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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cherished Friendships

Today Kathy & I traveled to Winter Park to visit friends that I have known since meeting them in 1962 at USF where we were undergraduates together.  Frank and Patricia Johnson have been good enough to keep tabs on me during the intervening years, visiting off and on, and Friday it was high time to visit them on their home turf where they have lived since 1978.  We had a great visit and lunch.  Afterwards, Frank drove us around Winter Park allowing Kathy to direct us to where she lived as a youth, the home she lived in, where her father had an office, the schools she attended, many of her old haunts.  We also visited a lakeside park, beautiful neighborhoods, Rollins College, and the new development that now sits where once a large naval facility was based.  The new development includes residences, businesses and services—a whole new city within a city developed within the past seven years.  Frank and Patricia showed us where they plan to live in a year or two—Winter Park Towers.

Of course, we have changed much physically over the years, but Frank retains a quality that he has always had—a great enthusiasm for life down to the details.  He cheerfully takes on the task of realistic planning.  While building on the past, he certainly does not live there but has a deep interest in the present and future.  Frank and Patricia demonstrate willingness and courage to take on all that life offers covering all bets with planning and perseverance.  They have two children (David and Carol) and two grandchildren.  Their children make their homes in Texas and Maryland.

I would like to make just one note about Frank’s penchant for responsible planning.  In the 60’s we attended a church youth conference in Lake Junaluska, NC.  Our living quarters were in an older facility that had an old fashion bathtub for bathing.  Frank immediately surmised the situation and, noting the scouring powder nearby, stipulated that each person would be responsible for cleaning the tub after their bath. Today he continues to confront head-on unpleasant facts.  As his imagination could not repress the sight of bathtub scum, today he cannot neatly compartmentalize and dismiss the bloody mauling’s inherent in abortion.  One can't help but admire a mental integrity that does not turn away from significant facts however unpleasant.

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