Written June 2017
August 9-11: Omagh, Northern Ireland
Sites: Outside of our time spent with Tom, we walked through the town and its memorials that honored those who had been victim to the civil war bombings in 1998. We also visited the Giant’s Causeway, which was an unusual world wonder marked as Northern Ireland’s only Unesco World Heritage site. The hexagonal stone columns and rock formations seemed fake. Here we also walked a rope bridge that scared me more than it should have!
Lodging: In Omagh, we stayed with Tom Henry, an older man Lance baptized while on his mission. Tom was a fabulous host and our time with him was refreshing. His home was modest but spacious and comfortable. Inside the walls were covered in memories and many, many pictures of missionaries, including several of Lance. In the entry way were framed head shots of Lance and his companion Cory Christensen, the missionaries who found and baptized Tom. They were the original photos that the boys used as introductions when posting positive messages on all the houses in the neighborhood. Tom also had framed several keepsakes, including a pass along card Lance had written on and the Christmas cards we have sent him every year. Outside was a meticulously kept garden.
We spent the majority of our time in the sitting room drinking “a cuppa” (hot chocolate) and eat biscuits (cookies). He wouldn’t take no for an answer yet the richness was too much for me — I often dumped my drink when he wasn’t looking, or traded my full cup with Lance’s half empty one. He and Lance talked for hours, and most nights I excused myself to sleep and shower. Tom’s room was on a mid-level that separated the ground and second floors. It was small with a twin bed and dresser. I remember passing it each day and feeling lonely on his behalf. Our room was upstairs with a private bathroom, which was stocked with expensive shampoos and conditioners, nice towels and other toiletries, blow dryers etc. It was obvious he plays host regularly. Our room had pictures of his deceased wife in it. The room looked as though I imagine it did when she was alive. It had a woman’s touch with lace-lined bedding and doilies on the dressers.