Life turns on a dime. I’m glad my siblings and our spouses made the effort to get together in Raleigh last weekend. On Wednesday my brother David had a heart attack and spent some time in the ICU near his home in Virginia. He’s home now…with a stint in his heart and doctor’s orders to watch his diet and take his meds.

This time last Friday we were finishing a yummy meal at the Texas Roadhouse. Before dinner, my nephew John, a student at Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, had given us a tour of the campus. We went into a chapel for a few minutes and watched as some young people set up for a concert that weekend. As we stood around discussing the best way to get to the Roadhouse, Becky said she’d love to walk downtown in the historic district. Everyone except for yours truly vetoed the idea; they were hungry and ready to chow down on some pre-dinner peanuts. We came up with a win/win for everybody in that she and I walked down this awesomely beautiful street of older homes, all of which were decorated for Halloween.

The gang picked up Becky and me, and we headed to the Roadhouse. The food was tasty, the atmosphere was convivial, and the conversation was lively. I was especially tuned in to Lisa’s trip plans. She and my brother Mike will be in the Holy Land this time next month, and I was eager to learn all about their itinerary and to put in my request for a special souvenir. Just kidding about the souvenir…sort of. As we neared the end of our meal, the server brought everyone a tiny piece of anniversary cake to commemorate the third year of their opening. Sweet.

David, the youngest of the four Padgett offspring, earned the name of “fantast” from me because of his creative planning of our agenda. Plus, I’d just learned the word last week and wanted to use it. After breakfast Saturday, we headed (per David’s instructions) to the biggest and best farmer’s market I’ve ever seen. Mums, oranges, pumpkins, apples galore, sweet potatoes, and peanuts are but a few of the items for sale. We walked through the buildings in awe of the beautiful display of Mother Nature’s bounty, and before leaving nearly two hours later, all of us had filled our back seats and trunks with flowers and food.

A high moment was hearing Becky call out, “John David!” in a desperate voice, and when we looked around, there she was tottering along as best she could with two giant yellow mums. Now’s the time to mention that Becky is a petite person, and the mums were so huge that she could hardly carry them and see where she was going. Her son saved the day and helped her carry the flowers the rest of the way to the car.

The caravan continued to downtown Raleigh, and we enjoyed tromping around and taking in new sights, including the capitol, a gigantic acorn in the park, and some cool looking restaurants. The Big Easy won our unanimous vote for lunch, and everything about the experience was fun…including the music, the décor, the food, and our server who was wearing orange contacts in observance of Halloween. The icing on the cake was being joined by Madison, my nephew Matthew’s daughter and my parents’ first great grandchild. They would have loved this beautiful, smart, sweet child.

Getting together took planning, time, and effort, but I’m sure glad we did it. Our parents died in October, one in 1998 and the other in 2002, and we felt it was important to spend some family time to honor their lives and contributions. In church Sunday, I heard someone say that T-I-M-E spells love. Take the time.

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