In the meantime, we were happy to welcome 4 members of Memorial Congregational Church, (my church in Sudbury) into our home over the weekend. These folks are part of a group of 10 who are in Biloxi this week helping the Back Bay Mission rebuild the Katrina ravaged mission and surrounding area. The other 6 decided to fly. Those traveling by car set out on Friday morning in a nasty storm and stopped at former MCC members Betty and Wade Kornegay's house in MD Friday night, heading on to our house in Ooltewah. We had a really nice visit and it sure was nice to see some familiar faces. Hal is writing letters from Biloxi during the week and I have included the pictures he sent along with his message following this entry.
Those 4 who stayed with us on St. Patrick's Day will return here next Saturday night. Ed did the cooking for this past weekend. On the return trip, Ed will be in OK and I will be on my own. Most of you know I have no real talent when it comes to cooking. And I have asked several differnt friends to come down to help me cook, but nobody responded. Fair weather friends, I guess! Oh well, there's always McDonalds!
Some of you will know these people and others won't. Those of you who are more interested in the Back Bay Mission in Biloxi and the project can go to this link. http://www.backbaymission.com/about.html. Click on the left side of the home page on Upcoming Events and Workcamp Schedule. People from all over the country are joining in. You can see Memorial Congregational Church listed there for this week.
In addition to sending the crew, our church was hoping to raise $3000 to present to the Mission when they arrive in Biloxi. I don't know if they reached their goal or not, but I am sure you can still send donations to Memorial Congregational Church, 26 Concord Road, Sudbury, MA 01776 and mark on your check "Bundlies for Biloxi". I know they can use the help.
Hats off to these folks for giving up their week and making a difference.
Terry and Hal in our dining room. Hal is going to make a slide show of the trip. That should be fun.
Sue Whelpley, Terry Keeney, Ed, Me and Hal. The weather in Tennessee was far better than up north.
Sue, Terry, Betsey, Ed an Hal just before loading into the Cutler mobile.
I bought these cocktail napkins just for Hal. It was Saint Patrick's Day and I thought it was appropriate for someone having just travelled 1000 miles on a mission!
Have a great day everyone. Enjoy the last day of winter, wherever you are!
Hal is posting letters each day now that they have arrived. Here is today's:
"Greetings from Biloxi,This will be the first of our "Letters from Biloxi" in which we will report on our excursion to the Back Bay Mission (BBM) for a week long work camp.You heard some of the story of our travel experience this weekend. Sue Whelpley, Terry Keeney and Betsey and Hal Cutler left at 9:00 Am on Friday too drive Betsey’s van full of tools, sleeping and wearing gear for the group to Biloxi. The got to Hartford before there was any serious accumulation of snow on the roads but from Hartford to Bettie and Wade Kornegay’s home in Burtonsville, Maryland they had to contend with snow and slush on the road. The trip that was to have taken them about 7 hours stretched to 13 hours. Fortunately, they avoided involvement in any of the many accidents they saw along the road and arrived at 10:30 PM to a wonderful dinner and late evening visit with Bettie and Wade. The total mileage for the day was 432.
Driving from Sudbury for 13 hours in a snowstorm, Captain Hal got the crew to Maryland safely. Front row: Hal Cutler, Sue Whelpley, Betsey Cutler. Back row: Bettie Kornegay, Wade Kornegay, Terry Keeney.
The traveling on Saturday was pleasant by comparison with dry roads and less traffic. After about 10 hours on the road, covering about 600 miles, the van arrived at the home of Sue (Petersen) and Ed Eaton Our arrival at 7:30 allowed a more leisurely dinner prepared by Ed, with Sue’s help, a nice evening for visiting and a relatively early bedtime.
On Sunday, the van crew said good-bye to Sue and Ed at 9:15 and headed southwest for 479 miles to Biloxi. This trip was also on dry roads with not too much traffic except in the metropolitan areas near Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. They arrived at 5:15 PM (4:15 Central Time) and were welcomed by some of the BBM staff and the lead crew who flew to Biloxi.After that first day of tense driving in the snow, the trip settled into a routine……. but too much of a routine for Hal. As the trip dragged on, he had to keep reminding Sue, Terry and Betsey that the group was on a mission to get to Biloxi safely and quickly. As Terry tells it the group was told not to think of the trip as a vacation and that they were forbidden to look at the scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains or take note of the Civil War history of the Shenandoah Valley. Hal, on the other hand, indicated that keeping potty and food stops short was like herding a bunch of elephants…. very slow. After all that, the group was still speaking to each other and ready for a rewarding week at BBM."
This is most of the group traveling by air. Front row: (St.) George Connor, Mary Bernier,Joe Bausk. Standing Eddie Hawkins and Mike Vai. Not pictured: Reverend Lisa due to arrive in Biloxi today. (George's wife Melinda claims to be a good friend of mine, however, she would not fly down to TN to help me cook for the 4 traveling by car. Imagine that!)
The group that flew to Biloxi had a much easier time…….. that is if you don’t mind getting up at 3:00 AM to assemble at Cutler’s house to be driven to the airport by Karen Ross (another saint) to catch a 6:00 AM plane. Their trip went well, including a change of planes in Atlanta, and they arrived at the BBM by mid afternoon.The early crew spent some time with the BBM staff traveling to the house in Gulfport that we will be concentrating on this week. We’ll be repairing the roof, installing and fixing drywall, installing insulation, closing in a couple of windows and fixing vinyl siding. We also went to another worksite in Biloxi to unload some supplies.It’s time for a late dinner, so we’ll sign off now and file another report tomorrow.