Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Hometown Nostalgia

Do you remember the play Our Town? It was about George and Emily who lived in the small town of Grovers Corners, New Hampshire.

I grew up in a small Vermont town called Springfield where I played in the woods, rode a bike (unsteadily and dangerously), picked fresh tomatoes from the garden, walked with my sister to the general store for a soda and Devil Dog, and went trick or treating on streets where the elderly couple at one house left goodies in a basket by the door expecting kids to be on the merit system. Then I moved to Connecticut and lived in a small town called Fairfield. My kids grew up in the small town of Newtown, CT. I now live in a small rural town in North Carolina called Angier.

I say this because for thirty years I lived in California in San Diego County in a “city” called El Cajon. You see, California (at least Southern California) has no towns, only cities. If where you live isn’t a designated city, it’s considered an “unincorporated area.”  What a warm and fuzzy term! Can you imagine Thornton Wilder writing a play called, “Our Unincorporated Area?” I can’t either.

When you have no towns, you have no town halls, no town meetings, no hometown to be from. The whole cozy idea of a town, the place where you grew up and knew your neighbors, vanishes.

In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey grew up in Bedford Falls and made an impact on the townspeople. Note he didn’t make an impact on the citiespeople!

There’s something familiar, comforting, and even magical about a town. Just the word “town” elicits images of friends, trees, brooks, general stores, fireworks, and picnics. Hokey maybe, but real nevertheless. Though times may have changed, we still long for a place where life was simple and easy and we were a part of it—a part of Our Town.

Tell me about YOUR town.

Quotes of the Day:  

There are things about growing up in a small town that you can't necessarily quantify. Brandon Routh

 God made the country, and man made the town. William Cowper

A small town is a place where there's no place to go where you shouldn't. Burt Bacharach

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


"Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder, it’s the truth, it’s actual, everything is satisfactch'll. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay . . . my oh my what a wonderful day." (From Song of the South)

Whoever coined the term “The bluebird of happiness” knew what he was talking about. I have bluebirds around my home and I smile every time I see one. They have brought me more happiness in the last eight months than any other of God’s creatures (other than my parakeet Charlie who also enjoys the bluebirds).

I have three birdhouses on my front porch—one pink, one yellow, and one blue and I have two birdhouses on poles in the backyard. The pink birdhouse is right in my line of sight when I sit at the computer. A few months ago, I watched as Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird checked out the pink house to make sure it was suitable for raising a family and, determining that it was, they flew in and out of it bringing with them bits of grass and straw.

Not long thereafter, Mama went in and stayed awhile and occasionally Papa would bring her a takeout dinner of a juicy worm. A few weeks later, I noticed movement in the round opening of the house and realized the babies had been hatched. At that time, Mama and Papa were kept busier than one-armed paper hangers, bringing food to the voracious little ones. Every five minutes, they would fly over together and take turns standing guard while the other stuffed food down the little ones’ throats.

More and more as I saw tiny heads popping up when Mama and Papa came into view, I prayed I would get to be present when the babies exited the nest. Every time I left the house, I entreated them to stay where they were until I got back. I surely did not want to miss their entrance into the big world.

Mother’s Day. Stewart, Cyndi, Bill, and I arrived back at the house from eating out and were sitting in the living room talking about everything but nothing in particular. As was my habit, I looked outside toward the pink birdhouse and noticed a baby bird’s head filling the opening. Then the baby leaned out and I was afraid it was going to fall out. The four of us sat mesmerized as we watched the baby lean further and further out of the doorway. Mama and Papa were nowhere in sight, at least not from what I could see, but I have a feeling they were close by encouraging their little one to take his first step.

As we sat entranced, the baby leaned out past the point of no return, started flapping his little wings and flew off. Then a second baby appeared in the opening, leaned out far, and flew off. On Mother’s Day yet! This was a gift only God could provide and He made sure I received it when I was home and able to watch. What an absolute thrill.

The babies appeared to fly downward, so Cyndi and Bill ran outside to see if they had fallen to the ground, but no, they were up in a tree acting like real grown-up birds.

The birdhouse remained empty since then, but now Mama and Papa are back, building a new nest and the cycle continues. God is good.

Quote of the Day: Life is a ticket to the greatest show on earth. Martin H. Fischer