It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

November 1, 2008

Some photos and brief stories from Homecoming Weekend (last weekend)… click for a larger view of anything:

Seeger Memorial Chapel was the site of convocations, vespers services, concerts, graduations, and many games of “stalag” at night. It’s a beautiful building with lots of squeaky folding seats inside. The main focal point of the campus.

Buffalo Creek, which runs alongside the campus, was a popular spot for romantic couples. Also a great place for a good game of tug-o-war (loser goes in!).   Most students were “creeked” at some point during their college career. I managed to escape that distinction. 🙂

The campus is beautiful, but my friends are even more so. Rae (Schauer) Augenstein was a freshman when I was a senior… we enjoyed a lot of great times together. She and her husband, Craig, live just a few miles from campus today. It was really great to see them and get caught up.

David Powers was one of the “cool kids” with a fast yellow car. He was always a sweetheart and still is today. He is a minister at a church down in Atlanta, and I usually see him every year at Homecoming. This year I managed to snap a photo of the two of us.

I didn’t get as many photos of people as I would have liked… the weather at the beginning of the weekend was not great, and the first half of Saturday I was standing around outside shivering in the chill, not feeling like picking up the camera. By the time the sun came out late that day to brighten things up, a lot of people had moved on to other things. Still, spending the day on campus is always one of the highlights of my year.

Someone made a comment to me in the past week or so, about how when we were all back in college, “we didn’t know how good we had it.”   Well, I have to say that I did know. I knew how good I had it. I knew I was lucky to be there. I knew my time there was limited. I remember starting my junior year and thinking to myself, I only have two years left! I don’t want it to pass by too quickly! And so I return every year. I love to stay connected and I love to keep some of the great memories alive. I love to walk the campus and note things that have changed, as well as things that have remained the same.

Every year that I return, for several years straight now, I stay with a couple who live a few miles behind the campus. When I was a student, I went to a little church off in the hills back there, and Ray and Janice Lyons were very involved at the time with a Sunday School class for college students. I could write a whole separate post – and probably will – about all the great things the Lyons did for my rag-tag group of friends during our college years. But what has been so special to me over the past 20 years is the friendship that Ray and Janice and I have shared. I would always make an effort to swing by for a visit whenever I came back to town, and eventually I started lodging with them instead of finding a hotel in Johnson City for the weekend. We have come to treat each other very much like family, and it’s at the point now where Homecoming Weekend is as much about seeing Ray and Janice as it is about seeing my old professors and college buddies.

To top off the weekend each year, I linger on Sunday afternoon a bit and then leave so that I will arrive at the top of Clinch Mountain when the sun is setting, or at least low enough in the sky to be interesting. This year the timing was a little off due to the non-daylight savings time change, but I still think the view of the South Holston River is beautiful. (Photo here doesn’t seem to want to behave, but there should be something you can click to see a larger image)

Everyone should be so lucky.


One comment

  1. It’s hard, really, to describe just how good we did have it at Milligan. I didn’t know then what a unique college experience we were having!

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