Dreams Don't Grow on Trees
Copyright © 2011 - 2014 Owen Hudson
It was one of those unusual late spring days ... the type that one searched out a nook for reading, or just being lazy. It was a chilly rain, especially for the time of the year. The Harrington men were in the den; Darrell in his recliner watching a baseball game in between naps ... Haden was stretched out on the couch reading, also in between naps ... and Adam didn't even pretend to be doing anything except napping.
Amy was out with Tony, and Rita was in the kitchen baking when the doorbell rang. "Never mind, I'll get it," Rita said, when none of the men bothered to respond.
"Darrell, would you come with me?" Rita returned to the den to quietly ask.
"Who is it?" Darrell asked, as he went with Rita to the living room.
"A man saying he's Adam's great-uncle."
"Hello, I'm George Woodson," the man said, as he stood and extended his hand to Darrell.
"I'm Darrell Harrington, and this is my wife Rita," Darrell said in a less than friendly tone.
"Like I told your wife, I'm Adam's great-uncle. I've been out of the country working in Saudi Arabia - and I returned to discover that Adam's been adopted."
"Yes, Adam's now part of this family," Darrell pointed out. "His mom abandoned him in an old shack near here. Adam came here hungry and cold. My son fed him and called me at work. Your niece was arrested in Tennessee and never bothered to tell anyone that she'd left her son here."
"I know my niece was a horrible mother," George said. "I only wanted to see for myself that he's in a good home."
"I can assure you, he's in a good home," Rita said. "We all love Adam. May I ask how you found us?"
"I got Mr. Harrington's name and hometown from my brother," George said. "My brother and sister-in-law weren't very good parents themselves, but they were at least better than my niece. I regret that I didn't try to get custody of Adam when he was a baby. But I'm a divorced man and work for a big oil company. We work all over the world, and I wasn't sure that would've been the best for him."
"I know you said you wanted to know that Adam was in a good home," Darrell said. "Is there another reason for this visit?"
"I would like to see Adam, if that's okay," George said.
"We'll allow it, but if Adam becomes upset, we'll ask you to leave," Darrell warned him.
"I agree," George said. "Adam was between three and four the last time I saw him ... he may not remember me."
"He's in the den," Rita said.
"Adam, this gentleman is here to see you," Darrell said without explaining the relationship.
"Adam, do you remember me?" George asked.
"I don't think so," Adam said, with a short flash of his past memory.
"I'm your great-uncle George Woodson," George said.
"Well, you're not taking me away from here," Adam said in an agitated tone.
"Adam, I merely came here to see that you were happy and cared for," George said.
"How could I not be happy here?" Adam asked. "My family loves me, I have a nice room, a horse, dogs, and we even have a swimming hole."
"Yes, it's a large and beautiful home," George admitted. "And it's obvious this family loves you - and you love them."
"Well, I was even happy here before Mom and Dad had the house remolded and enlarged," Adam said. "I didn't even mind sharing a room with my brother."
"I'm satisfied that Adam's well cared for and loved," George said. "Adam, if it's okay with your parents, I'd love to see you again."
"The decision is Adam's," Darrell pointed out. "After his last visit with your niece, he said he never wanted to see her again. He may be young, but he has the right to make that decision. Adam, are you okay with seeing your uncle again?"
"Yeah, as long as he doesn't try to take me away, or do me the way my birth mom did."
"I promise that won't happen," George said.
"Why don't you stay a while and visit with Adam?" Rita suggested. "You're more than welcome to have dinner with us."
"I'd love to visit with Adam," George said. "I wouldn't want to impose on your family's dinner though."
"It would be no imposition," Rita said. "We always have plenty. Around here, we never know who may drop by. Our daughter is out with her boyfriend; and they may or may not be here for dinner."
"Then I'd love to have dinner with you," George said. "Adam, tell me about your school."
"Well, we're out for the summer," Adam said.
"I guess I meant to ask, how are you doing in school?"
"He's an honor student," Haden quickly offered.
"Wow, that's great, Adam," George said.
"I couldn't read very well when I came here ... Dad got glasses for me, and Haden helped me learn to read."
"Oh, so you wear glasses now?"
"He wanted contacts, so we agreed," Darrell said. "He wears the daily disposable ones."
"So, Adam, what do you do in the summer?"
