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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter sans Church

This past Easter had been quite a departure for my Lovely Bride and me.
No Good Friday service. No Easter Sunday church gathering.

Rather, this year we traveled to the far corner of the state. Our son and daughter-in-law had re-located to Ohio.  Now, after becoming somewhat settled in their new home, Easter was the perfect occasion to welcome visitors. With two of our daughters and their families; the new home was bustling with activity.

Such were the circumstances which resulted in Easter Sunday morning, being delighted by the happy sounds of grandchildren finding hidden baskets, the laughter of children, and in-law-children teasing one another, and the good aroma of breakfast cooking.

There was no rushing about; getting ready to dash out the door. There were no harried moments trying to locate a lost shoe, or getting a reluctant child to eat. Have you ever tried to pry a youngster from the glories of a new-found Easter basket? The absence of stress was quite refreshing.

I can hear some of you thinking; “You write about your faith a lot. How can you be so cavalier of the most Holy of days?”

You are correct. My relationship with Christ is the bed-rock and cornerstone of my life. And, yes, this day of all days, is the singularly most significant day of all Time.

It is because of the resurrection of Jesus that we no longer need fear Death, Hell, or the grave. He is victorious over all! We share in His victory, not our own feeble, bumbling attempts at righteousness.
A new birth waits all who accept His gift of Life.

Having spent some time outdoors talking with our son while exercising the grand-dog, over-hearing the happy conversations of my family; I can rejoice that He is risen! He is risen indeed!
He is risen in the hearts of our children.
He is risen in the hearts of our in-law children.
He is risen in the hearts of our grand-children.

That, dear reader, is priceless. 
Far more valuable than all the pastel Easter dresses, all the white lilies adorning sanctuary altars, and all the Easter messages combined.

He is Risen!

Another One Hundred

April 11, 1915 was not a particularly momentous day in Cleveland, Ohio. A quiet early spring Sunday, stores and offices were closed; a peaceful calm settled over the area. In historical terms, it was hardly a remarkable day. 
However, for me, it was quite significant.

My Father was born on this day.

I cannot speak from first hand observation of the first 40 or so years of his life. He was 38 when I came upon the scene. Despite being the prodigy that I am, there are scant memories of Dad prior to the age of 4.
Was he a Super-Dad, always with the right advice and support at just the right time? No. Ward Cleaver he wasn't.

Was he a boorish lout, completely self-absorbed, and oblivious to his family?  No, he was far from it.

He was a Dad; heroic, wise, and protective. But still being clumsy, ridiculous, and….well…human. An Everyman, yet to his family, friends, and community; he was so much more. He truly was one in a million.

He would joke that he was a “double April Fool”. I hate to admit there were times in my young know-it-all years when I agreed whole-heartedly with him.

However, the quote attributed to Mark Twain; “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I couldn't stand to have the old boy around. However, when I turned 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in 7 years.”, was confirmed in my life. Upon returning  from my freshman year of college, the old boy had really upped his game!

While filled with the foibles of human-kind (aren't we all?), Dad had one consistent trait: he was always there for us.

See, my earliest memory of Dad is him carrying me from my bed down to the basement of our home. My Mother, brother and sister were there, huddled in the old dug-out pantry. I remember being told a tornado, very rare for our part of Northern Ohio, had been spotted nearby, and we had to stay safe for a while. I closed my eyes, and drifted off to sleep as the roaring wind provided a lullaby.

The next morning, after arising from my bed,  Dad and I toured the Village. I was awestruck by uprooted trees, barn roofs scattered over acres of woods and fields, outbuildings and sheds reduced to so much firewood. What I had thought was only a dream was indeed frightening reality.

This memory is emblematic of Dad.

He was there for all of us. Be it the metaphorical or literal storms of our lives, our victories, our sorrows; he was there for us.

November 21, 2005 was not a particularly momentous day in Ft. Myers, Florida.  A warm Autumn Monday, stores and offices were open; traffic bustled along Colonial Boulevard.  
However, for me, it was quite significant. 

My Father passed away on that day.

Happy 100th,  Dad. You did well.