First Christmas

20 12 2020

As I have mentioned in previous “Traveling the Rock Road” stories in my young days I was moved around quite a bit. West Virginia, Maryland, back to West Virginia, Kentucky, and finally in Ohio. I have no memory of Christmas during those days, only while living in Kentucky with some extended family members a large box came one day addressed to me. The box was filled to the brim with toys, and they were all from my mother. She couldn’t live with at that time and the people I was with didn’t celebrate Christmas, but she wanted to make sure I would receive something on that day. I don’t remember much about the contents inside, but I do remember that box. I would climb in and pretend I was a gift back to my mom; that way we could be together again. I called that in another story “The Love Box.” Perhaps one day I’ll re-publish it.

One day my Great Aunt Pearl showed up in Kentucky and the next morning her and I boarded a but to leave. I didn’t know where we were going but that didn’t matter; I was with good ole Pearly Mae who I loved dearly and she told me we were going to my mother. I couldn’t hardly wait. We finally arrived in a small town where we crossed a bridge to a large river, circled around several blocks and came to a stop in front of a store named Tremper’s. That town was Fremont Ohio and standing on the sidewalk with a big smile; my mother! I don’t think I touched a step coming out of the bus; just a full run and jumping into Ma’s arms. I was so happy to be with her again even though I didn’t know this new place; if Ma was there it was home. 

That was the summer of 1960 and many new things and adventures awaited me. The first was starting school in the 1st grade. I had never gone to school prior to that so it was a bit scary not to mention hard since I was behind where most kids were who had gone to kindergarten and had someone to help begin their understanding of education. The greatest part of everyday was returning home to see Ma and Pearl. I may not have understood a lot in school, but I knew these two loved me.

December came and Pearl decorated the house with lights and tensile. A tree came into the house that we adorned with twinkling lights, fancy bulbs, and a star for the top. This was the first Christmas I could ever remember, and I was mesmerized by the whole moment. Then, packages wrapped in colorful paper and tied with red and green bows were placed under the tree. When I learned they were gifts we would open on Christmas morning, like any child, I could hardly control my enthusiasm nor my curiosity.  I loved Christmas! And I loved my new home; Fremont Ohio!!

One evening Ma and I bundled up to stay warm and walked into the town. This trip wasn’t to buy anything, it was to see something almost spectacular to a young boy. One block after crossing the State St. Bridge we turned left on Front St, the business hub of Fremont, and the sights took my breath away. All the way down large lights were strung from one side of the street to the other. Every store front window had a Christmas theme, but the best was Joseph’s Dept. Store. They had a Christmas train that actually ran and other moving props that froze me in my tracks as I peered on this incredible display for so long Ma had to drag me away. We then walked down to the Montgomery Wards store with the hardwood floors. As we entered who met us at the doorway but Santa Claus himself, ready to have me sit on his lab and tell him what I wanted to Christmas. Afterwards he rewarded me for being a good boy with a delicious candy cane. I loved Fremont! Mom did stop at one store and bought a toy. I thought it was for me but she explained I would see what we did with it. Farther down the street sat the Paramont Theater where the latest movies were shown. Out front were two men in white hats and blue uniforms. I recognized them as Marines as my Uncle Carl, one of my heroes, had been a Marine in WW2. Ma gave me the toy to put in a box that was between these two. This was my 1st time contributing to “Toys for Tots,” and I’ve tried to give something every year since. With a big a burly hand over my head one thanked me and then us passes to go into the theater to see a short Christmas movie. I was in heaven! When we walked back through town I thought we would turn to cross the bridge and go home, but instead we went the opposite direction. There, a store named Spieldenner’s with large picture window, and it had the biggest Christmas tree I had ever seen. It was gold, as I recall, and it stood probably twenty feet tall, but to this young mind it looked to be a mile high! I’m surprised I didn’t get frostbite on my tongue as my mouth gapped open as wide it could. This was awesome! I love Christmas, and I love Fremont! 

As we finally turned to head home a car pulled over with a man in it offering us a ride. I knew this gentleman for he lived up the street from us on Sandusky Ave. and he had become a family friend. Albert Stellar, if I’m spelling his name right and if you had ever gone to the Fremont Racetrack back in the 50s and 60s you knew Albert. He was in charge of concessions in the seating stands and would hire boys to carry the food and drinks around through the crowd.  We climbed in and he asked what we were doing. Ma explained we taking in all the beautiful sites downtown. “Oh, you haven’t seen the most amazing site yet. I’ll take you there now.” 

Ma didn’t know where we were going any more than I did, but she knew Albert was a good friend and if he said this worth seeing then that was good enough for her. We went to the far side of the community and drove to an area called Barker Hill. There was such a line of cars going to the same place that I just knew it was going to be something really special. I was not disappointed. When we reached our destination I almost jumped out of the car. There was a tree that was larger than the one at Spieldenner’s lit up by with floodlights. The decorations were huge, candy canes, toy soldiers and other fairy tale items. Large red and green lights and a gold tensile that went all way around the tree and stretched from top to bottom. The star on the top was so big and brilliant I imagined it was as big as I was. We could only stay there for a few seconds; there were so many cars wanting a chance to see this incredible giant of the evergreen that traffic had to keep moving. But all the way home I could still see that beautiful tree in my mind. I couldn’t wait to tell Pearl!

When we got home I ran into the house and told my beloved great aunt everything we did and saw. I loved telling her things because I could always tell she was listening to every word. When I finished, she showed me something she had just bought for Christmas. It was a nativity scene with all the characters; Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the three wisemen, sheep, camels, a stable and a manager. That night Pearl told me the real and complete Christmas story; how God loved us so much He sent his Son as a baby to redeem the world that we may someday live in heaven with Him. Some children heard this story from the time they were toddlers; I was six and I hung on every word the little lady from West Virginia told me. Christmas lights and display, a Christmas movie for helping the Marines help other kids. Not one but two of the most beautiful Christmas trees I had ever seen. And now finding out the real meaning of Christmas. Wow! What a night!

C.S. Lewis; “Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.”

Max Lucado; “The story of Christmas is the story of God’s relentless love for us.”