"I go to church camp when Mom and Dad work and Haden and Amy are in class," Adam said. "I also ride my horse a lot, and swim in our swimming hole."
"When I was your age, I always wanted a horse," George said. "You're a lucky boy."
"Do you want to see Dusty?" Adam asked.
"Dusty's my horse."
"Now that it has stopped raining, why don't you guys take George on a horseback ride," Rita suggested. "I'll be busy with dinner, so he can ride Apache."
"I've only been on a horse a couple of times, and that was years ago," George said.
"I'd never been on one before until I got Dusty," Adam pointed out.
"Alright, I'll give it a try," George agreed.
"We'll use Perry's saddle rather than Rita's," Darrell said, as they prepared to saddle the horses. "His saddle will fit you better."
"And who's Perry?" George asked.
"He's my oldest brother," Adam answered. "They have a new baby, and his name is Dustin. That mare over there is Perry's, and her colt is Dustin's."
"I can tell this is a family of horse lovers," George said.
"Well, Adam sort of started it," Darrell explained. "Adam wanted a horse for Christmas, and you can see how many we have now. Okay, let's mount up."
"No, no, Uncle George," Adam said with a giggle, when George started to mount Apache. "You mount him from the left side."
"Really?" George asked. "I wonder why from the left side."
"I don't know," Adam admitted. "That's just the way we do it."
"I read somewhere that it's a holdover from the days when swords were carried," Haden explained. "If they were right handed, they carried the sword on their left side, and that made it easier to mount on the left side."
"That makes sense," George admitted after mounting Apache, although it was a clumsy mount.
"Let's show Uncle George where we camped out," Adam suggested.
"I guess we have time," Darrell said, after looking at his watch.
"Is all of this land yours?" George asked, as they rode toward the camp site.
"No, we only have 20 acres," Darrell explained. "This belongs to a friend and neighbor, who gave us permission to ride here. He owns over 600 acres."
"He's a great kid," George said, as he and Darrell rode behind Adam and Haden.
"He sure is," Darrell agreed. "As long as Adam's willing, you're welcome to be a part of his life too. But I must say again, if you badger him the way your niece did, I'll put an end to all visits."
"I understand ... and I agree," George said. "He's a well-adjusted and happy kid. I'm happy to know he's loved."
"This is where we camped," Adam said when they arrived.
"Wow, this really is nice," George said.
"Yeah, we also rode up to the top of that hill," Adam said. "It's called Sutton Mountain, but Dad said it's really just a big hill."
"There's a great view from up there," Haden said.
"I bet it is," George agreed.
"We went on a two day trail ride last weekend," Adam said. "It was a lot of fun. Mom even went."
Adam opened his saddle bag and handed everyone individual bags of dried mixed fruit. "Well, Mom said I needed to eat more healthy snacks," he said, when Haden gave him a puzzled look.
"I'd say your Mom's probably right," George said. "Hey, I'm surprised, these are really good."
"Yeah, they are," Haden agreed.
"We need to head back home," Darrell pointed out. "Rita will have dinner ready soon."
"Thank you for taking me on the ride," George said, when they arrived back at the barn. "I don't know when I've enjoyed myself more."
"It was our pleasure," Darrell said.
"Wow, what a nice picnic area and swimming hole," George said. "Is that yours too?"
"Yeah, that's where we swim," Adam chimed in.
"We also have family gatherings here," Darrell said. "When I say family - I don't necessarily mean blood relatives. It's mostly our kids, friends, and the kid's grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousins. The grandparents are actually my ex-wife's parents. They treat Adam the same as their other grandkids, however."
"Oh, then Rita is their stepmother?"
"Technically, yes ... but she adopted Adam also. The other kids were already over age 18."
"Mmm, Mom, it smells good in here," Adam said, when they entered the kitchen.
"It sure does," Darrell agreed. "What are we having?"
Rack of lamb with roasted potatoes and steamed asparagus," Rita said. "Amy and Tony will be here in a few minutes. You guys can go ahead and wash up; we'll eat as soon as they arrive."
"George, you can use the bathroom next to the den," Darrell explained.
"George, this is our daughter Amy and her boyfriend Tony," Rita said when George returned.
"I see you've met Amy and Tony," Darrell said, when he too returned.
"Amy's a nurse," Adam bragged.
