Dicy McCullough: Time to check my direction
Memories came flooding back as I made the two-hour trip to Boiling Springs in October for homecoming festivities at my alma mater, Gardner-Webb University. Itís always a good thing when the home team wins a football game on homecoming, and Gardner-Webb was fortunate enough to be in that category this year.
The alumni reception was later in the evening, and as I walked up the steps of the Dover Campus Center I could see a gentleman waiting by the front door. We exchanged pleasantries, and then he told me he was waiting for his daughter, so I walked on into the lobby. Shortly thereafter, they joined me inside, where we engaged in casual conversation until others began to arrive.
Everyone was assigned a table for the reception, and I was fortunate to have Matthew Lineberger and Megan Philbeck seated at my table. Megan graduated this past spring with a music degree, and Matthew plans to graduate in 2012. They provided the musical entertainment for the evening, with Matthew on the piano accompanying Megan as she sang. Having majored in music at Gardner-Webb myself, I was excited to catch up with the latest news and learned that my voice teacher, Patricia Harrelson, is still teaching but plans to retire this year.
I soon noticed that the Rev. Billy Graham was listed as a speaker for the program. It wasnít long before it was obvious the asterisk beside his name meant impersonator. Frank Shelton, Jr., a past graduate of Gardner-Webb, was that person and gave us quite a few laughs with his Billy Graham accent and larger-than-life presence. He even shared little-known tidbits about life in the Graham household.
In the midst of the laughs, Frank turned serious and asked if we knew for certain where we were going when we died. He gave the example of Albert Einstein taking a trip on a train. Albert Einstein lost his ticket, but the conductor knew him and told him not to worry. Later, the conductor saw Albert Einstein on the floor still looking for his ticket. Again the conductor said, ěMr. Einstein, donít worry. You donít need a ticket. I know who you are.î At that point, Albert Einstein looked at the conductor and politely said, ěSir, you donít understand. I too know who I am, but I donít know where Iím going.î A hush fell over the room as everyone got the point.
During my college years, I memorized many of the places between Salisbury and Boiling Springs on my way to Gardner-Webb, including Mooresville, Lincolnton, Pumpkin Center, Cherryville and Shelby. The ride down N.C. 150 was always a picturesque and peaceful one, especially in the fall when the leaves began to turn. There was a gentle ebb and flow of small towns connected together by stretches of open land and rolling hills. Thinking back, this ride reminds me of the ebb and flow of my life since graduation so many years ago.
While itís true going back to an alma mater can be bittersweet, sometimes itís necessary in order to see the distance traveled and get a better picture of what lies ahead. We each have roads to travel, and only we can decide which one to take. Will it be the road marked clearly or will it be a detour? How about you? Do you know where youíre going?
Dicy McCulloughís second book, ěTired of School,î is available on amazon.com, dicymcculloughbooks.com. and at local bookstores. Contact her at 704-278-4377.