Safe Harbor

Campus Woods was joined by me once again… I cannot resist it when the Christmas decorations are adorning the trees! Also, I awakened this morning to a flock of geese on our pond. This does not happen often and it is a delight to see them enjoying themselves at Christmas time! As I enjoyed the peaceful confines of the paved path…it occured to me that our campus woods with its’ lovely decorations that are placed by kind walkers…is a safe harbor in our present pandemic distress. Most people that I meet on the well trodden path are wearing masks and practicing social distancing. I was snapping so many photographs yesterday that someone asked me if I was the person who had decorated the trees. I answered that I was not but that I did enjoy photographing them! Our world looks kind and loving and giving to me at this time of the year. There is a special dispensation of grace and consideration that engulfs my thoughts and emotions at Christmastide…

‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ Proverbs 13:12. Our hope is being fulfilled in that not only has the United Kingdom begun, today, vaccinating their citizens…and a vaccine is believed to be approved for the United States before the end of the week! Very few of us have lived through a pandemic…unless you are over 100 years old…and it has been a life changing ordeal for our planet… This is the year that we can look clear eyed into our future and visualize a world that is free of this terrible virus! Perhaps we have been a bit drunk with our smart phones and our smart cars…and the race up the capitalist ladder as we seek success and fulfillment and…peace…

Lady and the Tramp was playing at the theatre in Chicago. I was 4 years old and excited about our trip to the big city. We lived in a suburb called Sauk Village. Mom’s best friend, Ivy, was going as well as her children, Susie and Steve. Susie was my girlfriend…although she did not know it. Each time that I saw Susie…she hugged me and kissed me…and I thought that was…very nice! Steve had marionettes and he was an expert puppeteer…as far as I was concerned! It was during the Christmas season…and ‘visions of sugarplums were dancing in my head!’ I recall the bright lights of the theatre marque being so bright and moving rapidly. When we sat down in the darkened movie theatre…I sat next to Susie. On the humongous silver screen began the Disney classic…and I was mesmerized and I fell in love with Lady! To this day Lady and the Tramp is why favorite Disney movie!

Photo by Alex Powell on

Our Christmas Tree in Sauk Village was so tall that I could not see the top. I recall thinking that is was the most wonderful tree that I had ever laid eyes upon! When Christmas morning arrived I saw mom and dad being in high spirits and jubilant with the holiday atmosphere. Not only did it seem that I could do nothing wrong…but that I could, more or less, do what I wanted as it was that special day of the year…Christmas! It was a bit like a dream covered with cheese cloth or gauze…it seemed surreal…

I have been engaged in my favorite pastime as a member of the committee of elders in the First Presbyterian Church. I can think of nothing else that gives me more joy than collecting a Christmas bonus from my colleagues, on Session, for our staff. Tomorrow I will deliver the Christmas cards with the bonus contained inside of them. I know that it will be welcomed by the worthy recipients!

Our lives are a mystery wrapped in an enigma and are subject to several interpretations. One of my favorite Christmas memories is the Union Christmas Party that was held each year by S.E.I.U Local #316 at the Ponderosa Steak House. This was an. event that for most of may career I was an invited guest. I relished walking from table to table and shaking hands and speaking with the Building Service Workers and the Sub-foreman and the student staff. I was always greeted with wonderful hospitality and love and kindness! Those who I spoke with were glad to see me and I was happy to see them! Many of the staff exclaimed their appreciation for my coming by to say hello…and I responded that I was honored that they were my valued colleagues and friends… I thought of Vice President Dougherty and his speaking to every member of our Building Services Christmas Party…so many years ago… I understood that I was blessed beyond my ability and that it was the members of the team…that I was but a player on…that was the secret of my success!

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