"I'm not a nurse yet," Amy explained. "I still have two more semesters."
"It's a great profession," George said.
"Haden's going to be a teacher," Adam added.
"Another great profession," George said.
"Dinner's ready," Rita announced. "Adam, would you show your uncle George where to sit?"
"I don't know when I last had a meal this good," George said, as he enjoyed his dinner.
"Mom, Amy, and Haden are all good cooks," Adam said. "Well, Dad can cook too, but he hardly ever cooks."
"Why cook, when I can enjoy delicious food like this?" Darrell joked.
"George, will you be going back to Saudi Arabia?" Rita asked.
"No, I'll be going to North Dakota to work," George said. "I'll be going from hot to cold. I'm going there next week to find a place to live. I understand there's a shortage of housing there. I may have to live in a trailer."
"How long will you be working in North Dakota?" Darrell asked.
"There's a good chance I'll be there until I can retire in two years," George said.
"Amy made a pineapple upside-down cake this morning, if anyone cares for some," Rita said.
"I want some," Adam said.
"I'm with you there, buddy," Tony said.
"We already knew you wanted some," Amy said, as she began serving the cake.
"Who, me or Adam?" Tony asked.
"Both of you," Amy said, as she served George a piece of cake.
"I really shouldn't, but I'm going to anyway," George said. "Adam, you mentioned your brother's and sister's career plans, but didn't say what you wanted to do."
"Haden said I should consider being a veterinarian, because I love animals," Adam said between bites of cake. "Oh, and Perry's going to be a coach and teacher too. Amy, this cake is really good. How come you've never made it before?"
"I've made it before."
"I made it for one of our cookouts."
"How come I didn't get any?"
"Adam, as I recall, you had two pieces."
"Oh, I thought Grandma made that. See, Uncle George, I told you Amy's a good cook."
"She sure is."
"George, would you like a cup of coffee?" Darrell asked, as Adam began clearing the table and loading the dishwasher.
"I'd love a cup," George said, as he observed Adam busy with his chore. "I can't believe he did that without being told."
"It's one of my chores," Adam said. "I also feed the pets."
"He's a big help around here," Rita said. "He and Haden take care of the garden, as well as the lawn. You guys go on to the den, and I'll bring your coffee when it's ready."
"Mom, you cooked dinner," Amy said. "Join them, and I'll bring the coffee in when it's ready."
"I can't recall the last time I enjoyed myself this much," George said, as Amy placed a tray of cups and a carafe of coffee on the coffee table. "Thank you for letting me spend this time with you."
"You're welcome here," Rita said. "In fact, you're welcome to spend the night and attend church with us tomorrow. That couch has a pullout bed. We're having a cookout after church."
"Thank you, but I've already paid for a room at Lakeview Inn," George said. "However, I would love to attend church with you."
"Why don't you come out and have breakfast with us," Amy suggested.
"Yeah, Uncle George, come and have breakfast with us," Adam pleaded.
"I've imposed on this wonderful family too much already," George said.
"We always have plenty of food," Rita said. "I believe Amy's making a breakfast casserole. We'll have breakfast around 8:30."
"Yes, it's a recipe that Tony's mom gave me," Amy said.
"After church, you can come to our cookout," Adam said. "You'll get to meet my nephew too."
"How could I turn that down," George said with a warm smile. "Could I bring something for the cookout? I don't have a way to cook, but I could pick something up at Walmart."
"We always have plenty of food," Rita said.
"What if I brought plastic cutlery and paper plates?" George insisted.
"Alright, if it makes you feel better," Rita said with a smile.
"I believe I'll call it a night," George said. "Thank you for your hospitality."
"Good night, Uncle George," Adam said, as he gave his uncle a hug.
"Come back and see Adam anytime," Darrell said, as he walked George to the door. "He obviously likes you."
"I'll be honest, I came here not knowing what to expect," George said. "I was willing to fight for him, if I thought he wasn't in a good home. But I can see that he's better off with you than with me or anyone in my family."
"Amy, are you sure we'll need two breakfast casseroles?" Haden asked the next morning, as he helped Amy with breakfast.
"It's better to have extra than not having enough," Amy said. "Perry and Lacey will be here, as will Grandma and Grandpa."
"Can I help?" Adam asked when he came downstairs dressed for church.
"You can set the table," Haden said.
