How Will You Be Remembered?

What probably sticks out the most in my mind from last Saturday’s luncheon for people who graduated from Frostburg State University fifty years ago wasn’t seeing a few familiar people, but having a time of remembrance for former classmates who’ve passed away.

 

A good-sized list of those stood on a table at one end of the room, and co-master of ceremonies Pat Garrett went through that list name by name as part of the luncheon’s events. He told whatever he knew about each person and asked attendees to share anything they knew or remembered about the deceased.

A number of the deceased were remembered only as having been good people–or nice ones. But those were still positive memories.

Many of the deceased either weren’t commented on at all, however. Whether they had truly been that inconspicuous during their college years or attendees didn’t feel it was right to say bad things about them, I couldn’t say.

I can’t help being curious. Once I’ve passed away, what will people at future reunions remember about me? I wasn’t an athlete. I wasn’t in any activities except the Baptist Student Union. (If any of my friends from the BSU came to the reunion, I didn’t see them.) I did play my guitar and sing at the Leaves of Grass coffee house on Friday nights, but that probably wasn’t overly memorable, either.

Hmm.

Death for a Christian is a good thing, not something to dread or regret. We believe we’ll be in a better place. Such a perfect place it makes the best earth has to offer seem trivial and worthless.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be remembered–and hopefully in a good way. I don’t know about other peoples’ legacies, but I hope and pray that my novels and songs (maybe even some of my blog posts) will prove to be a worthy legacy, even if they’re not overly popular.

Success with the masses now or later isn’t the important thing. Blessing lives–eve a few lives–is, even if people don’t remember my name.

Twenty-five years ago I wrote a song called “What Will You Leave Behind?” Several years ago I did a video selfie of myself playing and singing that song. I keep the DVD in a lock box under the bed…to be played at my funeral, which I hope won’t be anytime soon.

The lyrics go like this:

When you die, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Precious memories for your friends and family
Or relief that you’re no longer there?
Will the faith you’ve shared bring them comfort
Or your hopelessness cause them more grief?
When you die, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you pass away, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Will your words continue to encourage
Or the harm they’ve engendered linger on?
Do your teachings tell of God’s Kingdom
While your actions point the other way?
When you pass away, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

When you depart this life, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?
Will the good you’ve planted bloom like flowers
Or the problems you’ve sown spread like weeds?
Is your life well invested in others
Or will your influence die at your death?
When you depart this life, you can’t take it with you,
But what will you leave behind?

How I hope I will be remembered for the good. What about you? How do you think you’ll be remembered?

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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You Can’t Go Home Again…or Can You?

I’ve never been to a high school reunion, although I’m keeping watch for information about the 55th year reunion next year. But when I received a very nice invitation to a special luncheon for those of us who graduated from Frostburg State College (now University) fifty years ago, I found myself more interested than I would typically be for something like that.

I’d lived in Cumberland, Maryland, the four years I was in college. I attended  Allegany Community College (now the Allegany College of Maryland) which was just a few blocks from home and then transferred to Frostburg for my last two years. I stayed off-campus at the college during the week.

My memories of college life are pretty spotty, but the older I’ve grown, the greater my desire to see people and places from my past. So my wife, Kathleen, encouraged me to plan on us attending the reunion, which was to be held during Homecoming. I agreed. Gladly.

As time drew closer, however, I wasn’t able to determine that very many of the people I really wanted to see would be attending. And when I saw the names of people who would be attending an informal Friday night restaurant get-together, most of even the familiar names were people I hadn’t really known. Thank goodness one of my old roommates and his wife were going to be there!

So I felt slightly apprehensive about being in even a small gathering of basically strangers. That wouldn’t be “home” the way being with some of the folks I really wanted to see would have been, but I not only felt comfortable in that group, I enjoyed it.

There was only one problem. Everyone looked so old! Or so much older, anyhow. I didn’t even recognize my former roommate at first, although he recognized me.

But if physical changes to my fellow grads were, uh, sometimes more substantial than others, changes to the campus were even more drastic. Kathleen and I drove around the campus for a little while before heading to the restaurant, and I didn’t recognize anything! The number of new buildings was beyond my ability to comprehend. Very attractive, but nonetheless very strange to eyes that had seen things the way they used to look.

I’m writing this half an hour before Kathleen and I drive to the campus again. Thank goodness for the map we were provided for finding where to park and where at the building housing the luncheon!

Today is a dreary, rainy day. I’m afraid we won’t be walking around to view the campus. That’s frustrating,

Kind of. But the people–even just a few–will make Frostburg seem more like home than the university itself.

P.S. We enjoyed the luncheon today, but there were far more people than I’d expected. I couldn’t very well go around inspecting every name tag to see if it belonged to someone I knew. However, I did run into one person I’d known even before attending Frostburg. He’d belonged to the church in Cumberland my father had pastored, and my father had even married him and his wife. That was extra special.

I have to add that the president of the university welcomed the group, and his remarks really helped to put the relative newness of the university into perspective. Nonetheless, we 1968 graduates represented one phase in Frostburg’s development. But the university has moved far past where we were.

