DCC News

 

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

 

May 16, 2008

                                                           

And I Walked to School Barefoot…

I remember my Grandfather talking about his childhood. I remember lots of great stories and one time he mentioned that when he was a kid, he and some friends found an old iron wheel. I think it was just an old wagon wheel type circular metal piece, about half the size of a hula hoop. He said that they found it in a field and then they played all day with that wheel-like ring.

He played ALL DAY with that metal wheel!

I am certain he was telling the truth and when I realize that he was born in 1899, he was talking about a time in say, 1908 that he and some friends spent a whole day rolling that metal ring around the neighbor hood there in south Lima. “Well, sure,” you say, “it was Lima, what else was there possibly to do at the corner of Kibby and Vine Streets in 1908 BUT play with a rusty old wheel.?!”

Times change and in 1958, I was a young boy and I can remember crawling under the fence near the school. Next door was an enamel factory and they would have squares of metal with colorful enamel glaze on them. We would crawl under the fence and get three of them from the scrap heap and then use them as 1st, 2nd and 3rd bases on the school baseball diamond. That story seems about as implausible to kids today as the “rusty metal wheel” story of my grandpa’s day did to me.

Today, the local parks department would provide regulation hand-sewn-organic-hemp1st, 2nd and 3rd bases for the infield that has been manicured by lawn tractors. Times change.

So, fast forward to our Confirmation Class as we prepared for Confirmation Sunday. I have the service “choreographed” for all of the standing, sitting and moving as we baptize, confirm and answer questions and recite the UCC Statement of Faith. The question comes up every year…”Do we really have to memorize the Statement of Faith and recite it???” To which I always toss off the answer, “Hey, Ken Bitter said to memorize it, and therefore you will.”

No one has challenged the authority of Ken to make that demand and I appreciate the class having to wrestle with the Statement and learn about what it means…as well as recite it. But to blunt the class’s amazement that they should have to memorize ANYthing, I resort to telling them a story, “When I was in Confirmation Class…”

 

I tell them a story about when I was a kid….something that always made my daughters roll their eyes. But, I do relish the notion of telling today’s Confirmation Class how it was “back in the day” when I took Confirmation at First United Church of Christ!

We had to study the Heidelberg Catechism for two years. Every Saturday morning we had to recite answers from the Catechism book. I can still remember a few of the answers and though I never really understood that 400-year-old catechism book, I did understand that I was a part of a larger tradition. So when it came time for Confirmation Sunday, the minister would assign each of us a certain number of the questions and answers. There were 129 questions and answers in the Catechism. We had 18 kids in the Confirmation Class. (Do the math….that’s 7 answers per kid….plus a few more Bible verse memorizations tossed in.) We didn’t know if all 10 of our questions would be asked but we had to prepare for all of them. We had to stand and face the congregation and answer and as we did so, we looked at the clock on the back wall (which only the Preacher and choir could see. I suppose that was put there by the church Council to keep the Preacher mindful of the time and the need to keep things moving each Sunday. And, yes, I know that DCC could probably use the same thing for its Preacher.). So, as we recited, we watched the clock and prayed for the minutes to tick away quickly so that the Preacher would be forced to move things along and skip over half of our question and answers.

I told that story to the Confirmation class recently about how it was “when I was a kid in Confirmation.”

I think I detected some rolling of the eyes.

I wonder what they would have done if I had told them that my Grandfather used to happily play all day with a rusty wheel?

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing