What a great story. A warm slice of American Pie. Reminds me of a quote from an old Frenchman circa 1840 "plus ca change,plus c'est la meme chose" - the more things change,the more they stay the same. It's all that stuck from high school French,but the older I get,the more I find it to be true.Posted by Nori at November 13, 2016 1:18 PM
Lovely writing, very evocative. Yes, we need more Boy Scouts.Posted by The Old Salt at November 13, 2016 2:02 PM
Nostalgia. I love it. Thanks, Gerard.Posted by Jimmy J. at November 13, 2016 2:35 PM
Sing those hymns we sang together,
That plain little church with the benches all worn;
How dear to my heart, how precious the moment,
We stood shaking hands and singing a song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FI1jEg5RSNcPosted by Rob De Witt at November 13, 2016 6:07 PM
Thank you, Mr. Vanderleun. Looks like this country will survive - even thrive - after all. Of all the hopeful signs I've noticed this week, I think this one is the strongest.Posted by Punditarian at November 13, 2016 6:15 PM
A poignant note to this post,Leon Russell has passed. He also played some fine church music. Rest in Peace,Mr Russell.Posted by Nori at November 13, 2016 6:39 PM
God, you are so blessed.Posted by tonynoboloney at November 13, 2016 9:21 PM
He gets us through gratitude ...amen...Posted by Dex Quire at November 13, 2016 9:46 PM
Very sweet.Posted by Tripletap at November 14, 2016 3:47 AM
Very nicely written. Reminded me of many times at my grandparents house in Cross Lanes, WVA. All the little things I remember. Pole beans being pressure cooked in the kitchen. The smell of the bricks on the front porch. Things I very fondly remember. That house and the old church I went to with my grandparents is all gone, at least as I remember it. Nine years ago I was in the area and decided to drive by the old house. The first thing I noticed was that the apple trees had been cut down, the house largely run down and it was NOTHING as I had remembered, unlike your experience at the Paradise church. I cried and cried hard. I do not cry easily and didn't after my second divorce.I haven't cried since. I don't think the tears came because of what the house had become but simply that those days are gone. I wouldn't drive by that house again for any amount of money. I don't want my memories of that place and time in life to be anything other than what I recall.
I woke up last night about 3AM and was awake for a while. The piece you wrote had me thinking about my grandparents home. I mentally walked around the yard, under the Sycamore, gum and apple trees. I stepped on the pods that hurt my bare feet. Around the garden and into the house. Through every room remembering the wood floors, coal fireplace, hum of the flourescent lights in the kitchen and checkered ceramic tile in the bathroom. My uncle's bedroom with a ceiling poster of Peter Fonda riding a chopper. I finally fell back asleep with a smile on my face.Posted by Snakepit Kansas at November 14, 2016 3:51 PM
Sometimes, rarely. But, sometimes, you can go home again.
I think that when that happens, you've enjoyed a day of God's own special favor pouring over you like a balm.
Perhaps a taste of paradise? I don't know.
But thank you sir, for writing of it, and sharing your blessing with us. It flowed from the screen. Like a balm.
Posted by Jim at November 14, 2016 4:08 PM
Sunk New Dawn
"Often we don't even discover them as memories until years later when they emerge, not as they were, but as they have become as our souls expand enough to value what we thought at the time was dross as the real gold of our lives". ~ Gerard Van der Leun
I was trying to find a different favorite quote, but this one - this is the one. I love this quote.Posted by DeAnn at November 14, 2016 5:02 PM
Ah, memories of church. Mine weren't always so great, with my knees getting sore, the priest droning on about money, and the "hip" guitarist bleating out some awful Vatican II-approved "hymn". I hated it, and even my parents seemed to be just going through the motions.
But I have a better set of memories: my grandmother's church, in the Polish neighborhood, which was a different story entirely. The organ and acoustics were fantastic, the traditional Polish hymns reflected the rich history of the Church in my ancestral country, and the people and the priests seemed to take the Mass and all it stands for more seriously, but with a sense of joy, if that makes sense. Christmas Mass was especially wonderful, with carols like "Lulajże Jezuniu" and my favorite "Dzisiaj w Betlejem" sung by a real and very competent choir.
Unfortunately, there's no going home here. Grandma's neighborhood has gotten very rough and ugly over time, and most of us of Polish descent have scattered to the four winds. But I still have the memories that I treasure. With that in mind, and in light of the upcoming Christmas season, here's wishing everyone an early Wesołych Świąt Bożego Narodzenia.Posted by waltj at November 14, 2016 5:54 PM
I remember something similar also. I have not been back.
I'm glad you were saved 5 years ago and hope you have many more heart healthy years .Posted by Grace at November 14, 2016 10:55 PM
I came to this website because of the Melania taking Michelle's job hilarious pix and saw this. This Sunday I too went metaphorically back to the Winter Street Congregational church of my Maine childhood (my pastor was a Goldwater supporter). In my case it's been 35 years and the remnants of Winter Street has morphed into a non-religious, feel good secular society as has the UCC. But I too wanted to thank God for the miracle and to give praise to Him. So I went to Union Congregational which is in the People's Republic, but I knew the pastor was a strong Trump supporter. Amazingly, so were many of the parishioner's. And another Trump supporter from behind enemy lines was also independently called to first attend this church that morning. It's good to be home again. I too look now forward to the beautiful music from the Pilgrim Hymnal. Even though Trump is not a religious person, I am wondering if he has sparked a revival and the evangelicals were right to support him (how could they not considering who he was running against. God Bless America and make it into Reagan's shining city on the hill!Posted by Tanstaf1 at November 19, 2016 3:26 AM
I came to this website because of the Melania taking Michell's job hilarious pix and saw this.
I too went back to the winter Street Congregational church of my Maine childhood this past Sunday (my pastor was a Goldwater supporter). In my case it's been 35 years and the remnants of Winter Street has morphed into a feel good secular society. But I too wanted to thank God for the miracle and to give praise to Him.
Interestingly even though Union Congregational is in the People's Republic, I knew the pastor was a strong Trump supporter. Amazingly, so were many of the parishioner's. And another Trump supporter from behind enemy lines was also independently called to first attend this church. It's good to be home again. I too look forward to the beautiful music from the Pilgrim Hymnal.
Even though Trump is not a religious person, I am wondering if he has sparked a revival and the evangelicals were right to support him (how could they not considering who he was running against. God Bless America and make it into Reagan's shining city on the hill!Posted by Tanstaf1 at November 19, 2016 3:27 AM