Adams Family Adventures in
During the past few months we've been feeling slightly restless, wishing we could afford to drive to Tennessee, where Daniel continues working on his mission pilot flight training.
But with high fuel prices, that was not an option for us. Then
to our delight, thanks to Southwest Airlines' $89 Ding special
fares, and my sister Linda's generosity, we actually got to go!
Accustomed to traveling in our full-size handicap
van, squeezing the trip essentials into 4 large suitcases and 3
Our flight took us from Sacramento, CA to Nashville, TN.
This was our first commercial airline flight since 1990, when we flew to Indianapolis for the General Conference session. Daniel was 5 years old back then; now he's 22!
Along much of the way I recognized a variety of
landmarks, including some dirt roads in the hot dry Arizona hills
we'd explored between Globe and Apache Junction years ago.
That's where the van air conditioner broke down in 100+ degree
temperatures, but I'd had Diana adjust
Upon arriving in Nashvile, our son Daniel and his very special friend Emily Caza met us. With much effort and after totally dismantling my wheelchair, Daniel squeezed everything into the car for our 150 mile drive to Collegedale, near Chattanooga.
David & Marilyn Russell of nearby Apison kindly allowed us to stay in their wheelchair accessible downstairs apartment, which included a bathroom and kitchen. The Honda Accord was loaned to us by David Gates' organization, Gospel Ministries International (GMI). It was a real blessing!
Our trees at home were loaded with persimmons, so Diana carefully layered about 20 pounds of them in our suitcases, along with some pomegranates from our bush.
Surprisingly, most arrived without too many bruises, and we had enough to share with Daniel, Emily and some friends as well.
Daniel had been staying with some friends, but decided to move in with us so he could see us more often. His life is a whirlwind of activity, so he was away much of the time. But he worked us into his schedule and took us places as needed.
He's changed a lot since we saw him last January. More focused, mature, responsible, organized, and still on fire for God, he continues promoting mission service.
He even helped with the cooking and cleanup - when he had time!
Here he's fixing pancakes for our breakfast.
My mom made and sent with us a gluten turkey with stuffing - an Adams family tradition since the 1920's when a group of ladies from Angwin, CA decided to create a vegetarian alternative for holiday turkey. Daniel especially enjoyed it - he hadn't had any for several years.
Emily joined us for meals whenever she could get a break from school.
A sophomore at Southern Adventist University, Emily studies Nursing. She hopes to serve in the mission field, following the example of her sister and hero Shannon Sorensen, who serves in Thailand with her husband Chris through Adventist Frontier Missions.
Emily spent several evenings studying at our apartment. Like Daniel, she's able to multi-task, somehow absorbing her bookwork while joining our conversations, commenting on video clips we were watching and keeping up on anything else going on at the moment.
Emily really enjoys English, and she's an excellent writer. One of her jobs at college includes correcting essays. She also works at the cafeteria.
When her schoolwork was done (or at times when she just felt like procrastinating!), she and Daniel played recorders, we talked, looked at pictures, and just spent time getting to know each other.
Emily is creative, disciplined, intelligent, focused, responsible, thrifty, thinks for herself, is thoughtful of others and loves God. She's also playful, mischievous, has a sense of humor, is high energy and thrives on high-adrenaline adventure activities.
When other missionaries needed to use the GMI car, Emily gladly allowed us to use her 1982 Toyota Corolla. It's smaller and seriously underpowered, but it gets her around. (Besides, she and Daniel, as most of the rest of us, like to drive fast, and with this car, she's less likely to do so!)
By taking my wheelchair apart and putting it in the trunk, we managed to get around OK.
We got exercise on warmer days by hiking along the Greenway, a nice concrete walkway about 2 miles long. It follows the creek near SAU, and folks use it to walk, jog, go rollerblading, ride bikes, and enjoy the beauties of nature.
The Collegedale Airport is home base for GMI's mission pilot training plane, a Cessna 150. Daniel has logged about 180 flying hours so far, and is close to getting his Instrument rating. He can use the plane for the price of gas plus a small fee to cover airplane maintenance. Instructors charge a minimal amount as well.
Daniel got his pilot's license in December of 2005, and neither Diana nor I had flown with him yet. After 2 years, I got my chance at last!
After doing the pre-flight inspection, Daniel and
Diana struggled to lift, maneuver, bend and eventually squeeze me
into the small two-seat cockpit. After a prayer for safety, we
soared up into the skies - what a thrill to fly with my son! I
had a blast as he did a few Dutch rolls, stalls, canyon turns and
the really cool zero-gravity part, where for a few seconds we were
weightless, my legs floated up, and so did other things that weren't
fastened down. What an awesome treat! We flew for about
an hour - not nearly long enough - looking at ridges & lakes,
enjoying the sunset, and doing touch & go landings. Twice he
cut power from 'way up, then glided in to the runway. Daniel
is careful and very good pilot.
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