Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It was a very good year

Wednesday morning, life seems to be flying by. Never to be morbid, but at this age one is well aware that …  But for now, fine and loving most every minute. Most? Yes, I’m noticing that there are fewer Cove School classmates than when we were there together. 

A Monday or Friday morning some weeks ago, as we were walking down the Bay-side sidewalk on East Beach Drive, the stretch between Cherry Street and Tarpon Dock Bridge, Robert mentioned that he has a picture that shows himself dancing with a girl at The Hangout. We stopped while he tried to find it on his iPhone, but it didn’t immediately appear, so he promised to find it and post it on Facebook. That happened yesterday, along with more than a hundred other memorable shots. I dragged several of them off, pics that stirred the most for me. People talk about the stress and strain of being a teenager, but I seem to have shunted aside the bad parts and clung only to the good memories. All but the time we were in Tallahassee on a Band Festival trip, staying in a hotel downtown, and Tally Bloodworth slammed open the bathroom door and snapped a photo of me stepping out of the shower. The best part of teen years was growing from child to adult 6' 1" height the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, next maybe was falling in love for the first time, the next best part was graduating high school, going off to university and becoming my own person. The worst part, well I’m still letting go of that.

Every Sunday after my turn in the pulpit, I type and edit my sermon, and post it on my blog. This past Sunday I was too exhausted for some reason, or maybe it was the glass of red upon arriving home from church. Wine is a depressant, I know, but instead it inclines me to a long nap, and I didn’t get to the sermon until a day or so later. Right after I was ordained, the rector of my “field parish” told me that he had always printed his sermons and put them in the “sermon rack” in the narthex, and that I also had to do that. So for thirty something years I’ve retyped and printed every sermon, though recently I’ve started just posting online and tossing the hardcopy, no printing. At any rate, although I did not post it on Facebook, last Sunday’s sermon is online at should anyone be interested in reading it. It’s a bit embarrassing, makes me feel foolish, elevates my self-consciousness every time I tell parts of my Call Story, but part of this vocation is being what St. Paul calls “a fool for Christ.” I didn’t realize until sometime the next day that the storm in which I wrote the sermon/homily was apparently during the passing of a collapsing but very bright and noisy waterspout outside my Bay window, that had set off a tornado warning. 

There are other things that I’d thought to say this morning, but in the course of this stroll I’ve wandered too far and don’t remember them. Except that bright parts of my teenage years had to do with cars I drove. Blue 1942 Chevrolet Fleetline. Black 1936 Pontiac coupe. Silver 1937 Chevrolet truck. Don’t remember whether I drove our 1937 GMC truck or not; both it and the ’37 Chevy had been WW2 army ambulances before my father converted them into trucks for long distance hauling seafood. They had a huge red snapper painted on each side of the body, painted realistically and artistically by a commercial artist who had six fingers on each hand, remember him, Walt? Red 1947 Dodge truck. 1948 Dodge, green Custom sedan; bought in May 1948, it was mama’s birthday present, and she and I went down to the train station, walked up on the ramp, and chose the green one over the blue one, both still on the box car, given to me my senior year in college. Red 1948 Dodge truck. Red 1949 Dodge truck. Red 1948 Chevrolet truck that my father got from Wallace Caswell in the final settlement of their business arrangement, O man did I love driving that Chevy truck, which confirmed my preference for GM over Chrysler products: not only better looking, the Chevy rode quieter and smoother and was much easier to steer in those days before power steering. 

Teen years, right? Salie Allen’s parents’ new black 1950 Cadillac Series 62 sedan. The Peters’ green 1953 Buick Super, one of my all time favorites; and their green 1953 Ford Country Sedan. Parker’s father’s 1950 Chevrolet Fleetline sedan. Philip’s family’s green 1948 Oldsmobile. Father Fred Yerkes’ 1952 black Chevrolet Fleetline and Tommy Fidler’s grandfather’s Chevy just like it except it had Powerglide. Tommy’s grandfather was Constable in Carrabelle our growing up years, and Tommy drove it over to Camp Weed to visit me the summer of 1953. So, oh, Tommy's father's brand new 1951 Mercury coupe that night he arrived from Bowles military school in Jacksonville and drove it up to see us at the bonfire pep rally at Bay High and Parker and I, using a dime, jumped the ignition and drove it to a different part of the parking lot, letting Tommy think it was stolen. Our laughing at the practical joke that night may have cost us Tommy's friendship, I hope not; but both Parker and Tommy are dead.

LaVerne’s mother’s Jeep station wagon, that 
was it except that it was green. Salie Allen’s mother’s two-tone blue 1954 Cadillac series 62 sedan. My Gentry grandparents’ 1952 Chrysler Imperial V8, hottest car of the age, at high speed on Pensacola’s dark streets in the late hours of the night with my cousin Bill while the grandparents were out playing poker or canasta with friends for the evening; and the 1953 Chrysler Windsor 6, after the Imperial a sluggard but it had wheels and we had the keys. Then the scrumptious, long and slinky light blue 1954 Imperial the summer I was 19.

At the Univ of Florida I drove work associates’ red 1956 six and black 1957 V8 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop coupes between Gainesville and the steak restaurant in Ocala, where we got filet mignons for $1.50, but I was twenty and twenty-one by then, so those don't count in my teens. And I was twenty when Higdon and I bought that 1947 Buick Special sedan for $75.00 and paid $78.80 for an assigned risk insurance policy from Allstate on it — so our Buick doesn’t count either. 

But Joanne’s gorgeous yellow with a black top 1954 Olds 88 Holiday hardtop coupe does count. 
She used to let Philip and me borrow that car in Gainesville because she never used it. Up until then, the sexiest car I ever drove. We used to drive it back and forth beteeen Panama City and Gainesville.

I was 19 living in Ordinary Time. 

And how could I have skipped our 1949 Plymouth woody wagon that took us through trips, high school dating years, and delivered me from Panama City to North Hall, the UFla freshman “men’s” dorm in Gainesville, the Sunday afternoon before my 18th birthday, September 1953. Ordinary Time.

Teen years. Not to mention: studying Latin with Miss Hord. English with Miss Faye and all the “chidren.” C-5 “Humanities” at UFla, trying to match tunes with composers at exam time: did I make a “C” or a “D”? I don’t remember …

Thos+ beyond Stoppage Time
beyond +Time, and
as from turning eighty 14 Sep 2015, in +Time+

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