DCC News

 

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

 

November 28, 2008

                                                           

For No Matter How Far Away You Roam

I suppose there are other things for me to do about this time of year but the Holiday songs keep going through my head and closely tied in with this year’s preparations at our home for Thanksgiving are mingled thoughts of my childhood.

I always liked the notion that in the song “Over the River and Through the Woods” it referred to, well, going over the river to Grandfather’s house and that is exactly what we would have to do. In the 1950’s even in Lima, the experience of taking a sleigh to Grandpa’s was many decades past. I think my mom might have taken a horse carriage ride or two to school back in the early 1930’s, but then folks were lucky to even have a horse in 1930. I know that my ride over the river and through the woods was in a four door Plymouth and we crossed the Ottawa River just down the road from Grandma and Grandpa’s.

For the record it should be noted that the Ottawa River is still affectionately known to us natives as The Hog Creek. The story we always heard was that it had something to do with some farmer losing his pigs in the river or washing them in the river or the pigs attacking the man in the river…nevertheless, we were told it had nothing to do with the open-sewer quality of the river in the 1950s. “Hog Creek,” for whatever reason.

Today it rivals in scenic beauty that of the Columbia River in central Washington, but I digress.

We would drive to Grandpa and Grandmas and there would be all the old folks of our family. Mom was an only child and so we didn’t have to compete with any cute cousins for the undivided attention of our 70 year old Aunt and Uncle and Grandparents and even Great Grandma. (I’m told I was a pretty cute kid, so those non-existent cousins would have had some tough competition anyway.) It was not a lively bunch of older relatives but they were loving and it made me feel secure that I had a family and besides Grandpa had the enthusiasm and silliness of a young man.

 

The day was the usual endless stream of turkey, football and old, old stories of Great Great Grandma So and So who lived off the land in Virginia during the Civil War. All the while Uncle Brownie would smoke cigars that would make farm animals faint…but we kids just kept on going. We thought nothing of a blue haze in the house as we watched the Bears and Packers. We’ll probably pay for that some day.

But, looking back, I suppose it was those late afternoon walks with Grandpa for a couple years where we went across the highway to the river and the farmland beside it. His grandfather came from somewhere and purchased the land and all sorts of relatives lived around there in modest houses. Six or seven of those homes held blood relatives of mine…most of them older cousins of Grandpa. As a child, I could not figure out how they were all tied in with me and my mother. Years later when I officiated at my grandfather’s funeral one of his distant cousins came up to me and said, “Why Bobby, I don’t remember you at all.” I think that was supposed to be some sort of endearing long-lost-relative comment, even though I grew up within 10 miles of her. Though if truth be told, I did not remember her either. So, I guess I was cute but not memorable. I would have thought that the former attribute would insure the latter.

Grandpa told me how he played around the river and the farmland when he was a kid and I got to walk along the paths he trod as a boy.

And what amazes me today is that the simplest of things that I did as a 7 year old are now my most precious holiday memories as a 57 year old.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing