Sunday afternoon, in the summer: come on back with me for a visit to my family. A visit to old times.
It’s noisy now on Sundays, but it wasn’t then. Sunday school is on vacation. My father sends me to the playground–it’s right next door–to get sand for his grill. No gas: it’s one of those black things on three legs that uses charcoal briquets.
Everybody comes for the cookout in the afternoon. My father’s kid brother, Uncle Ferdie, will play horseshoes with us. Uncle Ferdie is an inventor, with all sorts of patents to his name. Once for Christmas we got a battery-powered tape recorder; but it was mercury batteries that had a tendency to leak. My father didn’t think it was safe, so he turned it over to Uncle Ferdie. He built a little power pack and converted it into a plug-in tape recorder, and it worked better than ever.
Along come the hamburgers, the hot dogs, the lemonade. Beer for the gents. Our step-grandfather, John, an old sailor from Holland, plays his harmonica. My aunts are all there, telling stories of their most recent bit of globe-trotting. At a leisurely pace seldom seen anymore, the day drifts into evening.
Or we might go to Grandpa’s house, just a few blocks away. He doesn’t have a grill, but he has patches of both black and red raspberries, he grows both white and Concord grapes, and he has really comfortable lawn chairs left over from the store he used to have in the 1930s. And a nice big front porch where Grandma has her rocking chair.
All gone, all gone, both the people and the places. Gone from the earth, but not perished: for God will preserve His people; He will preserve every good thing. They live. The Lord hath spoken it.
You’re all invited to come again, anytime you please. Maybe next time we can hike off to Hangman’s Tree and tell some scary stories.