We left Steve and Debbie’s in Nashville on Saturday afternoon and headed about an hour south for a reunion 14 years in the making. When Joe and I first met, he was in a band called “Even Isaac.” Some of the members had been playing together since 1996, but they evolved into a Christian rock band by the time I met him. They all lived together, had put out a couple cds, and had even toured around the country for a few years.
In 2004, Joe decided to pursue a career in Maryland, but the rest of the band members moved to Nashville. They went on to find success in music and some different industries and most ended up planting roots there. When we first started planning our RV trip, Joe wondered if we could get all the guys together when we passed through Tennessee. Adam, the drummer, offered to host everyone at his farm in Williamsport.
Well, Eleanor moves slower than Joe is used to driving…especially on hills. Between that and us having to refill some of her fluids, we were running late to the cookout. It was all fun and games until we were finally about 5 minutes away and we had to take Eleanor across a one lane bridge!!! Needless to say, no one talked in the RV for about 10 minutes!
She made it over, within inches, and Joe kissed the ground when we got to the farm. It was SO beautiful there and the pace of life and hospitality was even better. We genuinely relaxed and actually had time to catch up. It was great to hear what was going on in all their lives: families, new jobs, and new houses. We were missing one (the bass player, who now lives in Florida) but they got him on FaceTime later in the evening. There was lots of good food, lots of old stories, and lots of love to go around.
Adam and Heather were gracious enough to let us stay on their property for the night. The rest of the guys headed to their respective homes and we took Eleanor around back to park and hook up. Our plan was to leave pretty early in the morning and drive to Alabama.
However, when the morning came, Adam and Heather made us an offer we couldn’t refuse…
Innisfree Farm is their horse farm where Heather trains horses, and gives private and group riding lessons, among other things. They asked if the boys would be interested in learning how to ride, since they had most of the day free. Uh…yeah!!! After a special pancake breakfast, Aiden and Brady earned their keep by helping with the barn chores and grooming the horses they would ride. Aiden ended up with a pony named Gretel and Brady’s horse was named George. The boys have always loved animals…but horses can be intimidating. I was SO impressed and proud of what good listeners they were and how they picked things up so quickly. The pictures will show you what *they* thought of the experience. 😉
Heather is an amazing teacher! She was so kind and patient with the boys. She tracked with their pace while also challenging them to do a little more. It was just awesome!! We could have stayed a week, but we had to get moving along.
We left the farm and stopped at a nearby Walmart for a few supplies. From there, our plan was to drive to Huntsville, AL and visit the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. That’s what we thought… After checking out at Walmart and eating lunch together in the parked RV, a sudden and scary loud noise started coming from the engine! Joe jumped up and ran outside. The serpentine belt was SHREDDED and antifreeze was pouring out the bottom…soooooo…now we know what that sounds like…
Joe was on the phone for awhile outside, while I tried to stay calm with the boys inside. After about 20 minutes, Joe opened the door, still on the phone, and said “Can you start packing an overnight bag?”
I tried to get my head together and throw some stuff in a bag. It’s a funny experience to look at what you already packed as your “bare essentials” and try to reduce them down to an even lower level of “bare.” After some shock, we finally finished and Adam – BLESS HIS HEART – came and picked us up to take us back to the farm.
Must make two HUGE praises here:
- Thank you, Lord, that this happened while we were PARKED and not while we were driving down the highway.
- Thank you, Lord, that this happened 15 minutes away from friends who were so generous to take us back in for another night!!
You can imagine how deflated and stressed we were when we arrived back at the farm. Heather didn’t even blink. Another big, warm welcome and a room already waiting for us. She made a big ol’ lasagna for dinner and her folks came for a visit. We all sat around the table for more good food and more good stories. They made us feel just like part of the family. And we even had a jam break out! It’s hard to believe that there was *still* plenty of love to go around.
The next morning (because nothing was open on Sunday), beginning at 7:00 am, Joe made phone call after phone call to try and get Eleanor taken care of. And I was saying prayer after prayer…
As many of you know, this is where Joe shines. He’s SO responsible, he’s so great at talking to people, and he is so devoted to his family and keeping us safe. After an hour or so, he had arranged for a tow truck to pick up Eleanor at Walmart and take her to a Ford dealership right down the road from there. Adam offered to let Joe drive their big old diesel truck they use for their horse trailers, so he could meet the tow truck. It was such a stressful situation…but I think driving that big truck helped. 😉 Not any old tow truck can tow a 31’ RV. You need a company that tows big rigs. But Brad, the tow truck driver, was so kind and helpful! Joe called me when they finally made it to the Ford dealership, but then I didn’t hear from him for awhile.
It turns out the dealership was jam packed with repairs for the week. AAAH!!! They had spent quite awhile calling some other local places, who were also jam packed…
The associate finally went to get the manager who came to look things over for himself. After seeing everything and hearing our story, he had mercy on us and offered to squeeze us in.
Thank you, Jesus!!!!!
By now, it was around 11:00. Joe brought the truck back to the farm to pick up the boys and me for lunch. There was lots to do around the dealership, which was great, because we wanted to be close. Thankfully, there was a repair agreement included when we rented the RV, so we were covered there.
The dealership had a beautiful waiting room with air conditioning and wifi, so we used the time to update the blog! Around 3:00, they let us know that Eleanor was finished!!
HUGE SHOUT OUT to Ford | Lincoln in Columbia, Tennessee. Everyone – at every level – was SO kind and helpful!!! I definitely shed a few tears when we walked out and saw Eleanor sitting there in the parking lot.
We were SO relieved…until Aiden said, “How are we going to get Mr. Adam’s truck back to the farm?”
His truck is a stick, which I do not know how to drive. So that left my only option being: drive Eleanor. Uh, Mama doesn’t drive Eleanor.
This was a popular question before we left. “Are you going to help Joe with the driving?” It’s not that I’m not willing to help Joe – at all! It’s that I’m just terrified! But we were out of options. And what was that verse again? The one we quote to the boys all the time? (I need emojis here!!) Oh right: Joshua 1:9. Darn. Now it was my turn to be strong and courageous…
Well, since you’re reading this, you know we all survived. I followed Joe – slowly – and got passed by a lot of people…but Mama don’t care! We made it back to the farm and that’s all that mattered.
It was early evening, and after another long, sweet goodbye to the Silvermans and their horses, we set off for Huntsville. On the way, we booked our very first campsite with Eleanor at the RV park next to the Rocket Center…aptly named “Space Camp.” She pulled in nicely, we hooked up, and had a quick dinner. Joe and I toasted to Eleanor and we all prayed with thankfulness for the MANY ways God took care of us…and for the many beautiful people we met along the way.
| “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” – James 1:2-3 |