"I thought we would serve buffet style," Amy said. "Adam, you can put everything on the sideboard. And why are you dressed for church already?"
"I want to have time to introduce Dustin to Uncle George," Adam said.
Adam was a perfect host as he introduced George to his other family members. "And this is my nephew, Dustin," Adam said, after picking Dustin up, so George could get a better view.
"Now, that's a cute baby," George remarked. "I remember when you were that age."
"I sure do, and I even have pictures of you at that age."
"Oh, I'd love to have copies," Rita said. "We have just a few from your brother and sister-in-law."
"I'll get copies made for you," George said. "Grace, would you like copies too?"
"I sure would," Grace proclaimed. "I was going to get copies from Rita."
"I'll just have two copies made," George said.
"Eww, Dustin, you stink," Adam said.
"Go ahead and change him," Perry joked.
"No, not with poop," Adam said.
"Give him to me and I'll change him," Grace said.
"No, Grandma, I'll do it," Lacey said. "I'm sure you've changed your share of dirty diapers."
"Oh, my yes, I've changed more than a few," Grace said with a chuckle.
"I hate to break up this party, but we'd better be on our way to church," Darrell said. "George, you can leave your car here and ride with us, if you like."
"Would you have room?"
"Sure, it's a big SUV."
After church at the gathering, Adam made sure he introduced his uncle George to each cousin, aunt, uncle, friend, and parent. Darrell and Perry began cooking the hamburgers and hot dogs while the ladies put out the condiments and other food items. The youngsters were soon in the water, as well as several adults.
"Hey, Lacey, can Dustin come in the water too?" Justin called out.
"No, he's too young," Betty answered before Lacey could.
"See, I told you they'd say no," Adam said.
Almost before the hamburgers were cooked, the younger ones were lined up with plates. "How did they know?" George asked.
"When it comes to food, kids just know," Grace explained with a laugh.
"Dad, could I go camping with Adam and Justin next weekend?" Ethan asked as they ate.
"Were you invited?" Scott asked.
"I invited him and Wade," Adam said.
"What about Wade?" Julie asked, her conversation with Amy being interrupted.
"Yeah, Mom, could I?" Wade asked.
"Okay, what's going on?" Julie asked. "Who's going camping?"
"Kyle and I are taking them camping next weekend," Haden explained. "It'll be us, Adam, Justin, Jared, Cody, and Mark."
"I'm afraid that'd be too many for you to keep an eye on," Julie argued.
"Please, Mom," Wade begged.
"Cody and Mark are both good about keeping an eye on them too," Haden pointed out.
"Oh, I'm not going this year," Cody said. "I'm going to computer camp."
"Mom, Dad, could I go?" Ethan asked again.
"What do you think, Scott?" Carol asked.
"Haden, are you sure you don't mind?" Scott asked.
"Not at all," Haden said.
"Hey, what about me?" Wade asked.
"I think you're too young," Julie said.
"But Mom, Jared's going and he's my age," Wade countered.
"Well, Jared's big brother is going," Julie argued.
"But my big cousin's going too," Wade countered.
"Oh, for heaven's sake, don't be so overly protective - let him be a boy," Carl spoke up.
"Alright," Julie reluctantly agreed.
"Yay!" Wade cheered.
"Haden, what will he need?" Julie asked.
"Not much," Haden said. "He'll need a sleeping bag, a few changes of clothes, a towel, a rod and reel, and a swim suit. The same goes for Ethan."
"He'll be around water?" Julie asked with concern.
"Honey, chill out," Carl said.
"Yeah, Mom, chill out," Wade added.
"You're on thin ice, young man," Julie said.
"But Mom, it's summer," Wade reasoned.
"We had a lot of fun the last time, except ...," Adam started to say, but Haden interrupted him before he could mention the drunk with a gun.
"Yes, it was fun," Haden said, as he gave Adam an evil eye. "Everyone came out for a cookout too."
"It was fun except for what, Adam?" Julie asked.
'Oh no,' Haden thought.
"Haden yelled at us because Justin went to the bathroom without telling him or Kyle," Adam said, having gotten the message.
"Well, that's good," Julie said.
"Uncle George, you should go camping with us," Adam said.
"Thanks, but I'll be in North Dakota," George said. "Besides, I think you guys would have more fun without an old guy like me there with you."
