29 June 2011
24 June 2011
22 June 2011
News of the first one's passing came as a shocking sting since I had seen him only the week before and he seemed his normal jovial and mischievous self. Just before attending his funeral, word came of the second one's death. River City lost a couple of greats that week. For me, memories were brought back to mind with tidbits of wisdom sprinkled in.
Bill offered sage advice on politics.....but probably the wisdom imparted that stuck with me the most was his comment that he was so thankful he lost his re-election bid for city council 50+ years ago. I find some comfort in that. He also was a collector-of everything it seemed. Finally when his wife said it was time to clean out the basement and closets, our family was the recipient of many of his archives....well, old magazines and other "treasures". He would show up at my office with a box load of things and say "Betty tells me its time to clean out another closet". This happened every few months over the years and I have to say, we did end up with some pretty cool stuff. I think my favorite was when he showed up with a box of old cassette tapes that his son had recorded Prairie Home Companion shows on from the 1980s.
Jim had so many stories to tell....some of them true. And he wasn't from this politically correct generation, as he referred to me as the "little Hindu". I'm about as Anglo-Saxon as they come, but evidently didn't look so to Jim. I called his office once and complained about how the city fixed the flooding in the viaduct in front of our house. He asked me if it was because I didn't have anywhere for my camel to get a drink. I teared up once when I read a speech for my great aunt upon her being awarded the Sagamore of the Wabash. He took me aside and said he was going to have to toughen me up for politics.
Both were remarkable men of another generation, and different sides of the aisles. Both wanted what was best for River City and offered about all the encouragement I could have asked for. I wonder in those 91 and 83 years if there were rough edges that were worn down, if there were times when hope seemed lost, or opportunities to say "forget this". I mentioned to my wife the other day that for the last 15 years I've lived my life for everyone else and it was time to start thinking about us. She said that was contrary to the message on Sunday. Oh sure, bring God into this.....as if He's not on my case already.
16 June 2011
That first coffee in the barn was accompanied by a pretty amazing sunrise. So we opened all four large barn doors and took in the sights and smells of an Indiana summer morning in the country. We continued meeting there until both darkness and chill put a damper on things.
Well yesterday I suggested that we resume coffees in the barn this morning. I brewed the coffee and placed it in a large thermos and found a few mugs. When I walked out the back door I was awestruck looking out across the back pasture from our back porch. The warm golden sun was casting long shadows across the lawn and pasture, and a patchy fog was moving across the ground. It was sun-drenched and radiated that golden color.
I hiked up the hill leading to the barn and rolled open the large barn doors, which startled the Red Tailed Hawk that perches daily on the ridge of the barn. The breeze blew through the old oak timbers and captured the smell of hay and sweet grass. With the barn swallows darting through and the bright sun peeking between the cracks of the barn siding, coffees resumed on the Hill.
08 June 2011
02 June 2011
We hadn't gotten too far into Indiana from Illinois when this happy steer put a smile on my face despite the gloomy skies above. A bit further down the road my observant driver spotted Calvary on the south side of the road in Munster. What's that doing up there I wondered. Knowing that we were on a tight time frame to make it across the state during daylight hours, of course, we stopped.
And it was the best stop of the day.
We gathered up a few photos, walked briskly through the stations of the cross (backwards I think, and we missed a few....that's the trouble with us Protestants), but we couldn't help but be drawn to the unique material the shrine was made from during the 1950s. Sponge rock from Arkansas. Never heard of it. But it was used in masterful precision. I was headed back to the car when my driver (sounds like I'm Amish) began talking to some older gentlemen who looked like they were heading off to do some important work. They planned to spend the day in the tomb switching light bulbs. What? So they invited us into the tomb below Calvary and it was one of the more impressive places I think I've been in here in ol' Indiana.
Now, my pictures (stupid camera) didn't do this place justice. It was really quite remarkable. I went online and found this link that has a little better photography than my orange blurs, and more history: http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11529 . I think what was so amazing was the use of light and stone together in the tomb. And just so that you don't think I wasn't reverent, I asked if it was ok to take pictures, and I did spend a little contemplative time before rolling the stone away and getting back on Route 6.
The one picture that turned out perfectly was the one of my hand. I was inspired with all kinds of thoughts and spiritual applications when I placed my hand on the stone, unfortunately they escape me now. I'll be sure to post more on my travels on Route 6 soon.