Robert Flatt; “The giving of gifts is not something man invented. God started the giving spree when He gave a gift beyond words, the unspeakable gift of His Son.”

Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

It’s been sixty years since that night. And, since then, I have seen major cities adorned for miles with the most incredible decorations and millions of twinkling lights. I have performed in scores of musical programs at Christmas and even played the part of a wiseman in several plays. My Lady and I have enjoyed adorning our home with Christmassy décor and watching our children and then grandchildren faces when they open their presents. And I have read the Christmas story in Luke in our home for nearly fifty years. Still, the eyes of my heart go back to a six-year boy and the wonders, beauty and true meaning he received at his first Christmas in his beloved Hometown of Fremont Ohio.

“For unto you a Child is born. And he shall be called Immanuel.” God is with us.

To all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year!

See ya next year!





Something About Bob and It’s Special

13 12 2020

Do you remember him from school? We all knew him. He’d come down the hall going from class to class and seldom make the short trip without someone saying something mean, but what they saw as funny, to him was hurtful. He was the brunt of jokes and pranks constantly, but all he would do is keep his head down and walk away. I guess he felt if he fought back it would only get worse. And why was this young man ridiculed mercilessly? He looked different, thought and acted differently, did not fit the general norm of the typical high school student. Now to be fair, not all of us were cruel to this individual; occasionally we’d even say a nice word to him. But we’d never defend him when he was picked on fearing the taunts would then turn to us. And in private with a few friends, we may even talk and laugh about how weird he was. Okay, you’ve probably figured out by now I’m not speaking of a certain individual that we all know; I’m talking in general. It’s safe to say nearly all secondary schools in the country have at least one individual that fits into this sad category. And if we’re honest, most of us have been guilty of the behavior I’ve described. Quite possibly, we were that one who picked on this individual. But today I’d like to tell you about a certain young man I knew that was firmly in this category.  His name was Bob.

I met Bob during our grade school days when we were in the same cub scout pack. He was a big boy, both tall and heavy and he had a weird way of looking at things, different thoughts and ideas than most. So, one could see Bob was, shall we say “diverse” in his ways and thinking and had to endure a great deal of torment at school as well as from the guys in our pack. Fortunately, his mom was the den mother and she wouldn’t let it get too carried away. I didn’t say a lot to him because I was dealing with my own problems at school since I got teased a lot also. Since I was rather nice to Bob, his mom would always put us on the same team when we split up and played games. Here I have to admit I would get a bit aggravated knowing it was a sure thing whatever we were playing, we were going to lose big!

When we got to high school, I seldom saw Bob. If I did run into him, I would keep walking like we were strangers. And still there were ones that nev missed an opportunity to tell him how dumb or weird he we was even going out of their way to taunt him. It wasn’t right and I didn’t approve; but I must confess I didn’t lift a voice or a finger to defend him; something I’m ashamed of to this day.

My senior year I only had to go to school half a day, so I took a job on the afternoon shift at a small factory that made plastic products. And who did I find working there? Good Old Bob!! He was a year ahead of me in school and after graduation went to work there. He was a machine operator and I was put as his helper. Lucky me! The work was easy and we actually made a pretty good team getting parts out. But every evening as the hours wound on, one thought came to mind. Good Grief man! Don’t you ever shut up?!!! Bob made conversation on every subject known to man and never lost steam. I had to learn how to shut him out mentally or I would lose my mind. I put up with it because since I didn’t have a car at that moment, he was kind enough to pick me up and take me home every night. One evening I asked him; “Bob, where do get all this information.” It was then I found out how well read this man was. Scientists, philosophers, politicians, inventors, philanthropists, adventurers, and a good deal of fiction writers. Here was someone who had absolutely no social life. I suppose he knew if he showed up at some function or gathering there was a good chance he’d have to endure ridicule. So he would stay home in his room and read everything he could get his hands on. As I began to really listen to him; I came to realize Bob was quite an intelligent man. His comprehensive skills on what he read was impeccable. He could recite paragraphs and pages as if it was in front of him. The more I got to know him, the more respect I had for “Old Weird Bob.” Yes, you could say he was different compared to most, but that sure didn’t make him dump or bad. I discovered he was brilliant; he just had an unorthodox way of carrying himself. Also, he had a heart to help others. He found out another man that worked at the factory was walking every day several miles to get back and forth. So Bob would go out of his way to pick him up, and would never take money from either of us for gas. As time went on, I found that he had another hidden talent; he was quite the actor. He could recite entire lines from shows and his voice texture for whatever part he was doing was spot on. “Bob, you’re very talented, you ought to pursue this gift of yours.” He would look at me for a moment and then go on to a different subject.

One day at the end of work he was unusually quiet as we walked to the car. “I’ve just been fired.” “What?!! Why?” “The boss said I wasn’t working out and had me turn in my tools.” I didn’t know what else to say as we drove to my house. As I got out, I said, “Bob, I’m sorry man, I know you’ll find something else.” He didn’t say anything, drove off and that’s the last time I ever saw him. I asked the boss about Bob the next day trying to defend him. “John you’re the only one who would stick up for him, nobody else liked him so it’s best he’s not here.” I don’t believe it. All through school he had to put up with being looked down and now the same thing was happening in the blue-collar world. For Pete sake!

There’s an old saying about not judging a book by its cover. But the adage goes like this, “Don’t criticize what you don’t understand. Don’t judge a book by its cover. You may miss the whole story.” It wasn’t until I worked with troubled kids that I came to realize there’s a lot more to an individual than generally meets the eye. The troubled youths I came into contact with were mostly good kids at their core, but because of circumstances beyond their control they were looked down on before many got to know just who they really were. So, they become that person that others identify them as and they give up on life. I feel that’s what happened to Bob; people saw him as weird and so he withdrew into himself and allowed few to really know his talents and his heart. I have a theory that often others will scorn someone else to keep the light off themselves and the shortcomings they have. The Bible is very clear on this subject. James 2:1-5” My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I suppose I’m on a soapbox today, but this is a subject that’s close to my heart. We’ve all heard the golden rule, “Do onto others as you would have them do onto you.” I am convinced that if we all could try just a little more to understand others, ones that are different that we are, this world would be such a better place for all of us, especially the Bobs everywhere and perhaps in our everyday life.

