The holiday of Easter is about resurrection and rebirth.
At Bob and Carolyn Averitt's farm out Tates Creek Road, daffodils are erupting in raucous yellow clouds after a harsh winter. New life springs forth.
Bob Averitt, 70, is glad to be alive to see it.
Sure, he's having trouble sleeping, and the scar from his recent surgery is painful. And he can't leave the house to go anywhere except to Cincinnati for checkups for another few weeks. But his gratitude is overwhelming.
Bob has a new kidney, donated by his longtime friend and fellow First United Methodist Church choir member Steve Whyte.
Bob's doctors first noticed his kidney trouble in 2005. A 2010 kidney biopsy found that he had severe diabetic nephropathy. His kidneys were going into permanent decline. He went on a transplant list at the University of Cincinnati in May 2014.
His wife Carolyn — they have been married almost 51 years — said that "a constellation" of friends and relatives offered to donate a kidney. One woman went through testing only to find out that she had kidney disease.
"She came to me and cried and hugged me and said, 'I wanted to be the miracle for Bob,'" Carolyn said. But, Carolyn insisted, having her friend find out about her disease was a miracle of its own.
At the Averitt home there is a devotional poem on display by Albert Mayfield. Carolyn offers it, saying she would cry if she read it aloud.
In part, it goes like this: "I thank God you have become my friend/For friends bring a heavenly bond/ ... Then with one voice, one heart, one spirit/We will praise Christ forever/For our salvation that taught us to love/To love all God's children we must endeavor."
On March 16, the day of the surgery in Cincinnati, Bob's heart trouble flared up, and surgeons had a difficult time extracting Steve Whyte's kidney. Although it took extra hours, the transplant was finally accomplished.
Before Steve, 69, left the hospital a few days later, the two men grasped hands in a picture that made the rounds of their family and friends on Facebook.
Bob would have to have another surgery to remove a hematoma — a pool of blood outside a blood vessel — that formed around the transplanted kidney. Since then he has had, if not smooth sailing, at least a constant pattern of improvement.
Here's the amazing thing about Steve: He doesn't think this business of giving up an organ for another person is a big deal.
"We consider this a privilege, without one iota of concern," he said.
His wife, Peggy, was also immediately on board with her husband's decision.
"To have had those tests and know you are healthy is quite comforting. We were both on board from the get-go. When he decided to put his name on the list, we went with the idea that it was going to be him."
Steve is glad he had a healthy kidney to give, he said. After all, he said, who would not give up an organ to keep a friend alive?
Bob begs to differ: "What he did was a tremendous sacrifice for me. I don't know any adequate way of thanking him."
Carolyn said that both men, while generous, are not exactly milquetoasts. In fact, the two kid around like teenagers when the Whytes make one of their frequent visits to the Averitts.
"They're very much alike," Carolyn says of her husband and his friend. "They're both very independent and opinionated." Both men are retired: Bob from Lexmark, and Steve from his job as an attorney for Occidental Petroleum.
"Bob and I are not spring chickens," Steve said. "We're pushing the (transplant) boundaries just on age."
Bob said that receiving a kidney from Steve, whom he has known for 29 years, is the second time Steve has saved his life. In 2009, Bob fell outside his house during an ice storm, which left him with sixth nerve palsy.
"Steve called me every day during that five months (of healing), and if he was out of town, Peggy called," Bob said.
Without his friend's kidney, Bob would either be dying or already dead. With a functional new kidney, he can expect to live as long as 18 years.
The Averitts and the Whytes live a few miles apart. Their children went to school together at Tates Creek High School. Bob and Steve have long sung in the church choir together, most recently at First United Methodist Church on High Street.
Steve made Bob a certificate commending him for his "adoption" of the kidney, which Steve dubbed "Fred."
"Fred is a 69-year-old robust kidney with a history of good team work," the certificate reads. "He is a hard worker, gets along well with other organs, and is well qualified to step into his new role as Lead Kidney, having successfully filtered over 5 million liters of blood since start up."
Before his transplant surgery, Bob said, his minister Mike Powers and choir director Brock Terry gathered around his bed and prayed.
"All of my anxiety went away," Bob said. "I knew everything was going to be all right. Our faith had a lot to do with how we came through that surgery."
Bob hasn't made it back to the choir. Bob and Carolyn think that's because his muscles, including his vocal cords, were affected by his kidney problems.
Steve joked that two weeks ago, Bob "sounded like a cat with laryngitis."
But each day Bob gets stronger, and his voice is regaining its lower range, strong and clear.
"We'll do anything to get a good bass back in the choir," Steve joked.