"We have fun with Grandma and Grandpa, and they ...," Adam began.
"Watch it, young man," Grace said with a chuckle, as she interrupted Adam. "You'll have people thinking I'm old."
"But Grandma, you ..."
"Ah ah," Grace said. "Stop while you're ahead."
"Grandma, I was just going to say that you and Grandpa don't act old," Adam said.
"Good save, Adam," Scott said, as he patted Adam on the back.
After all the guests had departed, George asked, "Darrell and Rita, could I talk to you about something before I leave?"
"Sure," Darrell said.
"Go ahead, we'll finish here," Haden said, as he, Amy, and Adam were busy putting the picnic items away.
"I wanted to talk to you about Adam's education," George said, after they were seated in the den.
"We're seeing that all of our kids are getting an education," Rita quickly responded.
"I didn't mean it the way it may have sounded," George said. "I wanted to know if I could start an education fund for Adam."
"I started one when Adam became part of our family," Darrell said.
"Would it be okay if I contributed $10,000 to that fund?" George asked. "If he decides to become a veterinarian, his education will be very expensive. And I'd be willing to do the same for your other children."
"We're not wealthy, but we would manage somehow," Darrell said. "The one thing I wouldn't want is for Adam to have a huge student loan debt. My first thought was to say no, but I think it would be in his best interest to accept. What do you think, Rita?"
"We can get him through four years of college debt free, but I'm not sure about vet school," Rita said. "I think we should accept this generous offer. I know it would probably cost at least $100,000. As for the other kids, I think that's pretty well covered. They've hardly touched their college fund."
"I'll continue to contribute to his fund then," George said. "We have to remember, he'll have a total of eight years of college to become a veterinarian."
"He's an honor student now," Rita pointed out. "I'm sure he'll have his undergraduate education funded with scholarships, the same as Amy and Haden. His college fund can go toward his veterinarian education ... of course we're assuming that's what he'll eventually decide."
"Since you say the other kids have their education funded; I'll put the entire $40,000 in Adam's fund," George said.
"That's a lot of money," Darrell said.
"I spent a lot of time in Saudi Arabia, and there're not a lot of opportunities to spend money there," George said. "I have a Petroleum Engineering degree ... and I made a lot of money. That brings up another thing I want to talk to you about. I have no close kin ... well, I have no close kin that I care about. I plan to change my will, leaving everything to Adam."
"Even if we opposed it, I don't think we could legally stop you, if we did," Darrel said. "As you're aware, the first eight years of Adam's life weren't very good. He deserves everything he gets."
"I tried sending money for him, but stopped when I found out it was going for drugs," George said.
"Uncle George, I didn't know you were still here," Adam said, when he meandered into the room.
"I was just getting ready to find you to say goodbye," George said. "Adam, you have a wonderful family here, and I'm happy for you."
"Yeah, I do," Adam said with a big grin. "I'll see you again?"
"You bet you will," George said, and gave Adam a hug. "Haden wrote down directions to where you'll be camping; so I'll be there for the cookout, if I get back in time. Rita and Darrell, I want to thank you for letting me see Adam, and for your hospitality. I loved meeting the rest of your family and your friends too."
"I'd say that you're family now too," Darrell said.
Walter and Grace delivered Wade and Ethan Friday morning for the camping trip. The two boys were as excited about camping as Adam had been. "Now, you boys mind Haden and Kyle," Grace warned the boys.
"We will," Ethan promised.
"I'll try," Wade said.
"You'll do more than try," Grace said. "Haden, if he gives you any trouble; call us, and we'll come and get him."
"No, Grandma, I promise to mind Haden," Wade said.
"Kyle's here with Jared, Justin, and Mark," Adam said, after answering the doorbell.
"Now that everybody's here, let's go over a few rules," Haden said. "Make sure you guys are always where Mark, Kyle, or I can see you."
"Yeah, we have to tell one of them even when we go to the toilet," Justin said.
"That's right," Haden said. "After nine, we have to keep it quite, so we don't disturb the other campers."
"Well, what if the other campers disturb us?" Ethan asked.
"I imagine the park rangers will come around and make them be quiet, if they do," Haden said. "Now, are there any questions?"
"Yeah, can Jared and I sleep in the same tent?" Wade asked.
"We have one big tent," Kyle said. "It's called a family tent."
"Way cool," Wade said.
