Last weekend I traveled to Tulsa for the wedding of my third grandson. What can I say? Beautiful bride, handsome groom, meaningful service for two young people eager to establish a Christian home. True for all my grandsons’ weddings.
But here I want to talk about Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain … through the neighborhoods and around the city skyscrapers. Under the right conditions, the Oklahoma wind can turn an umbrella inside out, put the trampoline on the deck and make a pop fly into an over the fence home run. This is the norm.
After the ceremony, we stepped out of the church into the sun. It was not yet 7:00 p.m. and still very hot. A slight breeze was stirring and felt good as we stood there dressed to the nines. A second later a gust of wind swooped down and then up, gaining strength and velocity. My hairdo lifted, stood on end for a bit then settled about my face. Another wedding guest did a great imitation of Marilyn Monroe standing on the air vent, as her skirt blew up and around her waist despite her efforts to hold it in place.
In a moment it was over. We looked around to see if anyone had observed our embarrassment … our less-than-coolness. Apparently not. Those native to the state accept the crazy wind as part of the life and charm of Oklahoma. They tie down lawn furniture, put bricks on their garbage can lids and hold on to their hats … and skirts.
I have to admit that in previous years, when I received a stimulus check from the government, I knew what I was supposed to do with it. The patriotic thing was to go out and spend it … to stimulate the economy. I confess I usually gave it to VISA to pay for previous stimulation. Kind of a stimulate now, pay later system I had developed.
A few weeks ago, when I realized my bank account was fatter by $250, I considered what I might do with that “free money.” This time, it wasn’t absolutely necessary for me to give it to VISA. I might just put it in my savings account and let the interest pile up.
However, before the transfer was made from checking to savings, the need arose to purchase a new starter for my van, thus stimulating the economy for the local mechanic, who would then stimulate sales for the parts dealer, who would stimulate the economy for the car parts maker.
Now I understand how it works and I’m just glad to do my part.
Often, I walk first thing … well, second thing in the morning. This is a practice I have tried, from time to time, to incorporate into my life. Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances keep me from this discipline: it’s raining, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, I slept too long, I need to read/write… The list goes on, and finally I have to admit that I just don’t like walking. Well, I like it better than not being able to walk and I know that the only way to continue to be able to do something is to continue to do it.
But, when I walk, I am usually reminded of an acquaintance who always walked looking down. She claimed that nearly every stroll she took, she found money. Many pennies, but larger coins and even bills, she had spied lying in the grass or along the walkway. She boasted she had over $1500 in a savings account she had opened just for the money she found.
I say, she has gained $1500 but lost a lot of beauty. On my occasional walks I have discovered how green Arkansas is year round, how many different kinds of birds live here in this small town, how many squirrels and flowers and how many dogs would be nipping at my ankles were it not for the strict leash law we have here.
So, I’m not too crazy about walking every day. It’s a discipline and I like discipline in my life (finally) so I will soldier on. Why don’t you join me? See you about 6:30. That’s a.m.
This morning I worshiped at two of the small United Methodist Churches that dot the Arkansas countryside. Griffithsville, Dogwood and Ellis Chapel are what is known in Methodism as a three-point charge – three small congragations that share a pastor. The dedicated, enthusiastic, energetic, recently-called preacher at these churches holds three services each Sunday, at 8:30, 9:30 and 11:00. This week he is in Pastor’s School at Mount Eagle and asked me to conduct services at two of the churches, presumably hesitating to ask me to do what he does every single week of the year.
Dogwood had a larger than usualy crowd for its 9:30 service. This was homecoming, when former members came to gather at the church they grew up in, greet old friends and to walk through the cemetery. The kitchen counter was filled with food for the pot luck at noon. After the 11:00 service at Griffithsville, I drove the five miles back to Dogwood for lunch because I could never pass up a Methodist potluck dinner. The celebration continued most of the afternoon with singing and fellowship.
It is said that the United Methodist connectional system insures a church for every pastor and a pastor for every church. This is true, though some churches have more than one pastor and many pastors have more than one church. God bless our local pastors.
I lived in Nashville, Tennessee for 13 years and during that time, that city’s crime rate rose to among the top twenty in the nation and I was a victim three times.
One day while I was inside my son’s school, someone broke the window of my car and stole my cell phone. That was number one. Insurance took care of everything and I was never in any physical danger.
Next, my purse was stolen in a grocery store parking lot. I was loading my purchases into the trunk of my car when another car pulled dangerously close, a hand reached out and grabbed the purse from the baby seat of the grocery cart. Again, no physical harm – nothing injured save my dignity and feeling of being secure in my environment.
The third incident happened as I was driving to work down Ellington Parkway. As I neared an overpass/walking bridge to drive under, I noticed a young man standing in the middle of the bridge holding a large object. With perfect timing, he dropped it and I slammed on my brakes. The boulder struck my front bumper, leaving a huge gouge in the paint. I swerved and recovered as he ran across the bridge and disappeared. Now this was scary. If I had not hit the brakes, the chunk of concrete would have hit the hood of the car, or perhaps crashed through the windshield.
These things happened during the last few years I lived in Tennessee. No wonder that when I retired I moved to small-town Arkansas, where many people leave their houses and cars unlocked. But not me.