Sunday, December 05, 2004

100 Years Is A Long Time

I got my car out of the repair shop last week, I think on the 30th. Obviously I haven't posted in a while.

Overall it wasn't too bad. The tension bar that keeps the alternator belt tight, and (get this), the "harmonic-balancer", which is tied into the tension bar, broke. Believe it or not, the Focus has some sort of little widget designed to counter natural engine vibrations so that the car runs quiet and smooth. Pretty cool actually, because before the car broke down, the engine vibes were getting noticeably louder and stronger. While they were down in there I had them replace the timing belt, too, since it was overdue and they had to open up the timing case to get at this harmonic-widget-thing anyway. Total damage: $950. Not SO bad, but dang... bad enough.

Now then, TODAY I spent the morning at my parent's church, New Hope Free Methodist Church at 41st & A Streets in Sacramento. Today they celebrated 100 years of ministry in Sacramento. The church office sent out dozens on invitations to alumni who'd left over the years to come back for a day of celebration, and to visit with old friends. I think there were about 150 people that showed up for church today.

Now, you need to understand, this is a LITTLE church right now. The regular congregation is probably 25-30 right now, maybe 40 on a good Sunday. 150 people today just about 1/2 filled the sanctuary. Lots of old friends with faces older than I remember (just as I'm sure I look to them), and many adults that I last remember seeing as young children. Pastor Patrick asked if I would come back and sing for the service, which I was only too glad to do. God seemed pleased, in His infinite wisdom, to bless be with a cold a few weeks back, and it's STILL hanging on! But that's OK, my voice has rebounded enough that the song went off without a hitch, and I'm told it was very good.

After service we had a catered lunch down in the fellowship hall. I ran into several people I literally have not seen in 20 or more years. A couple of girls (sisters) I went to elementary school with came, with their husbands and children. Talking to them, it was fascinating to see how much people change, and yet how much they stay the same. Both have matured into lovely women. Serious, they looked great. Last time I'd seen them was probably 1983. Both were tall and a bit lanky. They've matured into really pretty women. The change was astounding. But, even more interesting to me was that fact that their mannerisms hadn't changed at all. One still held her head a certain way when she talked, the younger sister still had a distinct smile (she has one of those smiles where one side is higher than the other, almost like a knowing smirk). They both walked the same, held their heads the same, had the same inflections in their voice when they talked, as they did 21 years ago.

Same goes for several other people I ran into. Age changes how we look, but it doesn't seem to do much to change the core of who we are.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time. A few people I was hoping to see didn't make it, and with that I'm a bit disappointed. Some of the older folks in the church have passed on since I was little. But the church goes on, in whatever form, just as it has for 100 years.

I looked at all the little kids today, and was wondering what memories they are going to have of places like that church when they are my age.

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