I spent a summer in college living at my rowing teammate’s house for an internship. She was busy working her summer job in northern Michigan, so I basically took over her life for the summer. Her sister & I lived down the hall from each other and the evenings were spent on the screened porch listening to the crickets come to life.
Denny was such a charming, handsome man. He would take me horse back riding through the bordering state park, over to the homes of his siblings. There were cowboy breakfasts on Saturdays and a pot of coffee every morning. Karen would pour glasses of wine and we would walk out into the garden to watch the trelissed 4 o’clocks bloom in the garden. I would pick pea pods from that garden, one for the basket and one for my mouth. It was the appetizer reward for harvesting.
To this day, I don’t know that I have witnessed anyone as humble and selfless in service to others as Karen. It felt like bearing witness to a polar opposite of myself. She’s a nurse by trade and a caregiver by Spirit, she demands nothing in return amd never seeks the limelight. She’s something to strive for, an embodiment of Christ himself.
They gave me a country life I never had. It was like coming home from an office job to an alternate universe where everything was slower, tasted better, and lasted longer. I woke early to watch fog lift off the backyard as horses whinnied and ran the corral. Family stopped in all the time for visiting which could include joining for a meal, a cup of coffee or the latest cobbler. Nights were spent circled around the dining room praying the rosary as a family at large, the 5 year old youngest cousin reciting a decade of Hail Marys. I had never seen the heart IN the tradition of the Catholic church so active and alive. They gifted me the example of deep community, service to others, the value of simplicity, and great hospitality.
I saved all my internship money that summer and living with them free of charge allowed me to spend the following 4 months in Ecuador visiting the Amazon & Gallapagos later that year. Little did the McCartneys know their summer would fan into flame my lifetime of international travel.