This past Sunday, my family did something very old fashioned. We sang at a church potluck. Seriously! We had a blast! It wasn't exactly like the church potlucks I grew up with because we sang all kinds of songs, blues, roots, old country gospel. I watched from the stage as my grandchildren danced to the rhythm of the music. People laughed, caught up on old friendships and shared the bounty of their gardens and kitchens. It took me back to Sunday afternoons in Elderwood at the base of the great Sequoia Mountains. Our family along with my mother's big family would all gather after church for a picnic. There was fried chicken, potato salad and even homemade ice cream packed with rock salt ice in old gunny sacks. Best tasting treat in the country!
I like summer because slowing down and relaxing is widely accepted and expected. It's a great time to remember the good parts of life and childhood. I was a reflective little girl and wondered about so many things. I'd take a blanket out on the lawn, lay down, and watch the clouds morph into various shapes before my eyes and wonder if God was in the clouds and if He was, what I looked like from way up there? I also wondered why it was ok to dance at our family reunions in Texas and yet have to take a note to the teacher during square dance week at school that told her dancing was against our religion? Mama was a zealous Pentecostal woman and was committed to keeping us from the dark path our daddy chose from time to time. So I would stand there next to the Jehovah Witness kid and work the record player knowing full well I could dance better than most.
My curiosity and reflection wasn't just about weighty issues of faith. I wondered about the advances of technology as well. For example, I remember once sitting at our small kitchen table listening to the radio on the table top in front of my sister Diana and I. Our Dad, also known as "Hatchet," don't ask, was a friend of the DJ and would drop by the station every once in awhile. We listened closely as the DJ called out a greeting to "Hatchet" and our dad answered back, "Howdy Cousin!" We were totally stumped. How did Daddy shrink down to fit in the old radio setting in front of us? Our older siblings laughed but we didn't see what was so funny. I decided to watch very closely to see if there was some kind of secret, magical door for him walk out of the radio and when he did, I was going to grab him and put him in my pocket. Shoot, I'd be a star at "Show & Tell" time in Kindergarten.
G.K. Chesterton said "I wonder at not wondering." Me too. Have we lost the invitation to explore and wonder? I hope not. For the most part I'm not afraid of questions or even the absence of profound and definitive answers. I kind of like wondering. See I, like so many others, believe there is something greater than the 5 senses and we haven't even scratched the surface of our God, yes, God-given potential! When we think we have all the answers and there are no more wondrous surprises in life, it's time to pack up and go to the house. I don't honestly anticipate that happening, at least not in my life. I want to be like my friend Mildred Gumm. At the age of 96 she took the Myers Briggs test so she could better evaluate her personality. We just said goodbye to her last month. She will be missed.
If it pleases my Creator, I guess I'll be around for a bit longer, breathing in, breathing out, embracing all that's good and wondering how I've been so blessed to live life on this beautiful planet in these beautiful United States of America!