Red Jeep Journal
July 22, 2017
Journal Dictation in Pennsylvania
The first-draft of this Red Jeep Journal entry was dictated while I sped down the highway in Pennsylvania.
I’m driving 710 miles today from New York through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and eastern Kentucky, along the old Hillbilly Highway and into Hazard and deeper into the mountain to Oneida today.
Right now I’m in the beautiful Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania. I just passed Happy Valley where Penn State plays football. It put a smile on my face on this mid-summer morning to think about cool autumn afternoons and Big 10 football. West of Happy Valley the highway cuts through fold upon fold of beautiful blue-green mountains. The mountains are all crowned with white mist this early morning.
It’s hard to describe how peaceful and compelling this landscape is. It deserves more time and attention then I have to give it today. I’m on a mission.
I just drove through a town called Shiloh and it reminded me of a ballad by Andrew Peterson so I looked it up on Spotify and now I’m listening to all the songs on Spotify named Shiloh. Some of them are Christian songs some of them are Civil War ballads.
I’m alone with my thoughts today and so my thoughts are about the last time I’ve visited Pennsylvania to preach. My friend Tom Harmon recommended me to a group of Brethren churches who brought me in for a united service as a preaching storyteller. I brought Holly, Heidi and Hannah with me to do children’s work, sing and keep me company. They put us up in a beautiful bed-and-breakfast called the McLean House run by fascinating literate Christian woman who made a delicious hazelnut-vanilla coffee and never let my cup get empty.
The bed-and-breakfast was beautifully decorated with antiques. The only thing out of place with a life-size cut-out of “Joe Pa” in the kitchen that would give you a start early in the morning when you came down tracing out the smell of coffee.
I get that familiar lump in my throat when I think back about that time with the girls. It ended up being a very happy memory for all of us and we look back upon it with fondness. It was a simple assignment but a cherished memory.
As always when I travel and preach I’m not sure what good I did but I do know that the seed was good and I planted it well and the rest belongs to God.
Tomorrow I preach to the good folk of New Prospect Baptist. Now I need to get to Oneida in time to prepare my soul with a thoughtful evening walk along the South Fork Kentucky River. I’ll take a picture of two for you to enjoy in my next Red Jeep Journal.
Arrived in Hazard
I’m in Kentucky now and today there was not a single stretch of 100 yards that was not a beautiful mountain scene. 710 miles of unbroken scenic beauty. 710 miles of unbroken worship.
I miss Lois when I’m in Kentucky especially. We talked on the phone a bit and remembered an evening together up on Natural Bridge at the restaurant overlooking the park. We ate Kentucky Brown and blackberry cobbler and coffee with ice cream for dessert. I vow to return with her one day, God helping me, and repeat the quiet evening together.