Today all the upstairs windows are thrown open out on Bittersweet Farm. A storm roiled though the area last night and behind it ideal clear skies, breeze, and cool temperatures. It is a pleasant peninsula indeed this afternoon. Today I have a little memory for you that you might find useful if you have a few minutes…
Simple Things Remembered
Mom and Dad, my older sister Melony and my two little brothers Kevin and Nathan all dressed in our Sunday clothes and drove to Indiana for a church conference one summer. Suits and ties for the men, dresses for the ladies. I don’t remember the name of the town or the name of the conference. The conference was held at a small church in the community. I don’t remember the name of the Church. We met some nice Christian people. I don’t remember any of their names. We had a simple pleasant experience. I have never forgotten that.
The conference would have been a simple affair. Preaching. Singing. Fellowship. There would be a time for coffee and a good lunch prepared by the farm ladies. There would be a dry business session where someone presided half-following Robert’s Rules of Order. There would be a church supper that would be as good as the business session was bad. There would be potato salad, corn-bake casserole, ham, friend chicken, various hot dishes. There would be pies and sheet cakes and tepid coffee in little styrofoam cups or some fruit drink or weak lemonade.
After supper we would return for the evening session. The church would be full of locals as well as out-of-town visitors for that session. The keynote preacher would be featured, someone from out-of-state, someone of some notoriety. I don’t remember anyone who spoke. They would always save their best music for this session, perhaps a combined choir or gifted soloist. I’m sure it was a warm, edifying experience but I don’t remember anything about it. When the evening meeting was through we were introduced to our hosts for the evening—also farm people.
The family we were staying with for the night led us over gravel back roads to their home. They lived back a lane in a picturesque farmhouse. It was a tidy working farm with barns and outbuildings, silos and farm implements here and there. The people were kind, hospitable, Christian people who made us feel welcome. I don’t remember anything about them other than that. I don’t remember what they looked like. I don’t remember their names. I don’t remember anything about the inside of the house and the bed we slept in.
We arrived at the farm at dusk. We sat down on a glider on the back porch. The woman of the place said; “Can I get you a cold Coke.”
We looked at Dad. Dad said; “We can share.”
She said, “Oh we have enough for everyone.”
She went back in the house and came out with a little green-tinted 6 oz. bottles of Coke, one for each of us. I remember the feel of those little cold glass bottles and the taste of the Coke and the bubbly sweet goodness of it.
As the night fell and turned cool the fireflies rose and fell out over the lawn we sat on the swing on the back porch and drank those wonderful little ice-cold Cokes in glass bottles.
That simple pleasure happened over five decades ago and for some reason it comes back to me over and again. Usually it is the simple memories that you will cherish for decades—an evening on the porch with people you love, the sound of their voices, simple food, quiet conversation, shared experiences, the laughter of children, the stories of old people, the whirr of the wind in the treetops, the fragrance of honeysuckle, a flash of heat lightning in the distance, or bright dots of hovering over the grass while the glider moves gently beneath you.
July 11, 2020