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Long-Awaited Radnor Hike with Jim Arnett

March 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment · books, friends, gear, Radnor Lake, washington

After months of planning, the day finally arrived: a scheduled Radnor Lake jaunt with dear old friend Jim Arnett (who is a part-time adventurer; be sure to read about his Washington Cascades adventures ).

jim arnett and stephen frasier at portland brew in Nashville, february 2008

It had been raining off and on most of the morning, but there seemed to be quite a few breaks in the precipitation; so the hike was not necessarily jeopardized, especially given Jim’s adventurous inclinations. A quick viewing of the current Nashville radar revealed spotty showers would continue throughout the morning. I called Jim to feel him out and he said he was preparing for the hike. Well, I wasn’t about to wuss out; we cemented our 9am Radnor event.

a stunning beautiful foggy morning, somewhere

I arrived at the Granny White parking lot at 9am, and I knew Jim would arrive momentarily after he dropped of his youngest at kindergarten – my alma mater, Otter Creek. As I drove past, I briefly recalled being the only one in my 1971 kinderclass who cried when a severe thunderstorm hit, and sitting in the teacher’s lap as she rocked and read stories to us. (I wonder when I became such a huge fan of inclement weather; it must have been after kindergarten.) I passed a few moments by reading a few entries in my current spiritual journal.

Jim arrived soon after the rain started again. We pulled on our hoods and met each other halfway in the parking lot. I noticed the rain drops beading and bouncing off his high-quality, all-weather attire and felt a twinge of envy as the rain falling onto me was absorbed into my cap. He suggested – and I quickly concurred – that we go grab a cup o’joe in lieu of hiking.

driving during a Nashville storm

I followed Jim in the heavier and heavier rain to Portland Brew for a taste of the northwest – a bold taste. There were quite a few brew aficionados there already, but we handily snagged a table. There were so many brewsters there I was forced to park next door, and the possibility of being towed haunted me a bit throughout our tarriance.

After the first sip, I became an instant Portland Brew fan (one among many): the coffee is bold, the mugs are big, the clientele is hip, and the Internet connection is free. In fact, there were more people using their laptops here than at the Green Hills Starbucks (yelp) I have been frequenting on recent mornings; I will certainly use Portland Brew as an office in the very near future.

Our stopover was so engaging that my car tow haunting receded as much as it possibly could have. Jim Arnett and I have not talked – I mean, really talked – in quite some time, and it was wonderful catching up. We spoke of books, spirituality, ecology, spiritual ecology, politics, residential construction, Brown’s Creek, Otter Creek, mutual friends, and other miscellany.

jayber crow by wendell berry

Ah, books. Jimbo, as I affectionately called Jim back in the day, told me about two books he’d read recently which sounded interesting. The two authors come from identical ilk (identical to Jim and me, that is: Tennessee churches of Christ), making them almost instantly relevant, and have written cutting-edge (from a church of Christ perspective, that is) books about the application of this brand of Christianity to America’s current socio-political environment, or something along those lines.

Author Wendell Berry (about WB) came up in our absorbing conversation as well; I told Jim I’d recently purchased Berry’s A Place on Earth but had not read it yet. The only Berry book we’ve both read is Jayber Crow, and we lavished praise upon it as it deserves.

By the time we left, we’d set up a book exchange and dinner at his family’s Dale Avenue residence on an evening yet to be determined. Later in the day, his wife Danna had settled on a date and extended an invitation via email, which I excitedly accepted. All that remains is for me to carefully document and forward to Danna my dietary demands for next Thursday evening. 🙂

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One Comment so far ↓

  • Jim Arnett

    Nice post. I hope next time we can end up on the trail first and THEN go get coffee. Just to clarify one point: while he was raised in Tennessee in a traditional evangelistic surrounding, the author of Irresistible Revolution, Shane Clairborne is not a “church of Christer”: Methodist, I think. I don’t want to monopolize the challenging religious backgrounds :).