NAYC 2011-Columbus, Ohio - A Funny Thing(s) Happened To Us On the Way

We started early this morning heading north to Columbus, Ohio for the North American Youth Congress. A funny thing(s) happened to us on the way. We left Dothan at 7:45 AM two van loads of folks. We weren’t sure what to dub the folks in the vans; one the “cool” and the other the “uncool” or one the “quiet” and the other the “noisy.” That is what we finally decided on the “quiet” crew was the van I was driving: Stephen Kovach in shotgun, Tina Caskey and Rhonda Lewis in Row One; Regina Worley in Row Two; Caitlin Ulry in between Row Two and Three with Amanda Collette; and on the caboose, Christy Joyner, Hannah Worley, and Gracie Collette. (With Christy also in multiple places to during the trip.)

As for the other van driven by Chad Kirkland, I have no idea the seating arrangement but I do know they were loud! Nathan and Lauren Harrelson, Angela and Clay Forrest, Jeremy McCoy, Austin Collette, and Karah Loveless were the folks in the short bus.

I heard much stuff in my van. I shall relate to you how that Annette McCoy’s sisters threw her under the bus. They told on her about when they went to the last women’s conference in Montgomery back in April. She apparently goes to bed early so she can get up very early. Sometime around 4:30 AM, she comes out of her coma and sits quietly for 2 minutes and 36.6 seconds and then gets in Regina’s ear and tells her, “Get up Regina, somebody needs to get up and talk to me!” Regina apparently didn’t take this too well and told her emphatically to go back to bed. So Annette quits aggravating her and goes over to the coffee pot (which she brings with her) and starts banging around on the counter top getting all of her coffee gear together much to the duress of Regina, Rhonda, and Tina. They then start pleading with Sister Cooper to tell Annette to go back to bed. I thought sibling rivalry was over when you got to be twenty but these girls are keeping it going well into their forties!

Regina then told us a dog story. Poor Hannah can’t seem to have a dog and when she becomes an adult, I feel sure that her bouts with dogs is going to create all sorts of hang-ups, breakdowns, and so-forth because she has gone through about eight dogs in her eleven years. The latest one was Moe. He went to heaven Tuesday, a week ago. Regina said the poor dog must have been chasing cars and caught one or it caught him and he didn’t fare too well. Hannah goes out into the driveway to check on him and comes back in the house crying because poor Moe isn’t moving.

Younger brother Nicholas, who is five decides he needs to go investigate. When he comes back in the house, Hannah is on the phone with Regina and is telling her about poor Moe. Somehow little Nick manages to get the phone and report his version of things. No tears or regrets for him just cold, clinical, and composed he gives a description to Regina. “Momma, Moe has got blood on his mouth, he is laying in the driveway. Momma, he is shut down! Moe has done shut down!” While Regina is telling this we are all howling like poor Moe should have been last Tuesday. I can assure that hilarious things happen to our church folk who live in the country!

Then the conversation turned so she could throw Annette back under the bus again. Regina said that a few weeks ago, on a Sunday night after church, the crowd all piled into the southside McDonalds. I go every once in a while and when I have been there, there is usually 40 of our church folk in there and they sort of commandeer the place. This apparently happened that night too! Regina said that Annette sat down with them and was soon holding court with anyone who would listen to her.

On this night, Sister Sanders sat down next to Regina. After a while, Sister Sanders leaned over to Regina, and in her quiet, polite way told Regina, “I think Annette needs to see about that artery in her neck, it looks like it might be blocked.” Regina said she peered closely at Annette’s neck while she was talking and diagnosed the situation for Sister Sanders. She said, “Aw Sister Sanders, they ain’t nothing wrong with Annette’s neck. That is pure muscle. You get it from talking and since Annette is a talker, she has a big muscle in her neck.” Then she said that Annette says something about her fries being cold to which Regina replied, “Annette, those fires were as hot as firecrackers twenty-minutes ago but you have been talking so long that they got cold. Go ahead and eat them cold or throw them away there not faulty fries!” Again, we all are howling with laughter at Regina telling on her sister.

But then the story turned to Regina in which she told on herself. Six years ago, we came to NAYC here in Columbus and Regina got into a raging battle with a monster escalator. There is no way for me to do it justice and tell it like it needs to be told but suffice it to say that a few details might shed light on the whole affair. Regina falls backward on an escalator that is going up. Tina is behind her and trying to hold her up. Before it is over, Regina is on her back, Tina is bruised all over, purses are dumped on the floor, Hannah is laughing at both of them, and one old guy who happened to witness it all is so dumbfounded he can’t do anything but stand there with a gaping mouth. Hilarious stuff! I told them I would be happy to take my camcorder and do a video replay if they would try it again. Needless to say, this idea wasn’t received too well.

We were making great time until 1:30 PM when about 15 miles south of Athens, the “loud” van blew out a right rear tire. That set us back two hours and we pulled out of Athens with four new times and a lighter wallet but we had a thankful heart. This thing could have led to a terrible accident that would have affected us greatly. I cannot help but thing that on Sunday night when we laid hands on all those going, that God put a hedge of protection around them. While the tires were being changed, Chad and I waited at the Big 10 Tire in Athens while all the rest of the gang spent some time at Starbucks and a Nestle Tollhouse cookie shop.

When we got back in the van, we discovered that Rhonda, Tina, and Regina had gotten very serious with our girls and the conversation had turned to spiritual matters. Their words were well received by our bunch and it is in moments like this that we know that we really are an extended family in Dothan. In my thoughts, that old-fashioned Pentecostal church is the best one in the country. They practiced what I tried to preach to them on Sunday morning. They got involved in the ministry of refreshment and followed the lead of Onesiphorus.

Add in one other factor to all of this and you have a race. Josh and Emily Sibley along with Robbie Kovach were running hard to catch us all day. They left Dothan around 10, stopped in Ozark for lunch at 11 and then Josh drove like Jehu until he caught us in Bowling Green, Kentucky around 7:15 PM. From what I understand, Emily and Sister Robbie weren’t too impressed with Josh’s driving skills and by the time he caught us the cat had gotten all of their tongues. My advice to Josh: do what your wife and mother-in-law want you to do or you are in for a long miserable trip.

We rolled into Columbus, Ohio at 1:45 AM (OH time) to a very nice Hampton Inn which David and Shannon Goodwin had worked hard to plan for us to be here. Furthermore, John and Renee Butler got here about 2 ½ hours before we did and had all of our key cards ready and the rooms on high cool for us.

I am expecting this NAYC to be a good one for all of us who were blessed enough to attend. Pray for us!

More tomorrow. . .


Buddy Buie said…
Pastor Harrelson:

You need to get those "Cooper" girls to talk about their exploits at the "little church by the peanut mill" in Enterprise on your way back to Dothan. But be careful, you might run off the road!!!

Buddy Buie
Anonymous said…
Enjoyed a belly laugh or two while reading this . . . Tell my kids I love and miss them very much!!

Donna Ryan said…
Those where rofl. No youth like AL youth and Mo. Youth traveling together. Phillip my 3 kids are up there from Joplin, mo. We still need prayer from all the ones who lost there homes and jobs. The Lord is moving and we are baptizing people. Love reading your blog. Be safe going home after tonight.

Donna Boyd Ryan

Popular posts from this blog


Characters from Pilgrim's Progress -- Valiant for Truth

Why You Should Have a Prayer Journal