By VIVIAN CONRAD
As my mother progresses through her 80s, she is becoming more proactive about addressing items on her bucket list.
Within the past few years she has ticked off cruises with my dad through the Panama Canal, Alaska coast and Amazon River.
Sometimes my siblings and I get pulled into the experience, as we did at last October’s Balloon Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Several weeks ago Mom overheard me planning a trip to Georgia to help my missionary daughter pack crates for their move to Indonesia.
Seizing the opportunity to fulfill another wish from her list, Mom hijacked my trip and rescheduled us for a stopover in Plains, Ga. It has been her longtime desire to attend a Sunday school class taught by former President Jimmy Carter.
So that’s how we found ourselves being frisked by Secret Service agents two Sunday mornings ago. They carefully screened every person who entered the country church on the outskirts of Plains.
Sitting in the second row of the small auditorium, Mom and I experienced a moment of awe as the former president entered the room. I had come of age just in time to vote for Jimmy Carter in my very first presidential election. Now, here was the man himself, dressed modestly in a blazer and bolo tie, his mind sharp and agile.
Having learned that I was a retired missionary, Mr. Carter asked me to open the session with prayer. He then launched into a Bible lesson with quiet passion, his words and expression filled with love for the Lord and for Scripture.
After the morning worship service, he and his wife – pronounced Rose, like the flower, Lynn – allowed us to be photographed with them before they boarded a plane for Washington, where they would attend President Barack Obama’s inauguration the next day.