Sunday, October 10, 2010

55th Class Reunion not better than the Big One

Going Home

The small lake in front of our home is always full of Canadian geese making their way south.

I kept looking for the day come for us to go south to my class reunion where I would see many of my classmates that graduated with me in 1955.

Finally the early morning came and we flew from Columbus to Little Rock where we first attended the 1956 class gathering. It was indeed a privilege to visit with many friends that I had not seen for 55 years.

However, it was the for next day that we had taken the trip. And un-estimated gathering of our class and their spouses met at the home of one of our classmates at 10:30 a.m. and then at 2 p.m. we met at the building which was where we had classes until our graduation. At the end of the tour of the building we had our class photo. That night we met in a building at the University of Central Arkansas for a banquet.

I had been asked by the planning committee to address the class and do a memorial for the 25 of our classmates that had already made their journey beyond this life.

The following are some of my remarks:

“Since 2005; I lost a friend, you lost a friend, and we have all lost friends. This Bible verse reflects our status, I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. Psalm 37:25

“If your life has been like mine it has been a good journey. One thing I know for sure is that life is more than what you make It.--It is more often what God does for us that make things better to live with.”

Afterwards I recited a poem I wrote as a senior that had directed my life for these 55 years entitled, “The Bible.”

“As I grow older I am often drawn back to my youth in my memory and to recall the “good ole days” and wondered what life would be like. Remember what we wrote for our life’s testament before we graduated? My was, “I will be driving my 1938 Cadillac to Seminary.” It was 15 years old then and would be 72 years old today. Boy! What would it be worth today.

“Today the future is not as far as it used to be when I wrote that, and many aspirations changed.

I thought I had been a fairly good fellow in school until I read what two had recorded in my class annual in 1955.

“Mrs. McHenry, an English teacher; wrote in my annual in 1955, “Congratulations to my sweetest headache.”

“Mary Elizabeth Lewis, who had sat by me for four years in assembly, wrote, “Try to stay out of mischief. You know you are a little devil.” Recently she wrote me a note, “I would have been as rough on you if I had have known you would have done so well with your life.”

“This year is another milestone in our life as the high school senior Class of 1955 celebrates its 55th reunion.

“Today it has been great to visit with classmates and their mates. To say with great compliment it is a classy group of 73 year olds.

“I cannot begin to relate the many things each has accomplished over the years. Three have been ministers for over 55 years, one a city mayor, college professors, school teachers, medical doctors, salesmen, farmers, successful businessmen, a NASA researcher, Airline pilot, printers, Fire chief, insurance providers, lawyers, store owners, a boxing promoter, author, columnist, along with a number of widows and widowers. I believe we have some of the most beautiful woman and handsome men still in the class of 1955. And can honestly say our class was a class of achievers.

“It is sad that eleven have died since the last meeting five years ago and 14 previously during 1955 – 2005.

“And I could have been another, looking back at a total of 5 months as I struggled for my life. However, like me, we are all here tonight by the Grace of God!

“For a total of 25 since 1955 and it is unknown how many mates have died during these years and losing your partner is also sad.

“It will never be the same again, and will change faster, as we get farther into the journey since demographers say 78 is the life expectancy for men and 82 for women for those that have reached 73 already.

“For a believer what made the small obituary page here - made HEADLINES THERE.

“ I like what a Swedish chemist read as he woke one morning to find his obituary which read: “Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, who died yesterday, had devised a way for more people to be killed in a war than ever before, and He died a rich man.”

“It was not his, but his brother. But the idea of reading his own obituary changed his life and he set up the Nobel Prize for those who seceded in their field of endeavor.

“He said, “Everybody ought to have the chance to read their own epitaph in mid-stream and then write a new one.”

“I am grateful for the promises in the scriptures that reveal God’s concern for all of mankind. While these verses apply to another in the Bible, they are truths for us as well.

“ And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.” - Genesis 33:12

““Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning: The LORD is his name:” - Amos 5:8 “

“Prayer of Memorial
We did not know the time that God was going to call your name. In life we loved you, in death we remember you. It broke our hearts to lose you, but you did not go alone; for part of us went with you the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide, and though we cannot see you, you are always by our side. Our class chain has broken and nothing seems the same, but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again. It is my prayer no link will be missing in Heaven.”

After the 10 p.m. program we headed back to the motel to finish packing and leaving my boyhood hometown at 3 a.m. for a 5:30 boarding in Little Rock to travel back home.

All the way back I rejoiced at hearing the “Amen’s,” but wondered about those who do not rejoice in the permanent home God has prepared for them that love Him.

In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

And where I go you know, and the way you know."
Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?"
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”-- John 14:2-6 (NKJV)

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