Made this Video about 6 years ago to honor my Brother Clayton as he neared his 80th birthday. Reposting it for his Grandchildren who may have not seen it back then. I’ll fill in some thoughts later about his remarkable life that touch so many of his family and friends.
I’ll add more to this post later. Doing some catching up of my Blogging Writing. Been several years since I last posted this piece. Hope to get the old (very old) brain back into writing again. Meanwhile enjoy the “Only the Black Keys” video.
For a young child the “First” of some experiences sometimes remain in your memory cache for a very long time. In my case 79 years. This “First” for me started on a Sunday morning mid-June 1943. I was an intercity six year old boy with nothing ahead but a hot summer on the ghetto streets of West Philadelphia. My divorced mother was working in an War plant making ball bearings for the Military. At home are three older siblings. A Sister, and two Brothers all who are daily off on their own summer adventures leaving me the youngest by seven years home alone.
On this Sunday morning Mother was packing a small suitcase with some of my clothes, i.e. underwear, socks, tee shirts, and several pairs of short pants. I’m sitting on the front stoop our home 2528 W Silver St. (Pictured below is a present day view of Silver St. In 1943 the home I lived in is directly across from the street light where the black car is parked.)
That street light in the picture replaced the original street light which was a cast iron Gas Lamp converted to Electric. It served many functions in city life. As an anchor for the Buck Buck game. Always a good home base for a game of Round Up. And sometimes as a good place to tie up some kid who insisted in annoying us for any reason we would choose on that day.
It’s not very long before my Grandpa and Grandma drive up in their 1935 gray Ford 4 door sedan. At their arrival Mother comes out of the house with the packed suitcase grabbing my arm and hustling me into the backseat while giving Grandpa a let’s go nod. Off we go, my very first time away from home. Our destination I’m told is a Summer camp called ShadowBrook in the Pocono Mountains on the Delaware River. A long trip back then when only two lane roads existed for travel. I remember it like yesterday. Anxious and bored at the same time. Mother noticing my fidgeting and tells me to look out the window for the “Signs”.
I’m thinking “really Mother, what a dumb idea” when suddenly I saw them. A series of red signs about 10 yards apart. I had never seen anything in my long 6 year life like those signs.
To him was bunk
Pulled him out
some Guy’s trunk
Like she useter?
Perhaps she’s seen
A smoother rooster!!
I’m hooked. Now I’m hanging out the window waiting from the next group of signs. Probably during the 100 mile trip I saw 6 or 7 of those wonderful Burma Shave signs.
Reading those signs made the time fly and before long we arrive at ShadowBrook. Mother offloads me with the suitcase and takes me into the office registering me for a week of camping. When everything is completed we walk back to the car were Mom hugs and kisses me reminding me that everything I need is in the suitcase. She then promised that next week at this time she will be back to take me home.
I can’t say I had fun camping that first time. But I can say with certainty I missed my Mother and I could not wait to see her next Sunday. That Sunday right after the usual morning chapel service I rushed to my cabin grabbed my suitcase ran back down to the camp office to wait for Mom. I don’t know how long I waited, but I looked down that two lane road for it seemed like hours waiting for Grandpa and his Ford sedan with my mother in the back. Then just like she said there she was. I ran to her almost before Grandpa had park the car. My love for my Mother was because I knew she loved me and I was overwhelm to see her face looking at me. Driving back home I was hang out the car window looking for those Burma Shave signs when Mother who was looking through my suitcase said to Grandma in the front seat, “Good Lord Mother, I don’t think he even opened the suitcase. Everything is still clean”
This scene would again appear in my life only this time 24 years later with my own son and his week of camping at Sandy Cove’s “Hilltop Ranch” in Delaware. I can still see the scene from my youth as my son is running as fast as his legs could carry him down a long hill to the parking lot where we were to pick him up. After the hugs and kisses we get him in the car with his suitcase start the drive home. It’s not long when his Mother looking through his suitcase cries out “Good Lord, everything is still clean”
I John 4:19
“We love HIM because HE first loved us”
When we become Christians if we care to look we will see God’s Word working in our lives. I said that my love for my Mother was because I first witnessed her love for me from earliest memories. Like wise my love for my Savior is not because I first loved Him but because He first loved me. A gospel song I love says “When He was on the Cross I was on His mind”.
“Let the Children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to ME;”
As young children we express our love and feelings without reservations. However as we mature by age, life and sin has a way of callousing our hearts to point that openly showing our Love to Him is sometimes difficult especially when in the company of others.
I Corinthian 12:4-5
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord.
Just as my Mother gave to me and we gave to our son a suitcase with everything needed live a successful life away from our parents. Our Father has done the same for us in our Christian life. To our shame sometimes we just don’t open our hearts to make use of what he has given us. To stand before Him with unused spiritual gifts gives me reason to give pause to how much do I really love Him and understand what He did for me.
“When I saw Him, I fell at His at His feet like a dead man.”
Below is a video song “I can only imagine”. My daily prayer is that when I see Jesus I will be like John and be so in love with him that falling at His feet will be as natural to me as breathing.
Been almost four years since I last blogged. Thought I was through but to paraphrase General Douglas MacArthur, “Old Bloggers never die, they just type away.” I’ve got a few stories left. However this time hopefully with some Spiritual applications that will help others to walk their talk when it comes to things Eternal.