As mentioned, I never saw this “Traveler of the Rock Road” again and I’ve been told he passed away twenty years ago. My hope and prayer are that he found some joy in life before then, perhaps with someone else. And my other hope and prayer is I hope that I will never again look at someone’s appearance or ways and not see their heart. For I know I will have missed the whole person.

‘Nuf said.

See ya next time.





You Want to Help, Then Be Quiet!

29 11 2020

When my children were little, it was my desire for them to know the area and people where my story began down in southern West Virginia. Many times we traveled down to Mercer County which is the home of Princeton, my birth home, and Bluefield that at one time was called the southern New York City for the way it was designed.  But it was the small communities where most of my extended family lived–Matoaka, Rock, Montcalm and Bluewell. These little hamlets were quaint as they had not changed a great deal with progress, and I loved them dearly as I did the people who lived there.

One of my favorite places was a state park named Pinnacle Rock for its 3,100-foot sandstone formation that rises high into the sky like a natural God made skyscraper. Several times I would make my way over there before sunrise, and with a flashlight make my trek to the top where I would watch the sun come up in the east and pull the darkness away from the valley below like an artist slowly unveiling the beautiful painting he had created. I was always left in awe of the beauty God had formed just for a wild-eyed youth to take in. Now my great-aunts didn’t hold to the same mindset I did and lectured me how dangerous that stunt was. I finally agreed they would never hear of me climbing up Pinnacle Rock in the dark again. (Please note the words I used.)  So, when the children became old enough to appreciate the view, I would take them over, and to ease everyone’s mind, in the daylight. They loved it as I had hoped they would. 

It was on one of those visits I met a man that I didn’t know and have never seen since. He was standing in the parking lot looking away from the rock and on to the road; and it was apparent there was a lot of sadness in this soul. As we reached him, I said hello and he gave me a soft reply. Something told me not to keep walking. So, I spoke, “Friend, are you okay?” That’s all it took for him to tell his story. “I come here occasionally to remember my daughter. I just live down the road and we used to come here and climb the rock like you and your kids did. She loved it here and we had such a good time. As she got older, I was working more and she was growing into a young lady. We kind of grew apart; she had friends that she hung out with and I just didn’t bother being around her much. One day she was driving home from a party and had too much to drink. She went left of center right out here, hit a car and died instantly. I can’t help thinking had I been around more for her this would have never happened. I can’t stop blaming myself.” I sent the family on to the car and Cathy knew I was going to stand there and talk to this man as long as he wanted. I didn’t do much talking, I let this brother spill his heart out with all that was on it. “I generally don’t talk to strangers, but when I saw you something told me it was okay to approach you. (Not blowing my horn but I get that a lot.) He continued on with memories of how close they had been at one time, and all the joy and laughter they shared. When he spoke of the good times there would be a small smile on his face, to which I would smile back and say something like “That is such an awesome memory, thank you for sharing it with me.” When it was apparent he had finished, I ask him if I could pray with him. And there in that parking lot, with others coming and going around us, we bowed our heads to the Lord and I prayed he would forgive himself and hang on dearly to those precious memories of his beloved little girl. Before we walked to our cars he spoke once more. “Thank you, you don’t know how much you helped me today.” Driving away his words kept echoing in my ears. How much I helped him? I didn’t do much more than listen to him. I, didn’t, do much more, than, listen. Hmm.

I like using quotes: Here’s one that rings true even though I don’t know who said it. “Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything, or to do anything in particular, but just to let us feel that we are cared for and supported.”

Years ago, I learned the passage James 1:19 “This you know, my beloved brethren, but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” I felt it was directed right at me because I was guilty of speaking when I shouldn’t. But it’s also directed at how we should treat others who are going through some rough times. The man didn’t need me to try and fix his problems, he needed me to listen to his story, and care. That’s how God Treats us; He knows and listens to our concerns and short comings and cares so much for each of us that when the time is right, He can help us. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

As I stated earlier, I never saw this “Traveler of the Rock Road” again. Occasionally though, I still think of him and hope he found help in forgiving himself. All I know is God put this individual in my path that day for a reason. And the reason? Simply to listen, and to care. Perhaps God has or will do the same to you; bring someone to you that needs help. And you give them that help. With your ear, and your heart.

Another quote I like is this one by Katherine Walden, “If a person feels the need to tell you the same story countless times, there is a reason. It is either important to their heart or they feel it is important for you to know. Be kind, be attentive, be patient and perhaps you will be the one God uses to help them move past where they are stuck.”

Blessed Week Family and Friends!

See ya next time.





Come Home, Come Now!

8 11 2020

Kevin was nearly 20 years old when I met him, but with his boyish looks he could have easily passed for 16. A greasy blond mop of hair that had the appearance of not being washed for months; probably also the last time he had a bath. His thin frame told me he hadn’t eaten properly for quite a while. That was also evident when I took him to Micky D’s and he devoured his food at record speed. Kevin had left home two years prior in hopes of discovering new places and adventures far from his home in northern Kentucky. Instead, he found himself often homeless, or living with others that would abuse him by taking what money he had and then tossing him out. For a time, he lived in a tent until winter came along and it was too cold. But often he’d find himself behind bars in some town for petty crimes like vagrancy, shoplifting and the likes. 

