McZENA, FAIRVIEW CHURCH COUNTRY — This time of year can be so full of promise, because of the beauty you can see outside.
Trees and yards are green. It’s OK to plant your vegetables, and you don’t even mind getting a little dusty and dirty.
It’s also a time of year to be happy for the fact there are cycles in your life.
With the arrival of May, you know your one sister will return from Florida.
This is good.
You get good news at your church, because past upheavals are being pushed aside with the recognition by several that your church, though small, is full of tenacious believing individuals. Though you were told once that you weren’t really a church, you and your cohorts remained and stuck by a certain person who had once served you.
That person, a pastor and another person with tenacity, was re-appointed to serve your church.
He will begin serving our church July 1.
This pastor is one with a sense of humor. We were talking about a new district superintendent who has been appointed to serve the East Ohio District of the United Methodist Church. This person has a name that sounds a bit Italian, or Latino.
Our returned pastor this could probably be a little bit like the story of Malachi, (with the accent on the second syllable).
The back story on this pastor is that some things that weren’t exactly “church like” happened to him.
He became disenchanted with the “established” church, but following the words of a professor at Ashland Theological Seminary, he re-established his faith.
His re-appointment is another good thing.
This time of year is sacred for yet another reason: we are coming up on a major weekend in the United States, when we can thank and honor people who have served this country in the military.
At my church, Fairview United Methodist, we hold a region-wide Memorial Day service, when people are drawn to the church, hear a speaker and good music, then participate in events put on by the Shreve American Legion Post 67.
As a child, I went to those Memorial Day services, and I would not be receptive to the firing of guns in the Fairview cemetery.
It is traditional after the ceremony to serve food in the church basement. One thing the Fairview Church is definitely known for is its ability to attract people because of the kind of food served. People return each year to the Memorial Day service, because of former ties to the community, or because they just heard from someone that the Memorial Day service is a good one.
The Shreve Legion Post sends an honor guard, and those gentlemen perform their services with dignity and honor.
A man named Richard Winkleman (Wink) serves as First Vice Commander of that post. His son, Damon Winkleman, was killed in the service and State Route 179 is named in his honor.
One thing Winkleman is doing with others in his post is taking American Flags of Remembrance to a person’s business or residence so that all can fly a flag.
The post will also dispose properly of old flags.
It’s a little hard to describe sometimes what ties you to a community.
It could be you were the person who never wanted to leave Lakeville, or Wooster, Shreve, Bellville. So it was natural to stay and bathe with others in the good feelings that can abound.
Maybe you were more like Louise Swartzwalder, who decided she wanted to discover and use opportunities available in other parts of the country.
After college I sought my mecca in the journalism/newspaper world. And my first mecca was in Des Moines, Ia.
So I lived there for about 11 years, working at the Des Moines Register, known for being “second only to the New York Times” in the number of Pulitzer prizes staffers had won.
Des Moines was good for me, because I made great friends and felt sated by the companionship and knowledge we all shared.
And, o, the stories that came out of my sojourn in Iowa.
The newspaper people were so certain of many things: the importance of always going down the middle in covering any story.
If you were remotely political, put it away.
We loved our newspaper. It was real. The printing machines were in the basement, and people driving at the Seventh and Locust streets intersection could see the presses rolling.
Like all newspapers, the Register was downsized and, in my opinion, eviscerated when it was bought by a certain newspaper chain.
Many Register staffers moved on, developed other careers and ways of living. I tried working at another newspaper, a bad move. It was owned by the Knight Ridder newspaper chain, and it was no Des Moines Register.
The truth about what happens to a person when they reach this stage in life (read old) you can decide whether to appreciate what you’ve been given, or sit around and be dour about the fact you can’t quite do all those things you did as a child.
I choose to be positive, and to keep on trying. That’s why this job.
If I can still report, good. If I can write, even better. So I continue.
And, I am favored by the fact I have returned to my home place, officially Crestwood Farms.
I moved back to Ohio after living for many years in Washington, D.C. I closed my business, sold my house, and returned to the farm.
Every time I drive down the road to get home, I remember how it was when I was much younger, driving home to see mom and dad from Des Moines.
I’d drive down Co. Rd. 37, and top the hill just north of the farm.
I’d top the hill, see the big white barn and grand old farm house.
And I’d start to cry.