"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. " (Colossians 3:12-14)
OK, gang, tomorrow is a very special Sunday for our family. Its Rally Day at church and we have a pew to fill. So turning off my favorite 50's radio music, which always brought back memories for me, it was off to bed for us all.
I had no more gotten to sleep when suddenly I found myself walking down a lonely country road, draped in heavy fog. The longer I walked the thicker the fog seem to become. Not giving up however, as if by some divine intuition, I felt compulsion to continue my walk.
Then, there it was, a huge green door cradled within a swath of crudely placed rocks. It displayed a big sign which read ‘Caution, Opening This Door May Turn Back the Clock. Enter at Your Own Risk.’
“What's with this bizarre statement? Is it some sort of announcement of ‘back to the future’?” I wondered in amazement.
Well, you know me, I always was one for excitement, up for a challenge, so in I went. What I found was nothing short of a miracle.
Immediately upon walking through the doorway the entire scenario changed from that of the Twenty-first Century back to the Fifties. Not only did the scenery change, but my age did as well. I had instantly bounced back to my teen years.
"Now I get it. This announcement and warning, the inscription on the big green door was simply preparing me for what I'd find inside. In other words, I needed to be prepared for my past being recycled into the present.”
What happened next was nothing short of amazing. There he was, my best high school buddy, Phil.
"Phil, Phil, is it really you? Wow, you no longer have that limp in your walk and you seem to not stutter in your speech," I exclaimed.
Not responding, Phil simply took my hand and we were off, hurriedly walking through my old hometown.
As we walked, Phil began to reminisce. "Do you remember growing up, how you would feel after being away from home on vacation, to return back to all your friends and those all-important childhood activities? The closer the old car would get to home, the more anxious you were to be reunited with friends, just to see what you may have been missing," he said. "Oh yes, I surely miss those old times," I countered.
Then, as we continued walking, we approached my old school playground.
"Hi gang, let's go with a game of ‘shirts and skins’!” I shouted.
You see, this first stop just happened to be our old basketball court. Strangely enough, however, it was as if I was just a shadow in time, for the old gang paid no attention to me as they continued playing their game. It was kind of disheartening, but we continued down the road.
Strolling down the street, the scenery really hadn't changed much. Elm Street looked the same. Those big, leaning elm trees still shaded the old, cracked sidewalk with a well-placed blossoming apple tree now and then.
The old mud puddle, with all the marbles inside the drawn circle, seemed not to have been disturbed. Even my old trusted steely winner was just waiting for another chance at dominance.
My old home place looked as good as ever, including the big motorized TV antenna. The big dining room window fan for summer comfort, which seemed to cool the food before we got a chance to eat, seemed to still be working properly. And our clothesline, full of wet clothes, was still standing firm.
My old hot rod scooter, the one with the upside-down soap bucket tied down to resemble a motor scooter seat, was still parked by the garage, just waiting to take off again down the sidewalk.
That new '55 Chevy graced the town’s new car showroom. It was the one vehicle that held the distinction of finally beating the Ford in the Saturday night neighborhood drag race. What a thrill that was!
My young puppy love's house was standing visible. What memories we had of sitting in that old squeaky porch swing on Friday evenings. That is, until her Dad would give that dreadful doorbell warning signal.
Then, as we walked along the old neighborhood, by some sort of divine guidance, Phil's conversation shifted from a secular to a religious nature. After all, Phil had always wanted to enter the ministry.
"What about you? As a Christian, have you ever gotten homesick for the attributes of Glory Land? One need only to rub shoulders with the sinful influences of this old world to drift into a vision of what our Father, the living God, has for us in the future," he began.
“You see, as Christians, while we remain in our earthly bodies, we should consider what our hearts and minds are fixed on. If they are set on the right things, we will be content with the circumstances in which God has placed us, until such time as we are called home,” (Philippians 4:11) he concluded. "OK, I get it Phil. One of the best ways to cope with our heavenly homesickness is to integrate ourselves, as fully as possible, into our Christian life. So, next time we happen to get homesick we should live life at its fullest here on earth and be ready to go home," (Philippians 1:23-24) I responded.
"Phil! Phil! where did you go? Just when we were getting to the meat of our conversation! Please come back, Phil, I didn't even get a chance to say good-by.”
But wait a minute, just how did I get here? It's been at least four or five generations. Is this just another of my weird dreams I've been having lately? I just can't shake off these dreams.
Nonetheless, they say that ‘all's well that ends well.’ Surely that was the case here with me. As quickly as my bizarre dream ended, my life continued to move on.
I was suddenly awakened to my phone ringing off the hook. "Hello, Mom, how's it going with you and Dad?" I answered.
"Well, we are all doing well, but just remember, son, tomorrow is Sunday's ‘Rally Day’ at church. And we want our complete family there to fill our assigned pew," she explained.
"Don't worry, Mom, we will all be there. I'm sure you remember my boyhood school friend Phil. Just wait till I tell you my latest dream!” I said.
I think I'll just shuffle down to my trusted man-cave, relax in my comfortable duct-tape held recliner, and ask Alexa to tune in the 50's music as I drift once again back in time, to those good old days of yesteryear.
"Honey, could you hand me an RC Cola and a moon pie, please? It's about time for my morning snack. I don't want my sugar to drop, you know.”
As this blog points out, the Scriptures offer us very good advice when it comes to choosing friends. God knows our desire to be known and to be loved! He made us for companionship. Choosing the right friends can be a great source of love, healing, joy, and encouragement. (Proverbs 27:9)
Likewise, as mentioned in this blog, is the lasting effect the past influences have on our lives. Going back home is simple "food for the soul." (I Cor. 13:11)
My wife's home place and surrounding neighborhood was literally destroyed to make way for a new mega high school. Just before the house was demolished however, some of her kin folks went to the house and salvaged such interior decoration as pieces of the pine paneling from the wall, which they framed as a remembrance, along with other such items as curtains, etc.
Equally as important were my youthful memories of growing up in the Florida panhandle from grammar school through high school. Memories, which are too numerous to mention here. Nonetheless, my old neighborhood has basically not seen much change other than the wearing of time, and the modern structural updates.
When we go back to PC beach on vacation, I will oftentimes take a drive back over to Panama City proper, which is now labeled Old Town and driving around my old stomping grounds. Although many friends have passed on, there are still a few of my fellow school mates still hanging around.
Yes, time was good growing up in the Fifties. Life was packed full of happy memories. So, I trust you will give out a little chuckle when reading this blog. If you are in my age range, you will.
If not, maybe your Pa-paw will understand these times. You see I readily boast of being older than dirt, and twice as gritty. In fact, I'm old enough to have my Bible autographed. Amen!
Why not try it, if you have not already, taking that drive back home to your old neighborhood and just sit a spell, and smell the past. And oh yes, don't forget to tune in the Fifties station, just to help you dream away.
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