Did you see the Queen parachute into the Olympic Stadium in London last Friday evening as part of the opening ceremonies for the XXX Summer Games? With purse and gloves of course, but thank heavens she chose not to include her Corgi dogs in the escapade! Lots of fun to watch on television but not so easy to get tickets to that or any of the other events. Seems those empty seats at so many venues are corporate sponsor connected. Our reporter on the ground in London, Kate Barger, has some thoughts which she shares today.
We also have news of a birthday for Jennifer Thomas, a report on Nicaragua from Emma Montgomery, ideas on transporting melons from the Griffeths and a beach photo from the Michael family.
Having lived in England for the past two and one half years, Kate Barger is familiar with London. Although now back in the United States to live, Kate put her name in the lottery for Olympic tickets while still living abroad. She requested tickets for the Opening Ceremony, gymnastics, swimming, Closing Ceremonies and Shooting (well, yes, that was her boyfriend’s choice). The system works on a lottery and if you are lucky enough to come up a winner, the cost of the tickets is deducted from your bank account and the tickets sent to you – registered mail. As luck would have it, tickets for Shooting were the only ones she got.
But not to worry, she headed for London, enjoyed a wonderful, warm, sunny day Saturday of crowd watching, Wenlock sightings (he’s the mascot), big screen viewing of events from screens scattered throughout the city parks, souvenir studying and beet juice sipping (beet juice is the favored power drink for athletes and spectators alike!). Sunday was the day to use those coveted tickets at the Royal Artillery Barracks and catch the Women’s 10m skeet and Finals Ceremony for 10m Air Rifle. Despite rain showers, the event went off without a hitch and many cheers greeted competitor Kimberly Rhode who won a gold in the skeet shooting and became the first American to medal in five straight Olympic Games.
Best advice if you are going to London to catch an Olympic event: be sure to have plenty of British pounds in your pocket and your Visa card in your wallet (inside the venues, only these two forms of money are accepted). Carry an umbrella at all times, wear sturdy walking shoes (you will need them), pack a fleece, have a camera fully charged, be flexible, wear a smile and have a jolly good time!
MEMORIES OF NICARAGUA
Emma Montgomery traveled to Nicaragua this summer with twelve others from the Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC). Last summer Emma’s older sister, Ellen, journeyed there with her dad, Emmett Montgomery. This year Emma and her mother, Becky, joined repeat traveler Ellen, along with Associate Pastor Robert Montgomery, and other church members Emily Beeken, Lindsey Cooke, Susan Cooke, Graham Kiley, Rosemary Klein, Iliana Ragnone, Jamie Ragnone, Joel Tinkler, and Bradford Weir.
The group first spent some time in the capitol city of Managua before taking a long, bumpy bus ride to the Kilambe region where San Jose, one of the seven communities DCPC partners with, is located. Being the first trip to this region for teenage Emma, Around Davidson asked her to write a few words about her experience. What follows is Emma’s own trip report.
“This past June I had the opportunity to accompany my church’s mission team to Nicaragua. I am 13 and the youngest member ever to go on the trip. Although I had been to Nicaragua’s neighboring country, Costa Rica, this was the first time I had been in a third world country. I had a picture in my mind of exactly what it would be like because my sister and my dad had been on the trip the year before and told me every detail of their experience. I thought I knew what I would be faced with when we spent our time in the village. I was so wrong. I imagined the cute cliché little clay huts opposed to the shacks made with uneven wooden boards for walls.
This whole experience really opens your eyes to how our “needs” are really “wants.” It amazed me how happy and grateful these people of the small Nicaraguan village of San Jose are when they have quite literally nothing. They have this sense of unity and family within their community. They all look after one another and stick together. It was so awesome just to be there and see how much of an impact we made in their community. It was amazing to sit down and have as much of a conversation we could have with the language barrier. They are just so pleased and you can tell it means the world to them that we are staying in their homes and are not taking pity on them. They really appreciate that we are there to become partners with them and are not coming to build a school, staying in a hotel, and leaving.
What really stuck with me was the night before we left, my sister and my mom who went on the trip also, came with me to show our host family pictures of our own family that we were told to bring. Those pictures meant so much to them. They were asking if they could keep them and hang them up on our wall. They really wanted something to remember us by. I am planning on writing to them with pictures of me and our whole group.”
Thanks, Emma. How special that your whole family has now experienced the enthusiasm of DCPC’s partner community in Nicaragua.
BUSY BEACH DAYS
Imagine packing the car for the Outer Banks with four little ones in tow. That’s what Autumn and Jeff Michael did this month as they vacationed for a wonderful week in Ocracoke. Maternal Grandma Judy Grissom of Salisbury was on hand to help with Boone, 7, Della Scott, 5, Mary Kirk, 4, and Sarah Frances (16 months.)
Earlier in July, there were very busy days for Mom and Dad in Davidson as they became very efficient at packing boxes and bags to move back into their North Main Street home which had been renovated to provide more space for them. Thankfully they were able to “camp” in a home on Pine Road for a few months so the work could progress faster. Welcome Home to the Michael family as they enjoy their wonderful “new digs!”
GUESS WHO TURNED FIFTY!
Did you see the posters in the New Neighborhood and along Concord Road last Friday? They showed a delightful kindergarten photo with the caption “Lost Childhood” – “Have you seen this 50 year old? Answers to the name Jennifer Thomas”
Around Davidson could not resist checking this out. The “young lady” featured on the posters is none other than Jennifer Thomas, who turned 50 years old this past Saturday, July 28. Jennifer grew up in Salisbury and married Mickey Thomas three years ago. Her Dad who lives in Asheville and two brothers who live in Charlotte and Raleigh came up with the poster idea and “papered” poles, trees and mail boxes with 75 of them late last week.
The family celebrated Jennifer’s big birthday on Saturday with burgers at Pinky’s in Charlotte before enjoying banana cake and homemade peach ice cream at their home on the corner of Concord Road and St. Alban’s Lane (the former Wallace Gamble home). Jennifer’s three children, Ryan (23), Ian (21) and Anna (18) were on hand for the festivities as were Mickey’s children, Will (19) and Nelle (16). Busy family with Ryan and Anna in college at the University of South Carolina, Will at UNC-Chapel Hill, Nelle at Hough High School and Ian working in management with 131 Main while they branch out their “Tenders” restaurant (the corner of US21 and Westmoreland Road) to other locations under the name “PDQ.”
Mickey is employed at TIAA-Cref while Jennifer works as a nurse practitioner with Dr. Tom Batchelor of Davidson at Exit 25 with North Charlotte Medical Specialists. Interesting to note that Jennifer has worked as the Camp Nurse for 14 summers at Camp Thunderbird. In their spare time, the couple likes to hike, bike and spend time at the “Y.”
Happy Birthday, Jennifer! And we hear that after Mickey has a birthday later in August, you both are planning a further celebration with a trip to Ireland. Safe travels.
Leave it to enterprising Boy Scout Daniel Griffeth to find a way to secure supper in the back seat of his Mom’s SUV. Can’t have melons rolling around and getting in the way of the gas pedal or brake so Daniel gathered up the produce and put the seat belts to work. Nicely done. And not a bad idea when you stop at a nearby produce stand and want to secure your purchases. Thanks to Mom Linda Griffeth for sharing this summer tip!
SEND US YOUR NEWS
Have news for Around Davidson? Write to Brenda Barger at firstname.lastname@example.org.