When our paths crossed, he was trying to get his life straightened out. He hadn’t finished high school so he was taking adult classes to earn his G.E.D. Someone helped him get a job doing janitorial work, but it was several miles from where he was staying. I told him that as long as he was wiling to make an effort to do better, I would help him get back and forth to work and school. Someone else had taken him in that he trusted and I bought him new clothes for his job. As we rode together, we got to be friends and Kevin began opening up to me more. He told how he was pretty wild and wouldn’t listen to anything his parents wanted him to do. They had many fights and one night he slipped out the back door and hitchhiked to Florida. That didn’t turn out the way he hoped so next he moved to Michigan in hopes of a job. Again, failure was waiting for him there and he found himself walking the streets at night when he couldn’t get into a shelter. Next, he met a person who took him to Fort Wayne and used him as a punching bag whenever he got drunk. He finally found his way to our little lake community and landed in jail for 90 days. When he got out, he had no place to go and knew only a few people. He told how tired he was of this lifestyle and just wanted to go home. “Well Kevin, that sounds like the best thing you could do. So why don’t you?”  Looking down he answered softly, “I made my parents life a living hell and they would never take me back.” “Have you ever called and asked them if you could come home?” He shook his head, “No, they don’t want to hear from me.” “But you don’t know that. Personally, I think it would be the best place to pull your life together, and you just may be surprised at what they would say. Anyway, you’re never going to know if you don’t call.”

It was about a week later Kevin got hold of me to say once again the person he was staying with gave him the boot. Got it him set up with shelter for the night and told him we would go around the next day to the different shelters; something I could tell he wasn’t crazy about. Early in the day he told me he found another place to stay. I knew the place and far as I was concerned, it wasn’t good. “Kevin, please consider calling home and talking to your parents; buddy you don’t need to live this way anymore.” Hanging up, I felt like I wasted words, but I had try anyway.

Two days later Kevin gives me a call. “Could you take me home?” I thought he must me someplace where he wants a ride back to where he was staying. “No, I need a ride to Kentucky.” “What?!!! What’s going on, Kevin?” This place I’m staying is really dirty and I have to sleep on an old couch and the people here are never quiet to where I can get to sleep. So, I called home.” I think my heart skipped a beat. “What happened? What did they say?” He shared four words his mom said to him. “Come home. Come now.”

“Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.” C.S. Lewis.

Even though Kevin had rejected the ways, rules and love of his parents, they never stopped loving him. And I imagine, like any parent, they knew where he was most of the time and what he was going through. But forcing to come home would have been a mistake; it had to be his decision. God does that with each of us; no matter what you have done, how much you have rejected Him, He’s not going to stop loving you. But God is not going to force anyone to love Him and so He gives us a freewill to decide what we want and where we can go for true love. There is a quote by Phillip Yancey that describes me to a tee when I walked away from God for a while. “I rejected the church for a time because I found so little grace there. I returned because I found grace nowhere else.” “Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.” Like Kevin, I was unhappy in my situation, that is until I walked away and was able to see just how much love I left behind. Over and over again we see His love for us in scriptures.

Psalm 36:7 “How precious is your steadfast love, O God!  The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 8:38–39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

We crossed the bridge and headed to a small border town in Kentucky; I could see Kevin’s excitement as he recognized all the places he grew up around and wanted to tell me all about them. When we reached his house, it looked as if no one was home. “My parents stay to the back of the house, but I know they’re there.” “Do you want me to go up the door with you?” “No, that’s okay, if they’re not here I’ll sit on the porch until they get back. You can go ahead and leave. Thank you for everything.” I pulled away but could see in the rearview mirror Kevin as he climbed the steps to the house. And there was his mom and dad meeting him. A few minutes later I got the text; “I got it!” Pulling over I wrote back, “I’m so glad you’re home.” A quick response; “Me too.”

Been a couple of years now but I still think about Kevin and how happy he was to go home. Perhaps there’s someone waiting for you, or you have a loved one you want to see come home. Don’t give up. Don’t stop loving. And if it’s God you’ve walked away from, tell me something. Are you really happy? I know our Lord is not, because His love never ends. He’s always ready to say to any of us, “Come Home. Come Now.”

See ya next time.





Our House, Our Home

18 10 2020

In the first six years of my life I was kind of bounced from one home to another. Starting in the great state of West Virginia, Ma (as I always called her) and I moved to Maryland to live with her brother’s family and find work. I was later sent back to WV to live with my Great Aunt Dot and her husband David. From there I found myself being sent to Kentucky to my Great Aunt Pearl and Uncle Price who had moved there and ran an upholstery shop; we lived in small apartment above the store. Pearl and Price left there and I went to live with Price’s sister’s family. Mom had to leave me with other folks for a time as she tried to get on her feet. A single mother back in the 50s didn’t have the easiest road ahead of her, especially one with physical limitations; Ma had over an 75% hearing loss. Finally, the day came that Pearl came back to Kentucky to get me and we traveled to a whole new place–Fremont Ohio. Fremont was bustling with many factories that offered work to ones that needed it. A good number of folks from the Appalachian region had moved there for a better life. I can remember the joy I felt when the bus pulled up in front of Tremper’s, kind of a magazine, tobacco, and soda shop. There, on the sidewalk with a big smile was Ma. I don’t think I touched the steps of the bus when the door swung open; I just jumped straight into her arms. Toting our luggage, the three of us walked across State St. Bridge and up Sandusky Ave. to the smallest house I had ever seen. It had a small kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room; I doubt it was much bigger than my garage today. But we made do until the day Pearl told me we were moving down the street into a big house over on Holland. I was so excited; I had been sleeping on a rollaway bed in the living room and now I was going to have my own room. That excitement dissipated quickly the moment I saw the place. It was a big house alright, but it looked like a strong wind could knock it down. This place had been built back in the 1800s and at one time was a showcase home with the wide 1-house façade and narrow Greek Revival front attic-story windows. (I got that description from a fascinating book, “Fremont, Where History Lives” by Larry and Krista Michaels.) But over time, it had become an apartment house until it was abandoned for many years. Now it was run down with many trees and two sheds that leaned hard to one side. Pearl and Price had been coming there to do work for some time and fixed up enough of the house that we could move in.

I wanted to explore the neighborhood, but everyday there was work to be done. As the adults did carpentry, painting, electrical and plumbing; it was my job to carry trash out to a pile in the backyard. Price had a disability so he didn’t work but Pearl and Ma had jobs they would go to each day, and then come home to do repairs to the house. We moved there when I was 6 and it seemed like the task for fixing this place was endless; but that didn’t deter my Pearly Mae! Every day she put in several hours at times backbreaking tasks to make that house a home.

