Ted and I, Lydia, Serena, and Emily (Nana) traveled to Chattanooga on Thursday, May 3 to spend some time with Sarah and attend her graduation from Covenant College. The trip down was overcast and drizzly, but the weather cleared some- what by the time we got there. Sarah had choral rehearsals in the afternoon and evening, so the rest of us went to the Tennessee Aquarium. There was definitely more than we could see in 2 hours (2 buildings worth), but we skimmed through it all. Our favorites were the seahorses, the snowy egret that posed for a picture 3 feet away, the butterfly garden, the octopus, and the tank of penguins. Here’s the egret.
Sarah met us for supper between rehearsals. We went to Food Works, which was a very nice restaurant with somewhat unusual selections. We also saw Sarah later Thursday night, when she came by our cottage with her boyfriend, Dani.
Friday, after breakfasting at Sarah’s apartment while trying not to wake up her sleeping roommates, we drove half-way down Lookout Mountain to a park trail that leads to a waterfall. The girls had been there before, and wanted us all to see it. Sarah said the trail was only 1/4 mile long. We were concerned about whether or not Emily would be able to make it. As it turned out, it was more like 1/2 mile, or felt like it, with lots of rocks to negotiate near the falls. Emily did manage to make it with several rests, and lots of assistance over the rough parts. To complicate matters, she was recovering from cataract surgery in one eye. Check out her cool shades in one of the following pictures.
Above: Serena is wading in the pool the waterfall falls into.
After lunch back at Sarah’s apartment, we left Ted (who was going to work for the afternoon), added Dani, and drove back down the mountain to ride the Incline Railway. It’s billed as the steepest railway in the world — powered by large steel cables and a hoist. The view was wonderful from the top, and the forecast rain held off during our trip. This is what it looks like from the observation deck at the top station, looking back down the track and over some of Chattanooga.
Our supper Friday night was leftovers from Food Works on Thurs., warmed up in the microwave in the motel lobby! Since the “motel” was the Covenant College guest cottages, the lobby is actually in a separate building, right beside the pool. We had it all to ourselves. A quick change, and we were off down the mountain again to attend the graduation concert for which Sarah had been rehearsing. The first half was choral, presented by the Chorale and the Chamber singers (Sarah was in the chamber group). Her group sang Handel’s Dixit Dominus , and another sacred piece with the combined choir. The second half featured the chamber orchestra, with the highlight being Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto #2 — very well done.
Two items of note about the choral concert. One was that, after watching all of Sarah’s group file in, neither Serena, Lydia, nor Emily could find Sarah in the group! Emily leaned over and said to me, “Where is Sarah? We can’t find her!” I had seen her right away, and pointed her out with the explanation that she had straightened her hair since we were with her in the afternoon! The others weren’t expecting that. Neither was I, but I recognized her, nevertheless. You’ll see what I mean when you see her graduation picture in a minute.
The other thing about the concert was unexpected — the piercing memories of Andrew singing in a similar situation. I could almost see him up there, or rather, feel the loss because he was NOT up there. We were used to seeing him when we went to a choral concert. I know that Ted and Lydia and I felt the strange- ness, at least.
Out of almost 300 graduates, Sarah was one of 29 who graduated magna cum laude. (There were 14 summas). We were magna cum proude! Every graduate was named and walked across stage, so it took awhile. At one point, I looked down the row of my family, and 4 people were reading: Ted, Lydia, and Serena had brought books, and Emily was reading the program. Here we are, proud parents with excited daughter.
After graduation, one of Sarah’s classmates came running up to her to introduce his parents, who were none other than Daniel’s (Ted’s brother) pastor and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Blair from Greeley, CO! Emily, especially, was delighted to meet them.
Saturday afternoon was a whirlwind of helping Sarah pack and move out of her apartment. She found the experience very frustrating and stressful, for she can’t move into her new place down the mountain until the end of May. So her belongings were being farmed out to 2 different places, and we had to connect with the people at those places, when one didn’t answer her phone, and Sarah didn’t know how to get there. Of course, after several trips up and down the mountain (good thing we had our van for hauling), we did get Sarah out by the deadline, and all her things found a new landing/storage place. We celebrated with dinner at a Thai restuarant — down the mountain again! This was Emily’s graduation treat.
Sunday morn, we went to Sarah’s church, and happened to hit upon the first Sunday of the month, when they have a luncheon after the service. Let me tell you, this was the best meal we had all weekend!! We then said goodbye to Sarah, and also to Lydia, who is staying with Sarah for almost a week at Sarah’s friend Rachel’s house in Atlanta. After attending Sarah’s roommate’s wedding in WV on the 11th, they will head back to Shelbyville. We’ll get to enjoy Sarah for 5 days before she returns to Chattanooga to begin her new job as landscaping supervisor in the grounds dept. at Covenant. This will go on for a year or 2 while she pays down her student loan. I’ll have to let her tell you about her plans after that.