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Saturday, November 10, 2018

Not as the World Gives, Give I Unto You

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  (John 14:27  NKJV)

This evening my grandson Alton Jr and I traveled to the little church where my father once preached in Terra Ceia.  I would go with my father sometimes (It was not the base church in Ellenton where Daddy had most responsibilities and the town in which we lived.)  I can now see him descending the steps in front of the little church wearing his navy-blue suit just before we returned to Ellenton for services there.

Alton stayed in the car while I walked alone to the steps. The church was dimly illumined by night lighting.   I really had only one question to ask my father.  It was my follow-up to the question he uttered while on the gurney at Manatee Memorial Hospital just days before he died.  My brother Bob and I were gazing down at his face.   He kind of smiled at Bob and asked: “When is Wayne going to get on the ball?”

My question tonight was my long-formulated response: “Dad, why did you want me to get on the ball….did you want a trophy son?”  He response set me back:  He asked: “What kind of on-the ball-father did you want me to be?”  I admit I was occasionally secretly harsh on my father when comparing him to the famous Billy Graham, for example--though I cannot recall my father ever speaking of Graham at all. (Their preaching style as very different, to say the least.)  Then I recalled the little scene  during the early sixties when Daddy said: “Son, I never want to hear you say that word again [the word being “nigger”] and then also a small handful of other memories now set in shimmering crystal.

When the curtain descends for me, I hope my children will have vivid memories of the lagoon swimming hole in Bowling Green Fl near the shores of the ancient and winding Peace River.  I hope they seem to sense in the wind these words: “That will do.  Yes, that will do.” 
I guess the biggest compliment will be that in the constant stir of their busy lives, a flash memory of me appears at all.

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