"Guys, we need be on our way, so we can get the tent setup," Haden said. Ethan and Wade, where are your things?"
"They're in Grandpa's truck," Ethan said.
"We'll get them, then be on our way," Haden said. "We'll see everyone Sunday."
"Could I ride with Jared," Wade asked.
"Sure you can," Kyle said, as he was happy to see his brother have a close friend.
"Do you think Mr. and Mrs. Burgess will be camping there again?" Adam asked, as they drove to the lake.
"It's possible, but not likely," Haden said.
"Well, I hope," Adam said. "They were nice."
"There's an empty spot right next to where we camped last year," Haden said, when they arrived at the camp ground.
"That's the Burgess' travel trailer over there too," Adam said. "I'm going over and say hi."
"It's not the same truck, and a lot of those travel trailers look alike," Haden said. "Besides, we need to set up the tent and set up camp. If it's Mr. and Mrs. Burgess, we'll see them later."
By the time the tent was up and vehicles unloaded, it was time for lunch. The boys were plenty happy with ham and cheese sandwiches.
"Let's go fishing," Kyle said to the delight of the younger boys.
"Well, look who's here," Mrs. Burgess said when she and Mr. Burgess came out to greet the boys.
"Mr. and Mrs. Burgess," Adam said, and rushed to give each a hug.
"It appears your little group has grown," Mrs. Burgess said.
"This is Kyle's little brother, Jared; and those two are mine and Adam's cousins Ethan and Wade," Haden said.
"Wasn't there another, bigger boy last year?" Mrs. Burgess asked.
"Yeah, my brother Cody, but he went to computer camp," Mark said.
"You boys catch the fish, and Wesley and I'll be happy to cook them for you," Mrs. Burgess said.
"Now Mary, how do you know they're willing to share?" Mr. Burgess asked.
"You're much better at cooking fish than we are," Kyle said. "We'll be happy to share."
"I'll have everything, so don't bother bringing anything," Mrs. Burgess said.
"We're having another cookout Sunday like last year," Haden said. "We'd love for you to come."
"We'd be pleased to be there," Mrs. Burgess said.
Everyone laughed at Jared's excitement when he caught his first fish. "I hope I catch one," Wade said.
"Wade, you'll catch one," Adam said. "You never know whose bait will attract the next fish."
Everyone had caught at least one fish when Wade finally landed his first fish. His pride was boosted even more when Mark said, "Wade, I think you caught the biggest fish so far."
"I think we have enough fish now," Haden said. "We need to get these cleaned, so Mr. and Mrs. Burgess can cook them."
Mr. and Mrs. Burgess were surprised at the amount of fish the boys had caught. "I think we'll have plenty of fish," Mr. Burgess remarked.
"You're right, even for a bunch of hungry boys," Mrs. Burgess said with a giggle.
"I caught the biggest fish," Wade boasted.
"Mine was almost as big," Jarred said.
The boys stayed and visited with Mr. and Mrs. Burgess until it was almost bed time. Every morsel of fish had been consumed, as well as most of the other food.
The air mattresses were already inflated, and the boys decided to place the sleeping bags on top of the mattresses. Because it was very warm, they also decided to sleep on top of the sleeping bags.
Haden and Kyle were the first to wake up and, after using the bathroom, breakfast was begun. The aroma of bacon apparently woke the others, and they began to emerge from the tent.
"Haden, could I call my mom?" Wade asked after breakfast.
"Are you homesick?"
"No, I want to tell her about the fish I caught."
"Alright, and after you finish, you guys need to go shower."
"Couldn't we go swimming first?" Adam asked.
"I think that'd be okay," Haden agreed.
"Mom, I caught two fish," Wade said into the phone.
"Yeah, one of mine was the biggest one. And Mr. and Mrs. Burgess cooked them for us. I don't know ... Haden will have to tell you who they are. Okay ... Haden, Mom wants to talk to you."
"Hi, Aunt Julie," Haden said. "Mr. and Mrs. Burgess are a nice couple we met last year. Yes, Wade really did catch the biggest fish, and he really did eat fish. I'll send you a picture of him and his fish. He's having a really good time. Okay, we'll see you Sunday."
The cookout was a great success. George did make it back for the event. And Grace and Mary Burgess discovered they had a lot in common, and agreed to visit each other in Covington.