That changed the night before when my neighbor, Margaret Jackson, called.
Two Reinhardt University students, Phoebe Budd and Galina Rolf, were at her house. Galina had a problem and Phoebe was trying to help her.
Galina had an appointment the next morning for an interview for an internship in downtown Decatur. The person who was to take her had cancelled.
Since Phoebe knew Margaret from their church, she and Galina had gone to her house for help. I agreed to be Galina’s taxi for the day.
So, the next morning we met at the Gordy Center on the Reinhardt campus. I was glad when I saw Phoebe was going with us. I felt sure that would make Galina more comfortable. After all, I was a total stranger.
Naturally, we talked full time. Phoebe is a Georgia girl who has lived her life like most of us do. Galina is Russian and came to the U.S. with her adoptive parents.
I found her story fascinating. Michael and Joan Rolf had learned about her from an adoption agency when she was 4.
At the same time, the Rolfs adopted another child from the same orphanage. He was 2. Since his birth name is hard for many to pronounce, he is called Stephan. He and Galina do not have the same birth parents.
As told by her parents, on the plane bringing them from Russia, Galina kept looking for Stephan. Her new father held her up so she could see him. When the plane landed, her American grandfather met them at the airport.
As you would expect, the Rolfs spoke English. Galina spoke her native language — Russian. She quickly learned English from her parents and her kindergarten classmates.
Growing up in Fort Thomas, Ky., she had a wonderful childhood. When she was in the sixth grade she got a horse for Christmas. She and the horse, Bush, even participated competitively at equestrian events.
Galina traveled and studied abroad — going to Spain and Italy. In Stratford, Canada, she studied Shakespeare.
The family went on vacations and most recently spent Christmas and New Year’s Day at their condo in Key West, Fla.
Now at Reinhardt University, Galina is getting a degree in global communications.
When talking with her, it is very evident Galina is appreciative of all her parents have done for her. She describes them as loving and supportive.
The Rolfs have nurtured her interest in her Russian heritage. Her mother has prepared Russian food. Galina wants to learn to make beef stroganoff herself.
They have given her all the information they have about her early years in Russia, including her Russian birth certificate and her Russian passport.
She knows she was baptized into the Catholic Church while in the orphanage and she has an older sister.
A very bright young lady, Galina has a plan for her future. She will finish college and start a career. Next comes saving money for a very important trip.
She will go to Russia to meet her birth family. A big part of her plan is for Michael and Joan Rolf to go with her. She wants her birth mother to meet them and see what wonderful people they are.
Then there is part two of her plan. Galina wants to adopt two children from a Russian orphanage and care for them as Michael and Joan Rolf did for her and Stephan.
Unfortunately, because of recent action by Russian President Vladimir Putin, part two is in jeopardy. Putin signed a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children.
Phoebe was an important part of our Atlanta-Decatur trip. First, she was Galina’s coach, reminding her to change from her Uggs to her dress shoes and to pull down the jacket of her very professionally styled suit before the interview.
She also gave her tips on what to say and how to say it.
Then as we toured downtown Atlanta, Phoebe, who is very familiar with the city, pointed out sites like the Fox Theatre and the Varsity.
So, on a day when I had planned to do nothing, I did a lot.
It was a good day. I made friends with two wonderful young ladies, toured the sites of Atlanta for the umpteenth time, laughed often and came home with a new goal.
I will find a recipe for beef stroganoff, go to the grocery store to get the things I need to make it and invite my new friends, plus Margaret Jackson, over for dinner.
Marguerite Cline is the former mayor of Waleska.