His name is Caleb Doyle.
He lives in Jacksonville, Oregon, a charming historic town that you would never just happen upon, you have to be intending to go there. But if you are wondering, it’s worth the intending.
You’ll have to go soon, though, if you are hoping to meet Caleb. He’ll be heading off to college this coming Fall.
“At UGA,” he said. “That’s University of Georgia.”
He was assuming that I wouldn’t know what UGA stood for, seeing how we were having this exchange at the Frau Kemmling Schoohaus BrewHaus, where Caleb works and where Tim and I joined friend Julie for a meal last week.
By the way, it does not matter in the least that I was born in Stuttgart, I remain woefully unable to enjoy German food of any sort. There was nothing on the menu that appealed to me in the least, although Tim found a bounty of dishes to consume. (I would never eat anything with the name Doner, I protested when Caleb suggested the Doner salad. Tim loved it. I got by with fries.)
I asked Caleb why he picked UGA as his destination university. Seeing how it’s not the school of choice for most students raised up in Oregon.
“My dad’s from Georgia,” Caleb said.
“Atlanta/Columbus,” he replied.
“Columbus? Really? I grew up there.”
“No way!” Caleb exclaimed. Then he went on to tell me about his grandmother who lives in Columbus.
Turns out Caleb’s dad, Patrick Doyle, went to high school in Columbus. He’s a pastor at Lumen Dei Church and a counselor at Veritas Counseling in Jacksonville now. (Lumen Dei is associated with the teachings of John Piper).
The conversation at the table was like trying to find the correct street off a roundabout. Tim and Jules, old classmates from Judson Baptist College, swapped stories about people I knew mostly by name only, while Caleb and I swapped stories about Georgia and turnip greens and that upcoming play at the Springer Opera House. MOTHER OF RAIN, the stage play, is debuting in only ONE WEEK!!!
I told Caleb about all the friends I have who are UGA grads and benefactors.
He told me about his hopes and plans for his future at UGA.
I told him to send his grandmama out to see the play at the Springer.
He said he would.
It seems like I stumble across my own history in the most unlikely of places at the most random of times.
Does that ever happen to you?
If you find yourself in Jacksonville sometime this summer, stop by the Brewhaus and look up Caleb. Tell him I sent you. Give him a hug and leave him a nice tip. He’s headed to college. He’ll need it.
And if you live in Columbus and know Grandmama Doyle, tell her what a lovely grandson she has.
He’s going to do UGA proud, I’m sure.Karen Spears Zacharias is author of MOTHER OF RAIN (Mercer Univ. Press). An Appalachian novel adapted for the stage by Paul Pierce, Springer Opera House.