Originally published in the 2017 Spring Quarterly Explorer

Reviving a past tradition, 30 youth boarded a bus on a rainy Saturday morning in December without knowing there they were going, nor the type of food they would be having for lunch. The rules on the adventure were simple: the youth minister had to find a place no youth had seen and then find a restaurant where they had no eaten before. This has lead to some interesting trips. The youth have eaten at a truck stop on Interstate 95, the cafeteria at the Medical College, the North Pole, and the cafeteria at the Pottery in Williamsburg. This year, the bus left the church parking lot and headed south on 360.

Ninety minutes later, the bus pulled into the parking lot at Bevell’s Hardware store in Blackstone, VA. They had come to see the train exhibit at the store. This is no ordinary train display. The exhibit occupies 1/3 of the floor space in the hardware store. There are trains, buildings and lay-outs of every description. The display has become a tradition in Southside, Virginia. The rain stopped just as the group left the store for a walk to the Happy Café for lunch. The owner of the restaurant closed her place early to give us the necessary room for lunch. Most of the youth will always remember how to get to Blackstone and the Happy Café.

After returning to Richmond, the group had a White Elephant gift exchange. As always, the party ended with donuts from Krispy Kreme and milk. Even rain and cold can be tolerated when hot donuts are served. It was a great beginning to the holiday season!

Photos by Emily Phillips