I spent the better part of my college career living life on the wilder side. I can guarantee I didn’t miss too many Thursday nights (or Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for that matter) at my favorite hang outs, as opposed to all the mornings that I didn’t actually make it to class. For me, class was just something I had to do on occasion so that I could get decent grades and Dad would continue to pay for the whole thing.
I’m sure reading this makes him proud.
In fact, I will confess that Gulley and I took golf as our P.E. class one semester and failed. The F was not due to our lack of golf prowess, although it could have been, but because we skipped class eighteen times. Obviously we had more important things to do like work on our tans. Plus, the golf teacher had once been Gulley’s Sunday school teacher and she kept assuring me that no way would he fail us because he had taught her Sunday school. She was wrong.
Anyway, towards the end of my FIFTH year in college, I realized that I was tired of the way I was living. I was making bad choices. At the advice of my friend Jen, I started attending a Bible study called Breakaway and it changed my life. Y’all can read about it here if you haven’t already.
During this time, I made friends that I will have for the rest of my life. People who nurtured me, encouraged me and prayed for me. People who showed me that being a Christian didn’t mean that I had to spend all my time in prayer meetings and playing miniature golf. One of these people was my friend Hite.
Since I was only taking four hours that last semester of college, I had a lot of free time on my hands, so Hite and I really got to know each other. I would meet he and Gulley for lunch at the student center almost every day and we would laugh until we cried telling stories. He also taught me how to use email for the first time, so in a way, he got me started on the whole computer thing, although I told him that I didn’t think the whole email thing would really take off because the addresses were way too long.
Forecasting technological trends is obviously not my gift.
About two weeks before graduation, about twenty of us decided it would be fun to go camping at Bryan Utilities Lake. Everyone met out at the lake and as people began setting up camp, it became painfully obvious that we could be divided into two groups: serious campers and complete novices.
I’m sure y’all can guess what group I fell in.
The serious campers set up their deluxe tents with their backpacks full of provisions and first aid kits, while Gulley, Hite, Jen and I pulled our pillows and a bag of marshmallows out of the car. In spite of our lack of preparedness, we had a great time. Everyone cooked hot dogs, sang songs, and told stories. It was the perfect way to spend an evening, until it was time to go to bed.
One of the serious campers took pity on the novice contingent and loaned us a blue tarp to sleep on, and we all put our pillows down looking forward to a night sleeping under the stars, which was great in theory, except that we had forgotten one key factor about being out at a lake in May.
I will never in my life forget lying under the stars trying to ignore the mosquitos while Hite could not stop talking about how they were “eating us alive”. The novice campers had literally become a feast for the mosquitoes. Finally, we found a citronella candle and we all huddled around it, hoping that the scent would make the torture stop. Hite even composed “An Ode to Citronella”.
Then, about 3:00 a.m. the mosquitoes suddenly disappeared and in their place came thirty mile an hour north winds and pouring rain as a cold front hit. In May. In College Station, TX. What are the odds?
Suddenly, we all found ourselves wrapping up in the sad, little tarp, huddling around the citronella candle for warmth, and completely hysterical at our bad luck. Why it didn’t occur to us to get in the car and leave, I’ll never know. Obviously, I should have spent more time in class and less time drinking alcohol.
It is one of the worst and best memories of my life.
Two weeks later, I graduated and left college with better friends that I could have ever dreamed. Happy Birthday Hite. Thanks for being a forever friend.
And in a perfect twist, today is also Nena’s birthday. It’s only appropriate since she and Hite both have more style than anyone else I know.