We’ve No Less Days


I picked up the copy of the Sunday bulletin for the 60th anniversary service of the Alta Woods UMC.   On the front page was the customary wide-angle photo of the church sanctuary.  In the lower left of the photo was another steeple, that of the Alta Woods Baptist Church.  If the photo could pan a hundred yards or so to the right, you would see the Alta Woods Presbyterian Church, and a few hundred yards to the right of that was the Carmelite Monastery.

 
I would see a group of the Carmelite Nuns each Saturday morning at the A&P as they did their grocery shopping.  I didn’t really know how to address them, “Miz” just didn’t seem right, so I just called them “Sister”, even though I wasn’t a Catholic.  It didn’t seem to bother them, though.  And between school, the A&P, and sleep, the true passion of my week was the time that I was able to spend with the youth of Alta Woods United Methodist Church.  Because for me, there was only one “Alta Woods.”  And coming back to celebrate this occasion was something  wonderful.  So full of tenderness and love, that I believe  that the celebration, not just the date on the calendar, is the real gift  to share and remember.

Forty years ago, the youth group was huge.  I don’t remember exact numbers, but I think maybe 100 or so high-school aged folks would get together each Sunday afternoon for choir and Sunday evening for MYF, and on Wednesday evenings for Bible Study.  Some of the parents in the adult Sunday School classes could probably give a better estimate, as they volunteered to feed this ravenous bunch of teenagers every Sunday afternoon.
Late night Kung Fu episodes at Sue Mac’s, choir tours, and lot of other activites contributed to what Travis Tichenor described to me this morning as  “a magical time that we were all fortunate to be a part of.”  I’ll always be grateful to Travis for inviting me to come to the youth choir that Sunday that my family visited Alta Woods for the first time.  I got that chance today, to thank him.  That was cool.   I suppose I should have also thanked him for prompting Sam Morris to let me sing the solo part of “I Believe in You.”   I was the new guy, and way to diffident to ask for myself.  David White told me today that he thinks of that song every time he thinks of me.

I didn’t get much time to talk with Murray  Nichols.  I hate that.  I spent many hours with ol’ Murray in his red VW.  Murray made me an 8-track copy of the first Dan Fogelberg concert that was broadcast on WZZQ.  I played that tape until it was unplayable.   I think I learned all the guitar and vocal parts to every song on that tape.  Thanks Murray.  I miss you, Bud.

I wish I could have gotten to everyone that I wanted to visit with.  And for those that couldn’t come, I missed them too.  The memories were as sweet as the pecan pie at the covered dish lunch.  It was delicious, by the way, and my wife didn’t believe me when I told her later, that I didn’t go back for seconds.  But I couldn’t have seconds and see the people that I wanted to see.  These are the people who shared their love for God with me, who loved me and welcomed me to their lives, and to this day, even though I rarely see them, are some of my best friends that I have, or will ever have.   And, even though it hadn’t occurred to me until just now, I spent only two years in this nurturing cocoon.  In my typical Baby-Boomer fashion, I find myself surprised to realize that the entire history of this congregation didn’t revolve around those two years.  So many other souls have been a part of the Alta Woods family, so many I’ve never known, but on this day, we were one in the Spirit, breaking bread together.

And now I am reflecting on memories of years gone by, of places and people dear to me.  Family, friends, fellowship, tender love:  it really doesn’t get any better than this in this lifetime.   And that, my friends, makes the next one even more amazing to contemplate.

3 Responses

  1. There is no friend(s) like an old friend(s).
    They not only know who you truly are, they know where your scars are and how you got them.
    Cherished memories of our youth and the people we shared those memories with are indelible and irreplaceable.

  2. Going Home

    I was just passing through my childhood hometown
    And noticed the old school was razed to the ground.

    The path I had trod from my home to its doors
    Was paved over
    and painted
    and not there anymore.

    Nostalgic, I followed the now missing path
    In hopes it would take me someplace in my past.

    A place where the sky rang with laughter and shouts
    And we chased one another in mystical bouts.

    Bouts of wonder and fancy, of Kings and their pawns
    But the path to that moment was paved over and gone.

    And there in its place were realities pains.
    The sum of existence in losses and gains.

    And the anguish rose up in my throat in a rush
    As my sum was the balance of dreams that were crushed.

    I stood on that path now paved over and gone
    And my tears stained its paint as I wrote down this poem.

  3. Thank you, sir. You do have a gift!

Comments are closed.

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