May is a wonderful month. In New England, it is when Spring finally arrives. If you live here in New England, you are aware that April was pretty much a rain out. We had 23 days of rain in a 30 day month. However, the calendar has turned and May promises us to be better.
May is also a month of remembrance. We have National Teachers Week, where we remember the hard work and dedication of our teachers. What do you remember about some of your teachers? My father-in-law lived in a small town in North Carolina and he saw his teachers all over the town. As a result, he could tell you their names almost until his dying day. I can’t do that now but I do remember some of my teachers. I remember those for different reasons. My third grade teacher was Mrs. Shields. I remember her because she only had a thumb and a little finger on her left hand. For a third grader, that made an impression. I remember Mr. Crider, my high school civics teacher. Being raised in Virginia, most of the people I knew were conservatives. Mr. Crider was a liberal. He was a supporter of Lyndon Johnson when most of the adults I knew were supporters of Barry Goldwater. He was also one of the first teachers who only gave essay questions. He wanted us to learn to think and express ourselves. He was a major influence in my life because he made me think. I thank God for all of my teachers. I may not remember their lives but I know the impact they made on my life. Of course, I may be partial to teachers because my wife, Darlene, was a teacher and my daughter, Carrie, is now a teacher. I have seen the impact they have had on the children they taught. Last year, my wife had dinner with her first class of fifth graders and it was great listening to their stories.
May is also the month in which we celebrate Mothers’ Day. Actually, Mothers’ Day should be a daily celebration for our mothers. What do you remember about your mother? I understand that not all mothers would qualify for mother of the year. Some of you may have had mothers who mistreated you or left you or other things which causes you not to have great memories. However, there is one thing we all have to acknowledge, without our mothers we would not be here. There are many things I remember about my mother and most of them are good. For much of my childhood, my father worked second shift (3:00 – 11:00 PM). This meant that my mother was responsible for us most evenings. There was a time when I did something that upset my mother and she was going to punish me. I was probably 13 or 14 and felt I was too old to be punished by her so I jumped on my bike and took off. I’m sure she thought I would come back in a few minutes but I did not. In fact, I stayed away until almost 11:00. Then I rode my bike to where my father worked but he was not there. My mother had called him and he had gone home to help her look for me. I know now how worried she must have been. When they came and got me, they let me know how much I had hurt my mother but she never held it against me. I can never remember her bringing it up again until I was married and out of the house. Even thing, it was just talking about something that happened in the past.
Finally, May is the month we remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Do you remember any members of the military who died in the service? As a product of the Vietnam era, I remember a number of my classmates who were killed in Vietnam, including T. J. Evans, a boy I rode to school with for two years. However, not all who die in the military die on the battlefield. I was in the Navy and in 1969, we were in France. As we were preparing to leave port, a boiler exploded and we had a major fire on our ship. Four of the men who were in the boiler room were killed in the explosion. The last one to die lived long enough for his parents to fly over from the United States. I will never forget how that mother reacted when her son died.
I encourage you to take time this month and remember.
On a lighter note, I trust you like our new website. Please give us any feedback you may have. Our goal is to make it a place you will want to visit but most of all we would love to have you visit our church.
Until next time,