If you just read my last chapter, "Coaching Plum, wearing purple?" you probably think the best part of our first year at Plum had to be winning that state championship. Whelp, not even close...
You see, the best part, was meeting an extraordinary family, not knowing that their strength would be the lesson we were there to learn.
The McDowell's. Gretchen, single mother of three. One in college, two in high school. This set up would stress any couple plenty, but she was doing it alone! We never pried or ask, we could just sense that Mr. McDowell's passing had happened recently. It wasn't talked about, and so we respectfully stayed away from the subject.
David, the oldest. We met Dave when he came home from college at William and Mary, where he was a standout wide receiver. I sensed we needed to win Dave over. He was suspicious of our friendship with his family. Under the circumstances, we totally understood. Dave was thrust into the man of the house role, and now he was away from that home. It couldn't have been easy for him.
Jenny, the young girl I described in the last chapter as angry and alone. There was a storm brewing it her. She had taken whatever had happened to her father the worst, and she wasn't afraid to show it. But like most people, inside that tough outer shell she put on was a hurt kid who needed a push in the right direction.
Ellen and I were determined to help with that shove!
Amy, the youngest. Amy always felt like a little sister to me, maybe because she reminded me of my own little sister also named Amy. She was quick to laugh and funny to be around. Whatever happened affected her the least, she was just too young to take it all in.
The McDowell's. A walking, talking, lesson in grace, faith and courage, mostly because the woman in charge who taught us lessons we didn't even know we were getting, ones that looking back, were no coincidence.
On many nights, driving home from a visit to their home on Tahoe St. Ellen and I would say to each other how much better we always felt after spending time with Gretchie, Jenny and Amy. There was something very powerful, very good about Gretchen McDowell, her influence on her three children, and the idea that we happened into their lives at this point. Just another wonderful case of being in the intersection at just the right time.,,
Gretchen passed away a few years ago, and though I miss her very much, most times I know the kind of things she'd say, and I can tell you with great certainty that she is still helping us today.
With all my love to you, David, Jenny, and Amy!