Making the leaves fall up
I must confess I didnít pay much attention to when this leaf or that one fell to the ground. For me to give you an accurate accounting I would have to have all the leaves fall back on to the tree, then watch them fall again. Even that wouldnít work because Iíd get distracted and forget to stay on task. For me life is a lot more than the chronological order of events. To be sure I got from being born naked to wearing gray hair in chronological order. And yes Iím sure that chronology had something to do with it.
While the order of things may be important to some folks it seems to me to pale when compared to the events themselves.
We moved to Goodrich Settlement the summer Benny threw me into the thistle. I was sure I was going to hate it there but his older brother Donnie explained I had to be initiated. After all I wasnít a country kid yet. Donnie said nobody becomes a soldier without going through basic training. Getting thrown in that thistle was the first phase of basic for me.
Phase two started the day Peter explained the rules to a local game called ďSmear the man with the ball.Ē I was handed a football while Donnie counted to five. Before I digested all the rules, seven boys and one girl drove my face six inches into the surface of the back yard. Phase two consisted of me holding onto that ball for two hours and Donnie counting to five at least two million times.
Every initiation has a phase three. I was given a choice between drinking a solution of Alka-Seltzer and chicken droppings or seeing if I was man enough to beat up the only girl in the neighborhood. Teeshe encouraged me to take my chances with her. As it turned out I would have fared better with Donnieís concoction.
The first time I fell in love was the year Andy got his drivers license. Teeshe preferred riding to the Tasty Freeze in his rusted out Dodge pickup to joining me on a six mile bike ride for a banana split. The fact I offered to buy didnít change her mind. That was the same year Mrs. Nichols promised to give me a passing grade in Latin one if Iíd promise not to take Latin two.
I started going to Methodist Youth Fellowship the fall the new newspaper editor and his family moved to town. It probably had a little to do with the fact that I noticed his tall deeply tanned daughter with an accent that dripped with Virginia hospitality. I rightly assumed her sashaying through the church door meant she belonged to MYF. That was the year I got the second highest grade in American History. Beth finished third and was my prom date. The following year she went to the prom with Paul.
I met my wife, Linda, the summer my friend Guy hosted a pool party. It was too cold to swim but it was warm enough to hang out and eat hotdogs. He told me she was a sky diver and that made no sense to me. I was thankful for gravity as long my feet remained in close proximity to the earth. This all happened after four years of college, a couple bad years teaching junior high art, a hitch in the Navy and before I found a job I really loved. I gave her a diamond the afternoon my cousin Gladys got married for the second time. Linda gave John a not too subtle ďhit the road JackĒ and chose me.
I got born again the year the man from the Lay Witness Mission showed up at our church. He had our churchís only alter call. I remember it because I figured I should go up there and kneel down because I was already a born again Christian. I didnít really want to make a spectral of myself but I thought maybe the Lord would consider me kneeling at that rail a proper thank you.
Iím not good at remembering when stuff happened but I do recall that the good stuff seems to show in clusters. Itís a little bit like a bouquet of roses, they come a dozen at a time. If you donít mind getting your finger pricked once in a while youíre going to get vase full of blessings.
Thatís my history.
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