I think that I may have said, previously, that Fall is my favorite time of the year. I am sitting on our screened in porch…and looking at the leaves…that are already changing.
I have always felt a renewal in the season that brings; my birthday and halloween and Thanksgiving and, my favorite, Christmas.
Photos of Autumn, inspire me. The thought of hot chocolate and sweaters and crisp morning air…is my preferred element.
I started working at Southern Illinois University in the Fall. I could not believe my good fortune. I recall everyone welcoming me and making me feel at home.
I recall walking from my building, Thalman Hall, to my supervisor’s building, and thinking that Mary Jane and my life had taken a profound turn for the better.
Three weeks after my hiring, on October 10, 1978, we purchased our first new automobile. It was a Ford LTD and it listed for $7,000.00, but the dealer, Dennis Ratjen, reduced the price to $6,000.00.
I felt like, that I was driving a Lincoln Continental!
Before I married, Mary Jane, I had experienced what it means to be hungry. I was to proud to admit it to others…who probably would have helped me.
When we married…I was 169 lb..
I am six foot and three and one half inches tall…and I looked like a skeleton.
SIU changed that forever…and there is no mystery…why I love the University!
I often wonder if current leaders…understand….why I am so passionate for SIU?
It is because everything positive in my life…has come from my association with this wonderful School.
I saw my old and dear friends yesterday.
Things have changed…and it always makes me sad.
I cared for this couple…and I still do…and I wish that our friendship had not dissolved.
When I see them…which is not often…the last time was a couple of years ago…I think of all of the wonderful and communal times that we spent together…and the singularity of purpose that we had.
The loss of these friends…was first…a shocking loss for SIU…and then…years later for me.
Christmas…since Laughing Santa…has been a magical time for me.
I enter a reality of people caring about each other and joy and happiness and faith…that renews me for the new year.
Christ’s humble birth in a manger and his vision for the family of man…and his compassion for the poor and the homeless and those who have no voice…inspires me daily…and especially during the Christmas Season.
When Mary Jane and Aaron and Jonathon and I became Presbyterians…I think that a lot of the allure of the faith came from…the excellent manner in which the church treated Christmas.
You know, faith is not emotion…it may touch your emotions…but the practicing of faith and the daily living of it…is a concrete decision…to wake up each morning…no matter how badly you feel…no matter how unemotional your are…and conscientiously decided to be a christian.