My daughter and I were invited by my parents to join them for a Fish Fry last night. I've never been to a fish fry before, though I've anxiously wanted to for years. So we were on board. My daughter, Melody, had a half-day of school, which meant my father would pick her up and take her to their place. I was working at our Glenn Dale facility yesterday, which made it very convenient to drive straight to my parent's Bowie home. We all piled into our Jeep and drove to Faith United Methodist Church in Accokeek, MD.
The pastor of Faith UMC is an old family friend, George Aist. Rev. Aist has been "my" pastor since I was 12 years old. He and his wife, Mary, were appointed to Bells UMC in Camp Springs, MD, in 1981, which was our church home beginning in 1978. My mother was hired as the church's secretary, and we were very involved in church activities. Bells was a great church community. Rev. Aist guided me through my path towards a relationship with Christ, and we became great friends as the years went by. I think he had hopes that I would follow through with a desire to enter the ministry, and though I considered it, particularly as I became active in youth ministry, my fledgling government cartography career took precedence.
The Aists were a great help to our family when we were in a tragic car accident that took the lives of my grandparents. Later, he participated in my wife's and my wedding ceremony, and still later, he helped me when my wife died, in 2004. We have been very close over the years, and it's amazing to me how often our paths have crossed. My mother became the secretary at Bethel UMC about a decade ago, and, ironically, Rev. Aist was appointed to that church a few years later. I can't help but think that the Lord had a role in that happening. Anyway, Rev. Aist retired to his family's farm in Cheltenham a few years ago, though that didn't stop him from acting as a "substitute" pastor when needed, which is how he ended up at Faith UMC.
Faith has been having their Fish Fry for a couple of years, and they seem to have it down pretty well. It costs $10, and they stretch it out over three Fridays (3/28, 4/4, & 4/11). You get a lot of food! The fish is a white fish, which isn't my favorite, but it is seasoned very nicely, and with a little tartar sauce, it is fantastic. With three fillets, you also get hushpuppies, fries, a bowl of baked beans, and some incredibly delicious, sweet cole slaw. For a dollar more, you can get a homemade dessert (cakes, pies, or cookies). It was a lot of fun and really tasty, and the folks at Faith are so nice. It was great catching up with the Aists, as well. I hadn't seen them in a few years, and they had a hard time believing how much Melody has grown. Rev. Aist is such a kind, good-hearted soul, and a wonderful, faithful pastor. He's the type of guy you just enjoy being around. He's kind of like a grandfather to me. I'm so glad that my parents remain close to them, and we have opportunities to see them as often as we do.
We arrived home kind of late last night, and were very tired. Today (Saturday), my daughter and I are going on an adventure to visit the cemetery where my grandparents are buried, a place I haven't visited in almost two decades, in Falls Church, VA. We're also excited to have lunch at a restaurant we "discovered" down in Pigeon Forge, TN, a few years ago, called the Mellow Mushroom, a pizza chain that we enjoyed. They have a location in DC, so we're going to try to find it. It will be a fun activity for a rainy Saturday.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!