Friday, August 13, 2010

The day after . . .

It is the day after Tom's birthday and we are still celebrating. He has been receiving cards all week--in fact he got one the first of the month--he has been hugged by grandchildren in town, talked to by one far away, and tonight we are going out to eat and go back to Tommy's for ice cream and cake with the grands. I made caramel cake, at his request, but the frosting isn't quite right. Maybe I got in too big a hurry. Anyway, we're up for a celebration!

Yesterday we drove to Blytheville, Arkansas so that I could attend a meeting of the Board of Directors of Westminster Village of the Mid-South. It was my first visit to the facility, though I have been aware of it since it was on the drawing board. There was a Strategic Air Command base located in the cotton fields surrounding Blytheville and it was closed when the government began downsizing the military and our defense systems. Presbyterians representing the local church, the Presbytery and the Synod teamed up with other interested folks, negotiated a lease with Uncle Sam and chartered the property for a retirement community, a school and conference center. Because the property cost was minimal and there were living quarters already present, they have been able to offer nice retirement homes at more affordable prices than some out there. I was invited several months ago to join the Board but had not been able to attend a meeting until yesterday. It was such a pleasure to see the continuing project and to hear an unsolicited testimony from a resident in the cafe. If anyone reading this blog is interested in knowing more, let me hear from you and I'll get information to you.

In order to get to Blytheville from here, there are two options: drive south to Memphis, cross the river, then go north to Blytheville--about 140 miles; drive northwest to Dyersburg, cross the river into Missouri, then go south to Blytheville--about 95 miles. We chose going through Missouri. "The river" of which I speak is the Mississippi, a body of water I have always loved and for which I have deep respect. Many years of my life were spent close to the Mississippi and I crossed the river at least once a week during those years. I never tired of watching it roll by; I loved seeing the tugboats pushing the barges; I was always aware of the dangers of the river, but also how it contributed to economy of the area. After all these years, yesterday I felt excitement rising to the surface as we approached the bridge and as I looked below and saw the Mighty Mississip'.

The other sight that thrills me is descending from higher ground into the Delta. As a young child I lived in the Mississippi Delta and traveled with my father when I could. He represented a wholesale drug company out of Memphis and his territory consisted of the little towns up and down Highway 61--that's Blues' land. Those were happy days for me. For a time I didn't know hills or mountains or rocky plains existed. I thought all land was like the Delta. Yesterday we drove through lots of cotton fields, soy beans and corn and the sight took me back. The machinery we passed is modern--no people chopping and sights of large contraptions that look like insects with giant arms reaching out to irrigate the fields. Times have changed; I've gotten older, but my love for the river and the Delta it has created only grows. God's creation is amazing. We've been privileged to see a lot of it.

Have a good weekend.

Pastor Margaret

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