The lowest point came when we had to evacuate, I believe one Spring. We lived two blocks from the Sandusky River and it flooded that year.  Pearl had put hours into sanding the hardwood floors and then staining them. They were beautiful! But after the river had subsided and we were allowed back, those floors were now covered in black silt, garbage and even a couple dead fish. I remember seeing my beloved Aunt’s face look as if she was ready to cry. But after a few minutes it was task at hand; get those floors clean and re-stain them. To my young mind it just didn’t seem like it was worth all the effort, so one day when it was just the two of us, I ask her, “Pearl, why do you love this house so much?” Sitting down at the kitchen table with me, her face became soft looking but very serious. “Johnny, all the places you have lived, the places your mom has and even Price and me always belonged to someone else. This is our home, and you watch, someday it’s going to be beautiful. I know I didn’t have the same enthusiasm for the place as she did, but if that’s what Pearly Mae believed then I would also.

I must have been about 14 the day I rode my bike home and just stopped in front and looked. Most of the old trees were gone, as were the sheds. In their place were flower beds and lush green grass. The front and back porch set the house off with trellises on the ends that colorful flowers grew up. In the back was a long sidewalk with an arched trellis spanning 20 feet and again flowers growing up and over. On both sides of the back sidewalk was a huge vegetable garden that yielded enough food to can and eat until the next growing season. Pearl no longer had a dream; she had a home she was proud of. The inside was just as lovely with not only the floors, but the wood trim stained to a mahogany finish. Pearl loved tropical fish and had several large fish tanks placed around the house with one that was my favorite she had built into the wall. With the largest yard in the neighborhood, there were numerous times and she hosted outdoor parties for all the good people that lived around us. Pearl was ahead of her time when it came to diversity. We had folks from every race sitting at the long tables eating, laughing, and enjoying being together. I was so proud of Aunt Pearl, her beautiful house, and my home.

“It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” Charles Spurgeon                                           .

I have no doubt that many had the chance to buy that house (Which by the way, cost $1,500), but when they saw with their eyes what it looked like they all walked away. Pearly Mae saw it with her heart. She looked past the mess and the deteriorating conditions and saw beauty no one else had. She felt rich in what God had given her. A home.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Pearly Mae retired and moved back to West Virginia to be near her brother and sisters and many of the neighbors she had been growing old with cried. But she loved being with her family again and would stay there the rest of her days. Still, several times she told me in confidence how much she missed Fremont, her friends and her beautiful home there.

On Feb.3, 1984 a tragic accident ended this “Traveler of the Rock Road” journey here on earth. And this man she used to call “Little Boy Blue” still misses her. But I wouldn’t wish her back for anything. You see as much as her heart saw the beauty of her Holland St. home, that same heart also saw the Home where she would spend eternity. Keep an extra seat at your kitchen table, Pearly Mae. Someday we’re going to sit and talk again, but this time for a hundred years!

Thank you, Fremont for giving us a home there.

See ya next time.





Make the Chili

27 09 2020

Adam and Becky had been married for over 30 years and always had a wonderful relationship. When they had first wed, money was tight so they couldn’t go out except on a rare occasion. But one thing they could do and always enjoyed is to go driving around the small mountain roads there in their home region of Missouri. The scenery was breathtaking and they had a favorite pull-off place where they could look out over the Ozarks. Often, they would sit on the hood of their old car and watch in awe as the sun began to go down. At a point it would be at a position where it seemed like sunbeams were bouncing off the majestic hills. As the sun sank below the horizon, the sky would light up in a brilliant yellow and slowly change to a soft red and orange. And as shadows started to cover their mountains, the image was one that every skyline in America would envy. They may not have had much money, but they felt rich with emotions from their weekly date night.

Time moved on, they built a home and raised two daughters that often they would take to their secret Shangri-la land. The girls would squeal and laugh with delight watching the beautiful colors of the sky, then sit quietly in reverent awe as the stars began to fill the heavens. On the ride home they would always fall asleep, but years later both would tell how those moments were the most memorable of their young lives.

The girls grew up, married and moved away leaving Adam and Becky to enjoy the empty nest years ahead of them. Unfortunately, Adam was suffered a severe stroke which left him partially incapacitated. Over time he grew stronger from rehabilitation but would never be able to work or drive a car again. That left Becky as the sole breadwinner for the two of them. Adam became well enough to stay on his own so she took a job that demanded many hours from her. She’d come home exhausted every day, but good old Adam would have the house clean and dinner waiting on her.  Still, Adam would get restless just sitting home all day, so occasionally he’d say, “How bout we go up to our spot and watch the sun go down?” Now the last thing Becky wanted to do after coming home from a hard day’s work was to go back out. “Adam, I do enough driving back and forth to work, to the grocery store, your doctor appointments and to church on the only day I have off. And you know I don’t like driving on those roads after dark. I’m sorry, but no!” Sometimes he would call one of his daughters to see if maybe one of them could come home for a couple of days and take him up there. But they were busy with their own families now and couldn’t take the time to grant his request. Adam was an understanding man so he would drop the subject, but still hoped they could get up there just one more time. Sadly, he finally did but not the way he had envisioned.

Becky tells of the day she came home from work to what she thought was Adam sleeping in his chair; sadly, he was gone. She would speak often of how she should have taken the time to go up again to their spot in the mountains; and that brought her great sadness. Several days later she and the family made their way to the sight to spread Adam’s ashes and remember all the times they had there. But through the tears and the heartache, she tells how she could see Adam smiling.

Philippians 3:13 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”

Adam and Becky were strong believers in Christ, and they had assurance that one day they would be with Him in heaven. Even though she was sad that he was gone, and she never gave Adam his last wish, she knew he wouldn’t want to come back for all the beautiful sunsets in the world. Becky found peace in knowing Adam was happy, and Home. C.S. Lewis wrote, “We do not want merely to see beauty … We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” Becky truly believed Adam was now part of the beauty of God in two ways; He was with the Lord, and while being at the place that he loved on earth the most. She of thought of that every time she went to visit him on the hillside.

It’s been some years since Adam went to be with the Lord. As for Becky; well these two “Travelers of the Rock Road” were finally united again; on their favorite mountain, and at the throne of God. Awesome!

I wrote this story after reading another that reminded me when one of the daughters shared theirs with me; how much her parents loved each other. She also said that it helped her to consider even the little things, the things that seem more a bother than what they’re worth. And it helped her and her husband to always consider the feelings of each other. So, let me close by sharing that with you. You’ll see why I named this story as I did.

“A good friend of mine unexpectedly lost her husband. A couple months later we were running together, chatting about nothing. She asked me what my dinner plans were, and I told her hubby wanted chili, but I didn’t feel like stopping at the store. When ran a few more minutes when she quietly said, “Make the chili.” It took me a few more minutes to realize we were no longer talking about dinner. It was about going out of your way to do something for someone you love because at any minute they could be unexpectedly taken from you. So today I’m sharing with you that wisdom handed to me by my dear friend, that I’ve thought of many times since that day. Next time someone you love wants to go for a walk, or watch a football game, or play a board game, or just want you to put your phone down and give them your undivided attention, just do it. Make the chili.”

See ya next time

I hope.





Hidden Blessings in the Dirt

13 09 2020

This story came to me through a friend who gave me permission to share with you good people.

I love gardening, raising numerous fruits and vegetables that we love to eat fresh or canned. At work a number garden and enjoy telling how our crops are doing and getting new ideas from each other. During one of those conversations, a coworker named Jack was listening to all we were talking about and commented that he would like to start gardening but didn’t know a thing. Sam, a man who had been growing a garden for years told him he’d come over to his house and help him get started. He told him what to buy at the store and that weekend they’d get started. Saturday morning Sam showed up at Jack’s house with a tiller loaded on his truck. Soon he had an area in the back yard all tilled up. They added fertilizer and Sam tilled the soil again. Then they started putting the plants in the ground in straight rows adding Epsom salt and water to each one. They worked all that morning and half the afternoon and finally finished preparing Jim’s new garden. Sam told him what he would have to do to ensure proper growth and that he would drop by occasionally to give more pointers and check on the progress.

Jim was so excited when he began to see small green tomatoes that would ripen to a bright red, lettuce as the heads grew larger, beans beginning to sprout, small ears of corn growing in the stocks, cucumbers, zucchini, and squash filling up the area that once was only black soil, seeds and tiny plants.  Everyday he’d rush home from work to see the progress of his garden and do whatever work he needed to keep his plot plush and rich to produce the food he was growing with his own hands. Jim would get his wife and daughter to come and see the progress, but he could see they didn’t share the same enthusiasm that he did. His wife would say, “That’s nice, Jim, but are you sure this stuff is going to be safe to eat?” Like Jim she never had a garden before and was nervous about eating anything growing in the dirt of their backyard. His daughter was of the same mindset and told her dad, “I’m not eating any of that stuff!” Still, that didn’t deter Jim’s enthusiasm and he knew his family would change their tune come harvest.

That moment finally came and all of Jim’s hard work had paid off. Each day he would gather more and more crops to bring proudly into the kitchen to show his wife for her to prepare. Sam had given him written instructions on canning, freezing, and preparing vegetables to eat right away. His wife would continue to look doubtful, but Jim was happy with his results. He’d even bring pictures to showoff what he grew. Didn’t seem like anything could rain on his happiness. Well, almost anything.

Jim showed up at worked one day, but with a different demeanor, like a sadness in is soul. He pulled Sam off to the side to have a private talk. We couldn’t tell what they were saying, but you could tell by their looks it was serous. Later Sam told the rest of us that Jim’s wife finally told him there was no way she was going to eat any of the food he grew. She and his daughter just didn’t trust it so they we’re going to take a chance. Since Sam had helped him get started, Jim wanted him to have all the crop, to which he agreed. We all felt bad for Jim, going to all the work, elated with the results, but then not to reap any of the benefits except to give it all away. Sad.

Two weeks later Sam was having a yard party and invited everyone on the crew to come; this included Jim and his family. The food he and his wife prepared was incredible. Besides burgers and hotdogs there were salads with tasty cucumbers, peppers, onions and tomatoes, corn on the cob, green bean casserole, zucchini flan and potato cakes. Sam had put out a feast that was pleasing to everyone there, especially Jim’s wife. She went to Sam’s wife to thank her for inviting them and tell how much she loved all the dishes. Sam’s wife smiled and then told her something that made her face turn as red as the tomatoes. “Well I need to thank you! After all, you and Jim gave us all the vegetables we ate today.” Jim’s wife’s stomach went from feeling happy, to a rather sick feeling.

There’s a quote that goes like this, “Faith is trusting God even when you don’t understand. Often God leads us in a direction that we have a hard time trusting, perhaps it’s something new and different to anything we ever did before. Only to realize the blessings we missed out on by not trusting. “To trust God in the light is nothing, but trust him in the dark—that is faith.” Charles Spurgeon. Another one I like is “Faith is trusting God even when you don’t understand His plan.” There have been times in my life that I met trusting God’s plan the same way Jim’s wife trusted him. She loved her husband, but just couldn’t bring herself to trust food that she didn’t buy at the store or in the restaurant. That took more faith than she was ready to give–just like us at times with God. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I Know The Plans I Have For You’ Declares the Lord, ‘Plans to Prosper You and Not to Harm You, Plans to Give You Hope and a Future.”

These two “Traveler’s of the Rock Road” learned a lot that year, not just in the benefits of growing their own food but practicing faith and trust. The next season they grew another garden and she leaned how to preserve the vegetables so they could enjoy them until the next harvest. Showers of blessings can come in many different ways. Even as tomatoes and cucumbers!

See ya next time!





Officer Smokey

23 08 2020

Back in the 1960s if you lived in Fremont Ohio and didn’t know anyone on the police Phil Smokeyforce except one, it would the same officer; everyone knew Phill Huss. Phil was not only a police officer; he was the city detective and juvenile delinquent officer. And if for some reason you didn’t know Officer Phil, anyone in the whole city from ages 3 to 93 knew Smokey the Clown. This was Phil’s alter ego. Dressed in hobo rags, a well-worn derby, large red nose, and over exaggerated makeup, Smokey would be seen at many city functions especially parades where he would tool up and down the street on his minibike stopping occasionally to put a small child on the back and  give them ride with him. Yeah Phil was a great guy known to all and liked by most. I met him when he stopped by our house on Howland there in Fremont shortly after we moved in and started remodeling. He liked my Great Aunt Pearl and Price and often you’d find him sitting on the front porch spending a little time talking. He knew Ma and me also, and he knew she was a single parent trying to do the best she could raising me. He promised he would look out for me. I guess I thought that was nice, that is until I came to realize what he meant by watching out for me.

I don’t know how he did it and truthfully I didn’t like it, but it seemed like if I got into any bit of trouble old Phil would be there like he was watching from around the corner or behind a house! And if I did get away with something, he’d be at the house the next day or so talking to me about whatever I got into. Phil would give me a very harsh talking to, mostly to scare me, which he did; but then he would do something nice like take me to lunch or get me into the fair or races for free. I appreciated all he was doing, but being young only meant I’d get into some mischief again. One late night I got into a situation that was more than mischief, it was criminal.

It’s not worth going into what I did, but I can still remember the police cars and their flashing lights all around me and the others with me. I remember how cold the handcuffs felt against my wrists and being put in the back of a squad car. And I’ll never forget being taken to the station where they put us in a jailcell that smelled terrible and closed that heavy door behind us. If ever there was a time I wished I was dead, it was then. I didn’t want to face Ma and Pearl; I know how brokenhearted they would be over my stupid stunt. But worse than that I knew there was another person I was going to have to stand in front and give an explanation, and it wasn’t going to be pretty. Phil!

I was released the next morning to Ma, but not before Phil talked to me and he made it clear I better tell him the truth; I was too afraid not to. This time I knew I had blown it big time and I could be looking at some time in a juvenile delinquent center. For the next week, very little was said on the topic. I was to go to school and then straight home and nowhere else. Ma was on the phone several times, but she wouldn’t tell me what it was about. I had a bad feeling I knew what it was about anyway. The next week Phil showed up at school to talk to me in a private office. He was right to the point. “You come to my office every Monday after school and tell me about what you have been doing. You are not to go anywhere unless you talk to me first and you better be where you say you’re at.” I asked “How long do I have to do this?” “As long as I tell you to do it!” He bellowed. Works for me!

I didn’t know it then, but later found out Phil pulled a lot of strings to keep me from having a record and being sent off. I’m sure he did it mostly for Ma knowing how hard it would be on her. So, for a good time after that we’d have a sit down at his office. I thought I was there to tell him what I was doing each week, but the time was spent mostly with him lecturing me on life and growing up right. I’m sure I found most of it boring, but his words on our last day together still ring in my ears. “Johnny, you have the chance to grow into a good man. Don’t disappoint me.” I was going to do everything I could to heed those words, but I was angry when I left his office. Who did he think he was telling me how to live my life? I didn’t have to listen to him, after all he wasn’t my dad and I didn’t even see him as a friend. He was just a cop!

What started me thinking and then writing about Phil is when I came across this quote, “Some people appear in your life when you need them most. They love you & lift you up, reminding you of the best, even when you’re going through the worst. These people are not just friends, they are Earth angels.” That got me thinking on all the times he seemed to show out of nowhere to keep me from trouble. And the one time I did get into a bad fix, Old Officer Smokey to the rescue. God had a plan for me and He sent Phil to help me over a few rough places. The anger I once felt was replaced with adoration and respect for what this man did for me. I wished I had told him that, but the years had rolled on and I was now living in Indiana so I figured I would never get the chance to thank Phil. But you know God has a way of making good things happen.

I’m not sure the date, somewhere around the late 80s/early 90s. I was back in Fremont for a short visit and downtown with my three kids who were young at that time. I happened to notice this old parking meter officer sitting in a Cushman writing something. I stared at him until he looked my way. “Phil?” He got out and walked over to us with a bit of confusion written across his face. “I’m Johnny Miller; do you remember me?” Now he was smiling. “Johnny my goodness it’s been a lot of years. how are you?” I didn’t answer his question, I had something else in mind. Looking down at my children, I said to them, “I want you all to give this man a big hug; for if it hadn’t been for him your dad wouldn’t be the man he is today.” There were tears in old Phil’s eyes as each took their turn giving him a big. “Johnny, you just made my day. Thank you.” I responded “Phil, you helped make my life. Thank you!”

God knew I was going to need a lot of help in “Traveling the Rock Road.” Some like my Lady were meant to be there for the long haul. But ones like my dear friend I lovingly call “Officer Smokey” were sent to help me in the places were the road was rough and they lent a hand, or in Phil’s case, a boot to get me in the direction I needed to go. He could have just done his job as a police officer and nothing more, but he acted as a friend and even a mentor. I’m reminded of the scripture from Philippians 2:4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  I found another saying that expresses how I feel about this man.

“God doesn’t want us to be alone in our journey. He sends us the right people at exactly the time we need them most and uses them to carry out His purpose in our lives.”

Thank you, Lord, for sending Officer Smokey at the times you knew I needed him in my life.

Fremont, you are truly blessed to have had this Man of Honor as part as of your community and legacy.

R.I.P. Phil

See ya next time.





There’s No Place Like Home

9 08 2020

When Rick called me with his request, I knew immediately I couldn’t refuse him; after all Rock _nwe had been friends for years and I knew he wouldn’t be asking if he wasn’t desperate. He lived 120 miles west of me and wanted me to come there, pick him up and take him to parent’s home some 300 miles the other way. Rick was suffering from a type of cancer that had slowly been taking life away for several years. He could no longer drive and even had trouble standing or walking for short periods, and this may be the last time he’d ever see his childhood home. “Rick, you be ready at 8 tomorrow morning; I’ll pick you up and we’ll be to the farm before nightfall.”

