The thrum of a powerful engine drew my attention from the man in the 1940 coupe I was talking with. Another muscle car had pulled up for the classic car show.
It’s our annual General Canby Day, a highlight of the year.
I helped guide scores of classic cars find a parking place on 5th Street or Grant Avenue. This part of our Independence Day celebration was started by my friend Bob Cryder and still takes place in the street in front of where he once lived.
His widow was there. She is one of those large, mothering types who endlessly deals out hugs and smiles. She looked wistfully at the house that wasn’t hers, and never was.
Shortly after Bob died she sold the house. During the refurbishing an overheated sander and its sack of sawdust caught fire during the evening and burned it all to the ground. They rebuilt the house exactly like the craftsman style house that had been there, but something about it said “I’m young, I’m not the house you knew.”
It was a lot of fun. I stood in front of William Knight Elementary and watched folks go in for some pancakes while I joked with car buffs about their fine rides.
After several hours working the car show, I cast my vote for the judge’s choice award (a really sweet 1961 Volkswagen van that simply made me feel good).
I visited the booths and met with friends, neighbors, students. It is one of the joys of teaching within the town I reside. I’m a minor celebrity to kids and their parents who seem a little surprised that I have a life outside the classroom.
I love this town. It has grown to 10 or 14 thousand (depending how much of the surrounding rural area one calls our community.
I love running into people I know. Folks from church. Folks from businesses where I shop. Former students and their parents. The kids always seem shocked to see me outside of the classroom.
I wandered around the booths.
Enjoyed a little blue grass.
Watched Jeremiah toss dimes into glass containers and win a silly little prize.
It is a good feeling to know people, have them know you.
It is a good feeling to be good to people... to compliment near strangers... pick up a stray piece of trash because one feels the town is yours.
I caught up with my lovely wife and her mother, and I went and fetched Jeremiah. We picked out a spot to watch the parade.
I love being a part of a community. That is a large part of why I love my church. There are a lot of better reasons for going to church... a place to center oneself spiritually, a place to go to pray, a place to be held accountable, a place to learn, partake in communion, worship... But the sense of belonging is important to me.
I’m not wise enough to know who is saved and who isn’t. I have been giving this a lot of thought lately as I am about to go down to meet my dad before he does a life-threatening stunt that could put him in the record books (I leave next Tuesday, early).
I think a part of being a citizen of heaven will be a little like being a citizen of Canby. I think part of the joy of eternal life will be belonging. I think the internal smile that lifts my heart when I greet the firemen and police officers I know, or getting the knowing smile and nod from the veterans from the local American Legion as they lead the parade,
or chat with a parent who tells me how a former student is doing in college is... that internal smile seems to be one of those good things that seem to be a gift from Him, from God.
I suspect that those clean emotions we have, the feelings which seem so very right, are echoes of the divine. And as such, I think, perhaps, it is the sort of thing we will feel in Heaven.
So, those people who don’t seem to be able to connect to people. Those who are completely self-absorbed, self-centered, are they capable of giving enough of themselves, of even of seeking help, partaking in the eternal communion?
Everything about my faith... everything about the theology of Christianity is about love.
Love God, love others.
It was a great Fourth of July... a great General Canby Day.
It was a day of community, of helping others, loving and being loved.
I love this town.