Greetings from sunny Orlando, Florida! Well, actually I’m in Kissimmee and it’s late at night. But I wanted to take a moment to tell you what you can expect from On the Jericho Road this week.
I’m down here for my annual Spring Training excursion. I started coming to Florida for a week each spring about ten years ago. Up until this year I came with Dr. Howard Giddens, my college professor/mentor/adopted father. Dr. Giddens started coming in the late 1940s, accompanied by his father and brother. Eventually they were joined by a large contingent of men from the church that Dr. Giddens pastored at the time, the First Baptist Church of Athens, Georgia. After a number of years the gang was reduced to just Dr. Giddens and his brother. Dr. Giddens invited me to come for many years; I finally made time when he told me that if I wouldn’t do the driving he would have to stop going.
For six or seven years it was just Dr. Giddens and me. I can’t even begin to tell you what those trips meant to me. He shared so much of his life and wisdom with me during those trips. Two years ago two men from my church, The Hill Baptist Church in Augusta, GA, came with us. One of those men and another one came last year. This year I am glad that I am accompanied by three men from the church. But I am sad to report that Dr. Giddens was unable to come this year. He is 96 years old now and cannot make the trip. We continue to come in his honor. In fact, on the way down on Sunday evening, we stopped and had supper at a Sonny’s barbecue restaurant, which was the place that he always wanted to stop and eat. Dr. Giddens is not with us but in a very real sense he is, for he will come up in conversation every day. Everything we do will lead me to think, “When Dr. Giddens was here we would....” I warned my companions that I would often give voice to those thoughts. They said that was fine.
Here is our schedule.
Monday: Indians @ Braves at The Ballpark at Disney
Tuesday: Cardinals @ Dodgers at Dodgertown, Vero Beach
Wednesday: Braves @ Nationals at Space Coast Stadium, Viera
Thursday: Mets @ Braves at Disney
Friday: Braves @ Phillies at Clearwater
All week long I’ll be posting about what I see on the field; I’ll especially be sharing my impressions on the 2007 Atlanta Braves. So if you like baseball, come by every day this week. If you don’t like baseball, come back on Sunday, March 25, and I’ll be on to other things!