So it wasn’t home. Not the “home” we knew back then. But a worthy one for future students.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Nature’s Truly Most Perfect Food

Since my wife and I don’t watch TV, I don’t know whether the dairy industry still touts milk as “Nature’s most perfect food.”

Nonetheless, I disagree. Not because I dislike milk. I don’t. I not only love it, I drink eight ounces of milk every morning. Skim, at that. And I have fond memories of drinking fresh milk at the dairy farm where I stayed many years ago on a mission trip to Wales.

No, maybe I’m exaggerating to say I disagree that milk is “Nature’s most perfect food.” I suppose it is.

But there is one food–and one only–that is “Nature’s truly most perfect food.” And that is PIZZA!

That’s me finishing up my half of the pizza we had for lunch last Sunday. Bacon on mine, pepperoni and mushrooms on hers.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t always crazy about pizza. Not because I disliked it at all, but because I never had any until I was in the tenth or eleventh grade. My mother didn’t cook pizza, and those were the days before every corner that didn’t have a church on it had a pizza place.

Not that it would’ve mattered. We wouldn’t have gone there, and since I didn’t know what I was missing, I wouldn’t have bugged my parents about it.

Not that I would’ve bugged them, anyhow. They were fine people, but not very bug-able.

But then came that magic Sunday night when we were invited to somebody’s house for an after-church social. There I had my first pizza, and I fell in love with it. Unfortunately, that was probably also my father’s first pizza, and it made him SO sick. He’d never reacted to other food that way.

I couldn’t convince my parents that the problem was probably something specific to THAT pizza, not pizza in general. Alas, we continued never having it.

I don’t know when the one-eighty came. But definitely while I was in college. I have fond memories of walking the snowy streets of Frostburg, Md.–named after a family of Frosts, not the frigid weather that typified that area in winter–from where I was living off-campus (Frostburg State) to a place downtown where I’d buy two or three slices and eat them out of the box trudging back to my room through the snow and trying to keep from falling down and getting my pizza wet.

Once I was totally out on my own, pizza became a staple. Both with my ex-wife and Kathleen. We don’t splurge as much as we might enjoy, though. “Nature’s truly most perfect” still comes with a calorie-laden price tag.  At our age and stage, we can’t ignore that.

I don’t know what foods will be served in Heaven, but I assume pizza will be available at every meal. And that–Heaven being Heaven, and Heaven being perfect–I’ll not only never grow fat there, I’ll also never get tired of pizza.

What do you think? How about leaving a comment.

 

    

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

Snow & Pizza

SnowAndPizza 001     SnowAndPizza 002

Some things never change, no matter how old I get. Like having pizza when we have snow.

That’s a tradition that started when I was in college. I attended Frostburg State College (now University) and lived in a rooming house a block or two from campus. The town and consequently the college were named after a family named Frost.

But—with the kind of winter weather we had there—the name really fit. While it’s hard to remember many details about my time at Frostburg—I told you I’m aging gracelessly—I remember snow being on the ground on a regular basis.

I didn’t have a car yet. In fact, I didn’t get my license till late summer after graduation and my first car three or four months later. So I had to walk if I needed anything from Frostburg’s modest “downtown.”

But the only thing I ever really “needed” from the main drag was a couple of slices of pizza. I could’ve eaten more, but I couldn’t afford it.

So it wasn’t unusual for me to trudge out while the last little bit of daylight remained and slip and slide up and down a few hills to reach my pizza place.

My intentions were always good: to wait until I got back to the house before eating.

Have you ever carried a box of fresh, hot pizza at chest level? Hard to ignore that delicious aroma, isn’t it? Especially if every part of you but your hands is freezing.

So I inevitably started nibbling on my treat while slipping and sliding my way back to the house. I was careful, though. As careful as possible considering what I was doing. But I don’t question that—had I fallen down—protecting the pizza would’ve taken priority over protecting myself.

After all, broken bones would mend–eventually. But I couldn’t afford to go back and replace any lost pizza.

That started a tradition for me. One that continued with my first wife and has continued with Kathleen. Whenever it snows, we have to have pizza. And we don’t order and have it delivered. One of us goes out to pick it up.

We do NOT walk, however. Neither do we eat in the car on the way home. We have to be practical. Texting and driving isn’t safe, and driving and eating pizza is even more dangerous.

This winter has broken our tradition, though. Or at least thrown it off kilter a little. We’ve had so much more snow than usual that we would look like a pair of Pillsbury Dough Boys if we’d indulged with each snowfall we’ve had.

But talking about it brings back those same fond memories, and I hope I never get too old to enjoy pizza when we have our first snowfall of the season—and periodically thereafter. Living without that would be graceless indeed.

Do you have any quirky traditions? How about sharing them with us?

I’ll be back again on Wednesday. Please join me then. Better yet, go to the top right hand section of this screen and click to follow this blog by email. That way you’ll never miss a post.

Best regards,
Roger