Lost Words from Our Childhood

childhoodGod willing, this Sunday will be Terry’s and my 51st wedding anniversary. I thank God for this wonderful woman whom I dearly love! She has been and continues to be a huge blessing to me, our children, our grandchildren and lots of people, many of whom she has never even met!

We were married on my 23rd birthday. Remembering our anniversary is not a problem. Agreeing on which event we should celebrate on January 29 is a challenge. I say anniversary. Terry says birthday. Although both a bit strong-willed, we usually come up with a workable solution!

Both of us are also chronologically mature enough to recall words and phrases used in our childhood but mostly absent from the vocabulary of our children and grandchildren. Here are some that came to my attention not long ago:

  • Heavens to Murgatroyd! (Spell check didn’t even recognize the word!)
  • Let’s get in the old Jalopy and go to town.
  • Don’t touch that dial!
  • Be sure to make a carbon copy!
  • You sound like a broken record!
  • Put on your best bib and tucker!
  • Straighten up and fly right!
  • Heavens to Betsy! Gee Whillikers! Jumping Jehoshaphat! Holy Moley!
  • Oh, my aching back!
  • Kilroy was here, but he’s long gone!
  • Pshaw! The milkman did it!
  • Go ahead! It’s your nickel!
  • Knee high to a grasshopper.
  • Well, Fiddlesticks! Don’t take any wooden nickels!

There are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter has little liver pills! Those of us past the midpoint of the chronological arc remember at least some of these words and phrases that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It’s one of the profound realities of aging experienced by every generation.

We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn’t accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China! Gone are the days of beehives, pageboys, spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and pedal pushers.  Shucks, I don’t even remember some of those things.

Well, I hope you’re Hunky Dory after you read this article. See ya’ later, alligator! After while, crocodile! God bless your day!

Party Time!

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 7.03.52 AMAs some may recall, my dear mother attained her 100th birthday this past April 10. Prior to and on the actual date, appropriate but relatively low key celebrations took place. There’s a reason.

Some of Mom’s grandchildren and great grandchildren are still in school, which made coming from out of state for a Texas weekend in April a tall order! Having the main celebration this summer allows the branches of our family that still have school aged twigs and leaves to attend.

Accordingly, nearly 50 of Mom’s 54 living immediate family members from Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee, Arkansas and Texas will soon descend on New Braunfels, Texas, for the big celebration. It’s almost party time!

How does one celebrate a centennial birthday? With cake and candles and balloons, just like any birthday! In our case, we’ve rented a spacious old home in New Braunfels, which will serve as headquarters for the event. While not large enough to house all 50 of us, it will allow us to have our home cooked meals together, along with activities, laughter, conversation and devotions.

The main character, of course, is Mother herself. While quietly but happily anticipating the event, she’s certainly not as active or as vibrant as she has been for nearly a century. Her physical condition has weakened significantly, making it nearly impossible to walk. Although still in good spirits, she regularly expresses her fervent desire to go home to heaven to see Jesus.

Those of you who have experienced the lengthy illness of a loved one, particularly one who has achieved advanced chronological maturity, can understand what I’m about to say. There may come a time when a loved one reaches the point where a return to physical health and strength is almost assuredly not going to happen. Under those circumstances, for family and friends to pray for restoration of health and strength for that loved one in all reality becomes a selfish prayer.

So my prayer for our dear mother is that her real party would soon begin. Birthday parties may not even occur in heaven. If they do, they may or may not have cake, candles and balloons.

Be that as it may, that eternal party will be held in the place where all believers in Christ will someday be at home. The hymn aptly states: “I’m but a stranger here. Heaven is my home!”

Happy Birthday, dear Mother! It’s party time! Let the celebration begin!

Birthdays and Anniversaries

Birthday CakeBefore getting started with that topic, here’s an update regarding the health and development of my two little grand nieces, Emma and Anna Collins in Evansville, Ind. Both are continuing to gain health and strength, on and off the respirator, weighing in at two pounds each. God be praised! Mother Amanda is recovering from her infection. On the other hand, father Jesse was admitted to the hospital earlier this week with extremely high blood sugar and was diagnosed with diabetes. Please continue to keep this family in your prayers.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary and my birthday. Having both on the same day has enabled me never to forget our anniversary! I also have never forgotten Terry’s birthday. It falls on the same date (but obviously not the same year) as my mother Elda’s birthday—April 10.

January 29, 1966 was a Saturday. Our wedding took place at 5:00 p.m. at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Austin, the congregation in which Terry was baptized. She went to St. Paul Lutheran School and was also confirmed there, making it the obvious choice for our wedding venue.

Terry and I met during the year I taught at St. Paul. Her little brother was in my fourth grade class. One begins to comprehend the rapidity with which time passes when one realizes that the students in his fourth grade class of the 1964-65 school year are now 59 years old!

Our wedding rehearsal was Friday, January 28. That afternoon I had driven to Austin from College Station, where I was in graduate school at Texas A&M. After the rehearsal dinner, I kissed Terry good night at midnight, drove back to College Station, and got to bed at 2:30 a.m.

Saturday morning I woke up in time for a 7:00 a.m. biochemistry final exam, which I barely passed, and drove back to Austin for our afternoon wedding. Pastor Albert Jesse’s wedding sermon, based on John 2:2, was titled: “They invited Jesus to the wedding.” Indeed, we had!

After a beautiful reception at which I never even noticed the groom’s cake, we drove 60 miles north to Salado for our honeymoon. It was 12 degrees that night, quite unusual for central Texas, even in January. We spent two nights at the historic Stagecoach Inn, at $20 per night. On a parochial teacher’s salary of $200 per month, we couldn’t afford to stay very long.

Monday afternoon we returned to Austin to pick up everything we owned. Then we drove to Houston for the first night in our $75 per month one bedroom apartment. Tuesday morning I began a semester of teaching the fourth grade at Pilgrim Lutheran School in Houston for a young teacher on maternity leave that semester. Terry worked a temporary job to help us save money for our move to Concordia Theological Seminary in Springfield, Ill. that summer.

Most of the rest of our story is history, some of which is still being written. How thankful I am for the privilege of being married to a beautiful, loving, patient, forgiving woman for what is rapidly approaching half a century! We are blessed beyond measure and thank God for his grace!

Remembering birthdays and anniversaries is very important. Doing so communicates to those whose special occasion is being celebrated that they are loved, honored and respected. A person’s birthday is a very real reminder of the intrinsic value of life itself. Isaiah writes: “Before I was born the Lord called me. From my birth he has made mention of my name.” Is. 49:1