Because I was too foolish by half I didn’t save any of my former tales when shutting down the site in 2011, I now get to repurpose them with a fresher style woven through with the Lords blessing on my life. My brother Clayton before he left us was the ultimate master at family tales. So much so that my sister Joyce remarked that Clay’s stories get better and better every year. That said and in the spirit of my brother Clayton we now shove off and begin this journey by remembering the day “I Learnt Sir Isaac Newton’s three Laws of Motion”.
When one body exerts a force on a second body, the second body simultaneously exerts a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction on the first body.
The summer of 1971 was a particular warm year. We had recently purchase our dream home in Westtown Pennsylvania. Isn’t amazing how flaws in things we purchase never seem to reveal themselves until the buying deed is done and you now own them. A beauty of a living room with an high arching Cathedral ceiling covered by tongue and groove oak and supported with hand hewn oak beams over a beautiful floor to ceiling stone fireplace had blinded us from a very simple observation that this beautiful room had less insulation than a worn out pair of Jockey Shorts.
After a summer of high humidity and heat, a fix was needed to make this beautiful room livable. First order business was to ventilate the excessive heat out of the high ceiling area to allow cool air to in through the lower windows on the north side of the room. The house had two wings. One to the left leading to the kitchen and the other to the right leading the bedroom areas. The left living wall did not have room to insert a ventilator at the peak because of the huge stone fireplace. However the right side of the room at the apex was a beautiful oak paneled wall which backed up to a thirty foot long unfinished attic. There was an easy access by one of those pull down ladders conveniently placed in the hallway. On examining the attic space my fertile (perhaps empty would better) brain started to scheme and churn until I hatched the perfect plan.
I’ll put into the living room wall at the peak a 36 inch ventilator, you know one with the movable vents that open and close by air movement. This ventilator had no motor but would rely on another ventilator fan placed thirty feet away in the outside wall of the attic. Perfect analysis and perfect plan.
Off to Yearsley & Sons hardware store in West Chester, the town just a mile up the road. Now a confession. I have always overthought and overbuilt every project in my 79 years. I bought the perfect 36 in ventilator for the living room wall. I just finished selecting all the wiring, boxes, and switches needed when I saw it. The Mother of all ventilator fans. One horse power 42 inch fan with a weight about 125 pounds. For me the love of big things always overrides any sensibility I might have every time. Yep, I bought it.
Okay back at the house I now begin. Got living room ventilator installed, Cut the rough opening in the outside wall to accept the “Boss”, the name I have given to the humungous 42 in “Mother of all Attic Fans”. Ran the wiring and installed the Thermostat and switch downstairs in the hallway and now I’m ready to put the Boss in the opening. Now visualize the Attic. No floor, only 2″ by 12″ rafters with insulation batting between them. From rafter top to the roof center beam was less the 6 foot. I was at that time about 6 foot 1 inch. So humped over I wrestle the “Boss” up the stairs and over the rafters to the prepared opening.
We are now at the point of this tale where I explain how Newton’s three laws of motion become relevant. Every time I tell this story women laugh almost to the verge of leaking and the men will get sympathy pains in their groin and stomach. Back to the story. I’m now lifting up the “Boss” but I don’t have enough leverage because of the head room to get the bottom into the opening. Resting for a moment I test the space between the rafter and determine that for the few seconds I need to lift the fan into place I can utilize the extra 11 inches to give me leverage needed. So widening my stance I lift the “Boss” up to the opening when suddenly Newton’s Third Law kicks in. “Every action of force on an object has an equal and opposite reaction” The ceiling under my feet give away and Mr. Boss and I start our descend to my sons bedroom directly below. Quickly now I realize what’s happening. I’m holding a 125 pound fan and starting an unwanted journey down, when Newtown’s Second Law of motion enters the action. “The acceleration of an object is increased be the force applied to that object”. I’m the object and the force is the 125 pound “Boss” and I’m now picking up speed pretty fast.
Before I continue lets back up to when I decided to step off the rafters onto the ceiling. I had carefully thought this through and as an added safety I also decided to place one foot on one side of the rafter and the other foot on the other side of the rafted thus speading my weight to lessen the pressure on the ceiling. Now back to where I am roaring down through the ceiling with a 125 pound fan in my arms but now with a 2″ x 12″ rafter firmly between my legs when Sir Newton and his First Law of Motion arrives on the scene. “An object will remain in constant motion unless acted upon by an external force”
You guys, are you feeling the pain, and you gals stop laughing. This not a fun moment for me. I’m a big guy but not big enough to break a 2″ x 12″ rafter. It took a few moments to get my senses back but by the time I crawled over the rafters and down the attic stairs I was able to fake it and look like what happen was just no biggie.
As I walk into my son’s bedroom the first thing I notice is the rather large hole in the ceiling directly over my son’s bed. Next I see my son in the far corner away from his bed holding his sisters field hockey stick and looking intently at the same hole above his bed. Evidently at the time of my entrance feet first through the ceiling he was standing on his bed doing “Air Guitar” riffs of probably some Jimmy Hendrix tunes on his radio. Not much was exchanged in conversation except “you all right Dad”. To which I replied,”I’m okay, but if your thinking that you might be having anymore brothers or sister. That might be a problem.”
Rev. 5:8 “And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people”.
I’m so thankful for God’s people who have prayed for me. Just think that everyone of those prayers are kept by the Lord and are a sweet aroma of worship to Him. I need to pray more.