Monday, November 7, 2011
HERITAGE: The Wind Beneath My Wings
A Norther gently blew in this week and the temperatures have fallen drastically. We've gone from scorching temperatures in the 100's that turned our lawns into brown shredded wheat, burned our colorful flowers, killed those evergreen shrubs that I have never seen die, and challenged walkers in the neighborhood, who scramble to find daylight hours to exercise outdoors without facing a chance of heat stroke.
Last night we turned into our subdivision, on our way home after the Saturday evening service. We stopped to get the mail. Wisps of smoke swirled out of several nearby chimneys. When I the car door opened, I sniffed and smelled a hint of smoke in the air.
That cool air changed our attitudes on outdoor activities, apparel, and decorations. It also refreshed us after the onslaught of the merciless sun a couple months before. Funny, the effect of temperature and the the shifting of the winds.
As a child, both of my parents had a great influence on me. My mother was soft spoken, quiet, pensive, worked hard outside the home as well as keeping the house up, cooking, and studying for more advanced degrees that led her to a job at the college library. My father, also worked full time and also studied for one degree after another until he completed two masters and a doctorate in music.
Dad started out working on the family farm, then in construction to pay for college. After graduation, he accepted the pastorate at a church in northern Indiana. He had a radio broadcast in which he taught his Sunday school lesson over the waves. He learned that many listened to it who were Sunday school teachers and used his lessons.
Later when he started teaching music, he always had a part time job either as a church soloist, or a church worship leader. Mom, sang in choirs, played the piano, and they sang duets. She was a pastor's wife, bookkeeper at first, a secretary, then as a professional, she worked as a catalog librarian. She had various positions as a librarian and even designed the interior layout of a new library being built at a university in southern Michigan.
Dad and mom were different in some ways, yet similar in others. Dad, the extrovert, was in the spotlight much of the time due to either preaching, leading music, or just by being in a performing arts field like voice and choir. He organized choir tours during spring break, sang in seven operas, directed college student performed operas, oratorios, recitals, and an operetta.
Mom, however, was the detail person who researched, planned trips, alphabetized things from record collections to spices in our wooden kitchen cabinets. She has researched the geneology of our family, chronicled important events through thousands of photos all organized in albums. She organizes trips, finances, and keeps up with all we are doing. She loves to be with family and each visit back and forth is treasured by her.
Both love travel, to see new sights, and try new things. Both have a deep love for God and a faithful prayer life for all the family and others they know.
Mom- went back to college and we graduated the same year...me from high school, and mom from college. She didn't stop there. She went on to get her masters in library science. She has two geneology books published; one is her side of the family and another is a sub-group of her family. She is now working on Dad's family tree. She is a great cook. Many thanks for the great healthy foods she kept in my diet as a child. You got me started off right! And Mom, I loved your fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy! (I wish I didn't know so much about cholesterol so I would feel free to fry up chicken more often! :)
Dad-worked on and received two masters degrees and a doctorate in music. He had to perform in operas while he was a doctoral student at Indiana University as well as several recitals in different languages. Dad was the pastor of a small church in Fort Wayne, IN when I was born. He later taught music in colleges and universities. He has been a worship leader at various churches and denominations, and even summer camp meetings in the US and Canada. He directed operas, operettas, musicals, oratorios, canatatas, wrote and arranged music, sang and spoke on radio broadcasts, taught in public schools, and served as an elder for years in his church. Even now he speaks and sings in church when asked, and volunteered in a hospital.
Dad I loved that ice cream sundae you served up in a vegetable serving dish for lunch that one day when I was home with a bad cold. It made me feel so much better!
Mom, you amazed me at how you kept your cool and never screamed or yelled that I can remember. I tried to be like you in that way and tried to stay patient with my children. I would say that worked most of the time... I was not as successful as you in that area.
I love my parents and I want to say thanks for all the things you both are and what you have done to help to form me into the person that I am. So many facets of my personality, interests, and abilities stem from you. I appreciate all of the culture I was exposed to, the travels, the morals, and the drive that you both have for excellence in all that you do. You do it as unto the Lord.
You are the wind beneath my wings to this day. I thank God for you being in my life so constantly and being in each other's lives for these 61 years! You have given me a strong foundation to stand on.
This was a brief waltz through memory lane so that I could honor my parents and let them know they were a huge success in life. I am thankful to be your daughter! You together have been a strong wind that has blown me in the right direction. Refreshing me with your encouragement and faith in my abilities. I love you both!