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Up and down week end with a blessing

By Walter Geiger Our family endured a week of ups and downs that started with a major down last Tuesday when the youngest daughter, Livia Lanier, suffered a major knee injury in a soccer match. Livia Lanier has been playing since she was four and is a warrior. When she went down and could not get up without assistance, we knew it was bad. It turned out to be a ruptured medial collateral ligament. Still, she asked the trainers to wrap her knee so she could go back in. She tried to run but just couldn’t and, thankfully, spent the rest of the game on the bench. She had an MRI Friday but her freshman high school soccer season is over. Things brightened over the weekend when we visited our eldest, May Melton, in Athens for Phi Mu parents weekend. We took in the distinctive downtown Athens nightlife and had several excellent meals. On Saturday night, Phi Mu hosted a big dance with a Motown band and a silent auction to benefit UGA Miracle, an effort to aid children’s hospitals. It was a great event where we saw old friends and made new ones. After a gorgeous Saturday, Sunday dawned cold and cloudy. We had planned to meet Laura’s uncle, cousin and other family members at First Methodist Church in downtown Athens for the 11 a.m. worship service. Alas, a pipe had broken and the hotel had no hot water. The temptation to go back to bed and sleep in was strong. But, we persevered. I took a brief, frigid shower and the girls did as girls do ‘“ fragrancing themselves with various concoctions to the point you would have thought they had enjoyed long, hot baths in the grand Roman tradition. We made it to the church just in the nick of time and scrambled to seats in the magnificent sanctuary’s balcony. It was Youth Sunday and young people had charge of the service with three of them charged with giving the sermon. Lo and behold, we had personal connections with two of the three. Anna Alyssa McKoy is a beautiful young lady. When we first moved to Barnesville in 1979, we bought the home of her great grandmother Sarah McKoy on Thomaston Street. Her grandfather, Bill McKoy, is a retired Methodist minister and practiced sermons as a young man standing on a distinctive stairway landing shelf in the home. Rev. McKoy preached for many years at FUMC Athens and recalled Laura’s parents visiting there back when they spent weekends in Athens for football games and other events. Next to the pulpit was Ben Butler. Ben is the son of Rhett Butler who grew up in Barnesville and his wife, Betsy, who is minister of missions at FUMC Athens. Ben is the grandson of Linda Rainey of Barnesville. His grandfather, my good friend Bobby Butler, died of cancer in 2005. Like all the Butlers, Ben has a great personallity and is a smooth, gifted public speaker. After the service, we caught up with Ben, his mom and Bill McKoy and reminisced for awhile. And, that was how a week of ups and downs ended with a blessing. It is, indeed, a small world and we are all blessed. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder for those blessings. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette.

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