It took a little while to load all the things Rick was taking home, including the extra blankets because this disease made him feel cold constantly, but soon we were on our way maneuvering through the busy city streets of Chicago until we were on the highway heading east. During our travels we talked about how he was doing, what good and bad days were like for him; thankfully, he was having a good one at this time, probably fueled with the knowledge he was heading home. We talked on my subjects, music of course since we were both musicians, philosophies, ideologies, life experiences, and the love we both shared for our Lord. It was a nice visit we shared with smiles and laughter since we had not seen each other in years. When we entered northwest Ohio, I pointed out to him how flat the terrain was; something he already knew since we both grew up in that region. “You really don’t care for the land here, do you, John?” “I like it alright Rick, but remember my birth state is West Virginia, and where I live now is rather rolling. So, when you compare to those places, I find this area boring.” “Oh John, you feel that way because you’ve never been a farmer. To them this land is paradise; easy to plow, plant and reap a harvest. When the crop is full, for miles there’s nothing more beautiful.” Taking a quick glimpse of my friend I could see a faraway look in his eyes, as if he could see something no one was able to. Rick, old friend, you make it sound like you miss this world.” There was a pause before he said, “There is no place on the face of the earth that I love as much as I loved my days on the farm.” I found that comment a bit intriguing. Here was a man that left shortly after graduating from high school; he went to college and pursued a career that allowed him many luxuries including hobnobbing with many famous people. He traveled extensively and lived a jet setters’ life, one that many would love to have experienced. But now, my old friend was telling me his greatest love was for the old farmstead, simple, basic, and filled with more life coming from the yield the land produced, than a dozen large cities and a hundred celebrities. He was so happy to be going home. And I like that.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury – to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind.”

Perhaps this is what Rick meant when talking about the farm, for once we reached his home, I knew there was something special here. His mother, tears of joy rolling down her face embraced the son she had not seen for some time. She quickly saw to his needs and had set up a place in the living room for him to be comfortable. She offered me something to eat, but I needed to get on the road and back to Indiana.  She thanked me several times for bringing her son home before I could get out the door. As I made the trek home another thought entered my mind as I pictured Rick, his mother and the love that was in that old farmhouse, “There’s no place like home.”

It’s about a year later now, and I’m back in Chicago, in a hospital where Rick is laying in a bed with a few family members and a friend close by his side. The sound of his breathing is almost ear-piercing as his body fights for life. This goes on for over an hour and all we can do it stand by his bedside and pray. At a moment when it seemed the death rattle, as it’s called, was at a crescendo, Rick suddenly became quiet. He looked around the room at each of us standing there. One person quietly said, “It’s okay Rick, you can go now.” He gently sank into his pillow, and he was gone. The brother who loved him stayed by him for over an hour afterwards, and I made my way to the nurse’s station to give them the update, and that the family would like some alone time right now. I walked farther down the hallway to a waiting room and looked out the window. Being seven stories up, there appeared to be a million lights illuminating the city as I look out the window; it’s not my cup of tea, but I could see how Rick could fall in love with Chicago. I imagined Rick was one of the lights staring back at me.

The hour was late; Rick’s brother would be staying to make necessary arrangements, and I started making my way home. As I thought of everything that had transpired over the last year, but especially this final day, I began to smile. Once again Rick was headed to a place he knew and he loved, and there was love waiting when he arrived. No sickness, he was happy and whole; he was in the arms of Jesus. I like the way the Message Bible speaks of John 14:3,4; “Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” As I think back on that night looking at all those lights, I’m reminded of quote that goes something like this, “Don’t cry that I’m no longer here, for I am shooting through to Heaven like a rocket!”

Rick is one of those “Travelers of the Rock Road” that I still think about fairly often, and how I’m glad God allowed our paths to cross. It was hard watching his decline, but from it I learned something valuable. There’s no place like Home!

See you next time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





It May Fade in the Ears, but Never in the Heart

26 07 2020

Recently, thanks to my Lady, I’m now the owner of the guitar of my dreams–a Taylor onRock _n the professional level. I was no excited to get this new instrument, especially at this time in my life. At 66, my fingers don’t move like they used to, which at times makes it difficult to play. But this guitar is so smooth, it makes my fingers feel ten years younger. Of course, I want to show this beauty off to other musicians; they can appreciate how sweet it plays, so I’ve taken to several who like I, love it! One of my oldest and dearest friends lives in Ohio, so I had to make a special trip there so he could see it and take it for a spin. For over 50 years I’ve admired his ability to make a guitar sing and have been privileged to play 2nd fiddle, as they say, to this talented musician.  As my old friend worked his way up and down the fret board of the Taylor, he would say, “Wow, this is so smooth and easy to play.” I was happy that he loved it as much as I do. But then, he said something that nearly broke my heart. “I love this, just wish I could hear it.”

Over the course of life in a noisy occupation plus all the years playing loud music has taken a toll on his hearing. It first started out with minor problems, but as time went on, he couldn’t hear the music well enough to sing, another talent he was great at it. He can play beautifully by feel, but can’t really hear any of the notes. I knew of his problem, but in my excitement to show him my treasure had forgotten. Knowing how much he loves making music, but now not being able to hear is very hard on my friend, as it is on me as I hurt for him also. I put the guitar back in its case and we sat at the kitchen table reminiscing about the music we made in the early days and how beautiful it was. Time might have robbed him of his hearing, but his memory is keen and when he remembers the glory days, it’s good.

There’s a quote that goes like this; “When something bad happens, you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.”

My friend is in good company when it comes to musicians that have suffered hearing loss; Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne, Phil Collins, Brian Wilson, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend. All these artists, as well as my friend, have something more in common than hearing loss. The music may have been made with their hands and voices that they no longer can hear well, but it’s still alive, well and strong in their minds, and their hearts.

I have found that same perseverance in Christians that have spent a lifetime serving the Lord. Their bodies may no longer allow them to serve the way they did for a lifetime, but in their hearts, they are still working and living for the God of Creation.  For this is a fact they all know.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 “For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So, we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

My buddy and I will still continue to pick guitars as long as our bodies will let us; it’s what we do and who we are. He may not be able to hear the music in his ears like he used to, but this “Traveler of the Rock Road” will always have the magic of music in his heart. Besides, I took the liberty of booking us a gig in 2023 so we have a lot of time to practice. Awesome!

See ya next time.