I arrived home late last night after four days cradled in the pine-scented arms of southeastern Oklahoma’s hills.
We attended my sister’s wedding on Saturday and it proved to also be part family reunion for my mother and part class reunion for my younger sisters. The sisters are 10 and 11 years younger than me respectively, and an number of their old classmates attended the festivities.
I worshiped in the church of my childhood and youth on Sunday morning and saw my nephew baptized in the same tank in which I was dunked roughly 43 years ago. The upholstery fabric on the pews is a different color. Other than that the sanctuary looks almost exactly as it did back in 1967 when I walked the aisle and took the pastor’s outstretched hand.
I and about 180 fellow worshipers heard as fine a sermon as any preacher in Oklahoma would deliver on this day. It followed a song service led by my closest friend from high school.
Every trip home seems to be a long, warm nostalgia bath these days. I wonder if my girls are weary of me pointing out all the sites of my milestones and memories.
“That building there used to be the Red Bud store where I bagged groceries and stocked shelves.” “See that rocky cliff face over there? I was almost killed freehand climbing that thing with Ott Taylor my final week of high school.” “The dilapidated barn behind that old house there? There I was surprised by my first real kiss from a girl.”
It seems every road in town is littered with mental historical markers.
Monday I drove Mom, Dad and sisters to his appointment in Tulsa for an outpatient procedural attempt to remove the bladder cancer that we learned had returned on my previous trip.
I have nothing but wonderful things to say about the staff at the Oklahoma Surgical Hospital, in what was the old ORU City of Faith medical complex. They handled dad with amazing patience, empathy and compassion and will forever have my profound gratitude.