Wednesday, June 29, 2011


A trip to Pensacola over the weekend also embraced a slight departure from our usual route, penetrating into south central Alabama for a visit with some old navy friends. We were stationed together at Rota, Spain in the late sixties, he and I, while there, sharing a few months of cramped space, temporarily attached to duty aboard a submarine; and it was good, now, to reconnect after all these years, both of us a little older, both of them still the same pleasant people we knew so long ago. A brief return to civilian life had brought decision, on his part, to re-enlist, allowing them to fully experience what that branch of service promises: a chance to see the world. If their home (that sits beside the small United Methodist church he now pastors) was filled with oh so many mementos of global encounters, though, it was quite clear to me that what really held their hearts was four children and eight grandchildren who, along the way, were the main substance of what life was all about. The message wasn’t merely a matter of pictures, photos framed here and there. Bedrooms yet reflected identities, old personal treasures retained, a new generation’s toys added as they came. If there was any doubt that a “family” yet occupied this space, no matter the actual separation endured, one section of their upper level had been converted into a “castle”, a “kids’ place”, where everything about it just spelled “fun”. Sitting on their porch that evening, reminiscing and catching up the decades between, was enjoyable; but the witness of what Christ produces in one’s existence, the rewards far beyond a promise of heaven, has lingered with me since…..

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