Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Day Nelson Preached (Part 1)

My father was asked to speak at his church’s Senior Citizens Recognition Day. During my life my father has been, at one time or another, chairman of the deacons, assistant pastor, music director, Sunday School superintendent, custodian, finance director, and any other job that was necessary at White Springs Baptist Church. He had spoken to congregations all over the county and had always done a more than an adequate job. But this time it was different. He seemed nervous and when I questioned him about it he said simply, “This isn’t talking about the Bible, this is talking about me. The pastor wants me to tell the congregation my life’s story and I’m not sure what to say. I haven’t done anything interesting.” As I listened to him, I thought of the things that had occurred during his lifetime. He was born on May 17, 1916 and saw more changes in his world than I can imagine. His father bought the first radio in the community, he remembered seeing his first airplane, his first automobile, the first electric light bulb, five wars, cell phones, computers, a man orbiting the earth, Neil Armstrong, Jackie Robinson, John Kennedy and was married to my Mom for 69 years. He reared three children, fought in WW II, was the first fire chief in our town and served on the first City Council. But this man did not think of his life as anything other than what he was supposed to do.

“Just tell them about all of the things that you told me,” I said as we sat under the tree out back. “I always loved hearing about the old days.” “You had to listen,” he explained. “I controlled your allowance. These people are not interested in the ramblings of a 90 year old man.” I thought to myself, “If you only knew the impact you have had on this community.”

Tomorrow-The Day Nelson Preached (Part 2)

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