Life Outside the Blog: The Long Trip to Belhaven, North Carolina

My mother-in-law has recently been placed in hospice care for terminal lung cancer. My wife, Denise, has been been with her for the last several days, and I’ve been fending for myself. She came home Thursday to rest and to tend to some errands, and then we left Tuscaloosa together early Saturday morning to head to east North Carolina — somewhere beyond Belhaven — about a 12-hour drive from here. So we spelled each other driving, and I visited with my in-laws late Saturday night and early this morning.

My in-laws live so far out of town that they’re literally 45 minutes from AT&T cell phone coverage. Of course, it is AT&T. I mean, Belhaven has a Hardees, and no AT&T coverage at all.

I had to come back today to go to work tomorrow, so I hit the road to the Raleigh-Durham airport (3 hours away) at 12:30 and just now hit Tuscalooosa. I’m tired.

I’ll be meeting Denise in Gatlinburg on Wednesday, most likely. We have long-standing plans to spend a few days there with friends and then watch Alabama whip Tennessee (I say that with less confidence now that SC whipped us and then turned around and lost to Kentucky). I’m not sure what the internet connection will be like — if any — in the mountains. So I’ll try to continue the “Man or Plan” series but I may not be able post on a daily basis. I’ll try to get some new posts written the next two nights, and then it’ll be catch as catch can through the weekend.

As tough as the trip to NC has been, it’s been much worse on Denise. She’s the oldest of six, and she’s been staying up to watch her mother, who requires 24-hour supervision. Fortunately, the other kids live much closer and have been taking turns, but she’s worn out and needs Gatlinburg much more than I do. Of course, with anyone in hospice care, you have to keep your plans flexible, and so there’s no telling what the next several days will be like.

During our 12-hour drive to the edge of the earth, Denise and I tried to follow college football games on the radio (East Carolina is big in those parts) and grab internet connections to follow other games. We got to “watch” Wisconsin beat Ohio State (Go Badgers!) by following scores on my iPhone, during very spotty coverage. I literally had Denise’s phone in one hand and mine in the other, reading her play-by-play game action from Ohio State/Wisconsin and Alabama/Ole Miss as it would download via iPhone applications. Of course, we’d drop out of coverage every 10 miles and then catch up and have 5 or 6 plays at once. Still … it was better than nothing — which is about all you can say about AT&Ts coverage, especially it’s very spotty 3G coverage. It beats nothing.

I’m seriously considering switching to the Droid and Verizon. I love my iPhone. I’m actually addicted to it. But I live in the middle of Tuscaloosa, a community of 250,000 people, and get 1 bar at my house. And I live very much in town. In fact, I’d love to hear from readers what their experience with the Droid has been. Everyone here is an iPhone user, but everyone here has learned to hate AT&T’s service.

During football games here, you can’t get a signal at all — which is a serious safety concern. If you need an ambulance anywhere near the stadium on game day, you are flat out of luck. And coverage drops out at 5:00 around here just because of our version of rush hour. So AT&T has left me very unhappy, and I’m wondering whether Verizon/Droid would be better.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Life Outside the Blog: The Long Trip to Belhaven, North Carolina

  1. Ric says:


    Tell Denise that Krista and I are praying for her and her mother, and I guess that has to include you as well.


  2. nick gill says:

    Praying for you and yours, brother. Love you and appreciate you very much.

    and my father-in-law replaced the iPhone he lost while mowing hay with the new Droid on Verizon… he ABSOLUTELY loves it.

  3. The iPhone is a great computer-phone combination. Use it as such. For emergency and travel cell phone use, buy the cheapest cell phone you can on another carrier that covers your areas of interest better.

  4. Rich W says:

    Prayers for your father-in-law and your family.

  5. Ray says:

    Did not know things were so busy and the situation delicate for you and your family. Will offer prayers for all of you.

  6. Price says:

    Blessings and Shalom peace on you and your family during these difficult and trying times…
    I was in a tree stand this weekend and was able to text most of the time…and I was WAY outside Atlanta…I'm thinking somebody from the state capitol needs to make a phone call to AT&T to discuss the Tuscaloosa reception. I bet they'd put up a cell tower or two if they thought not doing so would embarrass them…or, pull together some investors and put up one and earn some extra money….
    Looking forward to TCU playine Boise State for the National Championship…..NOT !!

  7. Sam says:

    Jay, prayers going up for your mother-in-law and family.

    Next time you have to fly into or out of Raleigh, I'd love to take you to lunch, and have the chance to meet and chat.

  8. Rachel says:

    So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Will keep you and Denise in my prayers.

    My daughter recently got a Droid 2 and absolutely loves it. I've got AT&T cell service, and I find the reception awful in North Carolina and South Carolina for some reason. It's annoying, especially since they advertise 97% coverage in the U.S. I guess I must just travel to those 3% areas. I too have considered switching to Verizon, but I hate to give up all my rollover minutes. If Verizon offered those too, I'd switch in a heartbeat — and even pay the early termination fee!!

  9. Brent says:

    The Droid and Verizon are Awesome!!! Will pray for your Mother-in-law

  10. You and Denise are very much in my prayers.

  11. xray342 says:

    I'm praying for Denise and your mother-in-law. My minister has lost his father and an uncle in the last few weeks.

  12. Neal Roe says:

    You're sharing with us the truths of God every day and we are thankful for you and your family. Prayers for you all. Thank you for sharing your humanity as well as your intellect. God is good.

  13. Justin says:

    jay, sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. Thanks for this blog. I have a Motorola droid and I absolutely love it. i was at the RVL seminar in Birmingham last year and I'm ticked that I didn't get to shake your hand. Keep up the Lord's work my friend.

Leave a Reply