DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

January 11, 2008

                                                           

                                      

Generations Before Us

I now longer have a generation above me to shield me from eternity.

That’s the way I feel after the passing of Glady. Glady was my parents’ age. I’ve known her since the late 1950’s. She was one of the last people at the lake who knew my parents. One of the last people at the lake who knew my grandparents. With her passing I find that there are no longer any of older generation at the lake that I know. I am now of the oldest generation at the lake. My children go to the lake; my daughter’s future step-child goes to the lake. I am the oldest generation there now.

I can remember thinking as a child, that I had a canopy of generations above me to protect me from death. (Hey, I really did think this way as a little kid) There was Mom & Dad. There was above them Grandpa and Grandma. There was above them, Great Grandma Ollie. And surrounding us were a number of uncles, aunts, great uncles and aunts and even a great, great uncle Emmet (who had a fluorescent green ’58 Buick…how cool was that?)

Mom was an only child but had a number of first and second cousins and the like over on her side of the family. Many of them lived in houses on what was formerly her great grand parents farmland. (Which was farmed by my great-great grandpa back in the late 1800’s) This being Lima and the land being too far outside of Lima, it was never developed by say, Kroger or a shopping center complex or an industrial park…like farm land in Dublin. I do have the barn door brass handle from great-great grandpa’s barn door. That is the only legacy bequeathed to me some four or five generations down the line. (Then again, maybe that is just the story told to me by relatives to make me feel special.)

Another side of Mom’s family lived in Columbus. When President Lincoln was killed, the slain President was put on a funeral train back to Illinois and when the train stopped in Columbus for a “viewing” of Lincoln’s body, her great great grandfather or uncle or someone, as a child, filed through the train car and saw Lincoln. He reported that Lincoln looked all “powdery.” I read elsewhere that Lincoln’s body did have some heavy makeup to make the funeral trip, so my relative was right about the powder.

And that is about it for famous relatives. One of them saw Lincoln dead in Columbus. I doubt that few in Dublin have relatives who can make that claim.

As someone said to me, in all seriousness…”All the old ones are dying off.” You really can’t argue with that. A few years ago, all the ministers in the area where I was serving were hosted at the local medical center to hear doctors and health care professionals talk about health care. The highlight or lowlight of the seminar was when the local oncologist told us ministers what most people would die from. Somehow we were not prepared to hear his conclusions, though in hindsight his studies make sense and over the years, from my observations, have proven to be correct.

All of which brings me back the death of our friend, Glady. Besides being a very kind and loving woman, she could laugh when I told stories of my long-since-deceased Grandma and Grandpa. She knew them back in the 1950’s and 60’s. She was one of the few people outside of family members who could do that. And the fact that she was there on this small lake a long way away in Michigan with such precious memories of my Grandparents made her special too. Sort of like my personal time capsule, there in the North Country.

 

Glady could tell me a few stories of my long since deceased Father too. She knew him in the 50’ & 60’s. When I told stories of Dad pulling us water-skiing or playing whiffleball with us, Glady could quietly chuckle. She had been there. She held a part of the family history. One of the very, very few folks who remembered my father.

It’s folks like her who, being a generation above, sort of protects us from being “the last generation.” Now, when my contemporaries bring their grandchildren to the lake. I am a part of the “old generation.” No one else in permanent residence at the lake knew my deceased relatives.  No one of the previous generation will be there each summer to hold those stories of my family, though, indeed a few of my contemporaries still around there knew my relatives back then, but they are of my generation. Glady was the generation before me.

A few years ago, we were sitting on the deck at Glady’s cottage. We were laughing at stories of her and husband Russ. Both were good at fishing. Passionate about it. Glady told how my Grandpa, also a passionate fisherman, would get “mad” because she and Russ would catch good-sized fish right off the dock, while Grandpa took his boat all over the lake in search of a great catch.

Glady said that Grandpa’s favorite bait was the “jitterbug” and “some other lure” which she could not remember the name of…neither could I. We both laughed and smiled at the memory of my younger days when my Grandpa was one of the old men of the lake. I told Glady that I would keep thinking, and try to remember the name of that favorite fishing lure of Grandpa’s. “You do that, Robert!” she replied.

I returned to my cottage. My young daughters were playing volleyball with a simple water-volleyball net in the sand in the shallow water near the shore and dock. We left the net up for the next day and went to bed.

The next morning, around sunrise I noticed that the net had collapsed in the water. No problem. I put down my coffee and waded into the water to re-set the net but discovered that a broken fishing line was tangled around the net. A late-night or early-morning fisherman trolling nearby in a boat had undoubtedly cast toward the shallows and become entangle in the volleyball net and finally cut his line and moved on.

I untangled the line in the net and discovered a fishing lure. A “Hula-Popper.”

THAT was the fishing lure that was Grandpa’s other favorite. THAT was the name of the lure that I told Glady last night I would try to remember. And, here is was: mysteriously tangled in the net on the shore.  I went down to Glady’s cottage and told her of the appearance of the mysterious hula-popper in the volleyball net on the shore. She smiled because she understood what it meant to both of us. It was as if Grandpa, himself, had cast it there for us to remember him by.

I still do remember…and I remember all the generations who have gone before me.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing