Old Friend, New Year

January 2, 2006

Going to Germany and leaving everyone and everything we knew behind was not easy but God gave us some very special blessings there, some “silver linings” as we like to call them, and one of those was our good friend, Jon. Michael met Jon a few months before the kids and I joined him in Bamberg and by the time I got there, they had spent many hours together working, eating, debating the finer points of theology, and traveling around Germany by train on the weekends. When we arrived in Germany and went to our new apartment for the first time we found a note written on a page in a spiral notebook laying on the coffee table addressed to me and Alley and Liam from Jon, welcoming us to Germany. It was a few days before we met him in person but since then he has been like family.

He spent most weekends at our house. He spent holidays with us and he spent almost a month with us when he was recovering from surgery on his foot. We took various train trips with him as well as a very quick road trip to Paris! He was always learning a language and trying, with limited success, to teach it to the kids. (This especially came in handy when trying to order from German menus!) He was always there to help carry Christmas decorations up to our third floor apartment from the storage room in the basement and to keep our dog when we traveled without him. He watched our kids so we could go out for our anniversary both years we were there. He even had his own account on our Windows XP. In short, he was a member of the family.

Michael last saw Jon in Germany in February of 2004 right before he left for Iraq. (Jon’s injured foot kept him out of Iraq.) Liam and I saw Jon in March of 2004 when I went back to Germany to tie up loose ends before spending the rest of the year in the USA. Jon left the Army and Germany in the fall of 2004. Since Michael returned home earlier this year, Jon has been trying to get out here for a visit but due to many conflicts in all of our schedules, it didn’t work out until last week. Jon arrived here on Wednesday, December 28 after spending Christmas in Georgia. From the minute he walked in the door, it was like old times. The kids warmed up to him within a few minutes, even Dresden,who he had not yet met. (The only exception was Piper, our dog. He worked very diligently to win her over with treats of all kinds but made little progress…maybe next time:) We had a different dog when we lived in Germany and she and Jon were fast friends but she has since passed away.)

We had many good conversations and lots of laughter, as well as some reminiscing of our Army/Germany days. Michael gave him a tour of Bristol/Abingdon and we spent New Year’s Eve at my parent’s house playing games and eating lots of good food with them and one of my sisters and her husband and baby boy. Shortly after the ball was dropped in Times Square, we headed home to try to get some sleep before church Sunday morning. Jon went with us to church and then headed out of town right after. He is now back home in warm and sunny Waco, Texas. It was a wonderful visit and we hope to repeat it more than once in 2006!

Happy New Year!


3 Responses to “Old Friend, New Year”

  1. Mom said

    It was great to finally meet Jon! He fit right in! He truly was a silver lining of your time in Germany. God is so attentive to us in those times of hardship, and He always give us gifts (silver linings) in the midst of the storm. It was great to get to know Jon, finally! Happy New Year to all! Love, Mom

  2. Jennifer said

    I know you had a wonderful time with Jon. I bet it was almost like you guys never left for different lives. Jon always knew how to put a smile on anyones face. Happy New Year!

  3. jana said

    Tara, I WISH we could have met him, after hearing so much about him—maybe some other time.

    And by the way, I WANT you guys to come SOON to visit, and we’ll go to IKEA—just let me know when you want to come!!!

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