write a totally secular post, one about spending the weekend with Paul and Amanda, my son and daughter-in-law. They live in the bustling metropolis of Atlanta, and this time last week DH and I made the trip to see them.  Shortly after our arrival on Friday, we went to Philips Arena to see the Atlanta Thrashers play the New Jersey Devils.

 Although I’m not into sports as much as the three of them, I must admit that I enjoyed the experience, especially the high energy excitement of the crowd and the sight of the hockey p layers swirling around on the ice. Heck, I even enjoyed walking from the parking garage past the CNN building to the arena. With the crowd surging all around us, we couldn’t help but feel the upbeat anticipation of the competition ahead. Back to the event itself, DH enjoyed watching the scantily clad young women skate around as they swept up the ice shavings and shoveled them into buckets. Did I mention that up until game time a couple of eateries were selling hot dogs, drinks, and popcorn for $1? It’s true. That’s what I call dinner on a shoestring.  Although the arena wasn’t completely filled, the next day’s newspaper reported that there were 17, 067 (as well as I recall) people there.

The next morning, I got up early and went for a walk along Roswell Road. I try to walk every day, and I especially like doing it in different locales. I’m convinced that it’s the best way to become familiar with an area. Plus, it gives me the chance to see new things up close and personal…so much better than from a car window. I’m sitting here at the computer visualizing that busy intersection near Hardee’s and remembering how I had to hustle across the road.  

Later in the morning, Paul served as our tour guide as he drove DH and me around to see various sights. Right away, I again saw the so-called king and queen buildings that Amanda had pointed out the night before; they’re called that because the tops are like the king and queen chess pieces.  I managed to cajole Paul into taking me to Home Goods, my favorite store for all sorts of decorative items from pillows to furniture. I love the one in Myrtle Beach, but the one in Sandy Springs is newer and bigger. And yes, we found a few treasures…all on clearance of course.

Amanda had to work until a little after 1:00, and after she got home, we again jumped in the car and rode to Conyers where Paul had discovered a restaurant he’d been wanting to try, Folks. The food was good, Southern fare, but the service was lousy. Sorry I had to say that, but really….even patient, tolerant me got annoyed.

Appetites satisfied, we headed to Marietta. I was particularly excited about going there because not only Paul and Amanda, but also Carrie and Rich have fallen in love with this community, at least the downtown part of it. Sometimes there’s just something about a place that speaks to your soul, and I wanted to see what was so special about this area that spoke to my children. In October, they all spent an afternoon in the town square participating in a fall festival. Two of my grandchildren, Braden and Brooke, won a dance contest that day, and it was cool to see the stage on which they received their award a few months prior. On Saturday, we browsed several little shops with lots of atmosphere and then strolled through and around the square.

After a couple of hours, we left Marietta and headed back to Sandy Springs. Paul took the long way home so that we could see more of the area. We rode through Roswell itself, and they pointed out a restaurant where they’d recently dined, the Fickle Pickle. I plan to go back there at some point. Who can resist walking into a restaurant with such a catchy name?

After hanging out and chatting a bit at their apartment, we again went out to eat, this time at Mimi’s, a restaurant with a New Orleans atmosphere. I tasted strawberry lemonade for the first time. Ummm. Yes, you’re right. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. After dinner, Paul and Amanda demonstrated how to use the Wii, and we enjoyed watching them. DH and I are probably two of the few American citizens who’ve never played on or with (which preposition?), but we now understand why people are so wild about it.

Sunday dawned, and we all went to church together.  Their ward was having Ward Conference, and I enjoyed hearing what Paul and Amanda’s stake leaders had to say. The choir sang one of my favorite hymns, “Called to Serve.” Anyone who can hear that soul stirring song and be unmoved is…well, beyond reach.

The young couple walked us to the parking lot where we hugged farewell. I always hate parting with my children, but as I read many years ago, “In every good bye, there’s the promise of another hello. “ I’ll see them again soon.

Thank you for a lovely weekend, P and A. A special thanks to Paul for driving, driving, driving us all over creation.

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