Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Once Upon a Blizzard

This post first appeared on January 13, 2016.

We Midwesterners share a rich heritage of blizzard stories. Deprived tropics dwellers can’t appreciate our anticipation when The Weather Channel threatens wild winds, arctic cold and snow up the wazoo. Nor do they understand the joy of swapping lies — er, stories — of bravery amid Snowmageddon. A lifetime Hoosier, I have plenty to share.

A preschooler during my first blizzard, I recall my mother’s positive thinking. Despite three days in a two-room apartment with three little ones, she described the trees as “chocolate with white icing.” The Frosty we built resembled a malnourished alien, but we waved at him from our window. It seemed a friendly blizzard.

The second blizzard wasn’t. Winds howled like wolves, savaging electricity for several days. Cupboards emptied. Fortunately, shivering neighbors brought groceries when they came to enjoy our gas heat. Thirteen shared our three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Survivor had nothing on us.

But we nine kids — playing infinite games of Monopoly, Candy Land, and the unofficial but essential Freak the Grown-ups — considered it fun. Our parents, with extended therapy and medication, finally recovered.

A young married couple when the Big One hit in 1978, our car refused to navigate three-foot drifts. My medical student husband hiked to a police station, catching a ride to a hospital. For three days, he, another student, and a young resident physician — aided by stranded visitors — cared for little patients on a pediatric wing.

Meanwhile, I baked bread. A nearby fellow medical student wife, whose husband also was missing in action, helped eat it. Walking home, I foundered in a sea of snow-covered landmarks. Only a faint traffic signal in ghostly darkness sent me the right direction. Then a tall shadow blocked my way.

Gulp. The only rapist crazy enough to be out in this?

“How’s it goin’?” he rasped.

“F-f-fine.” I squeaked.

He passed by. I slogged home. When the snow finally stopped, my husband appeared, fell over like a tree and slept.

Not content with that harrowing weather, we moved north near South Bend, Indiana, where blizzard stories abound even more than blizzards. Babies and emergencies ignored storm warnings, expecting my doctor husband to show up. How rude.

School snow days brought hungry hoards incapable of studying algebra, but well able to conduct snow wars outside our house. Once, I was trapped with snow-dueling middle schoolers, teens armed with boom boxes, and soon-to-be-separated college sweethearts — along with remodelers who braved the storm to sledgehammer walls.

Blizzard days two decades later prove far less traumatic, but can stop our lives cold. Yet even if I must search for leftover Christmas candles to light my longhand efforts, I’ll do my usual January thing: tell blizzard stories.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite Snowmageddon tale?

Breakfast with My Brother

Me at 16 with my brothers, circa 1969.

I measure the distance between extended family in states rather than miles. The lone exception, my brother Ned, lives in another part of Indiana.

A year apart, we played together like twins until I started school, where he acknowledged my existence only by a raised eyebrow.

Fortunately, he no longer regards sisters as threats to his manhood. We phone occasionally, but not often enough. I recall several years ago when we met halfway between our homes for breakfast.

We chose a mom-and-pop establishment, where we could indulge in illegal eggs over easy, crispy bacon and infinite cups of curl-your-hair coffee. Or the mortal sin of biscuits with gravy.

Entering, I saw no sign of Ned. As I walked toward a vinyl booth, I expected — and received — the who-are-you-stranger? once-over.

Homeland Security should catch onto this resource, one that could revolutionize national safety procedures. We don’t need metal detectors or X-rays. If the government would pay a tableful of these locals to drink coffee at security points, no terrorist in his right mind would try to get past their scrutiny.

Born and raised in rural Indiana, I knew I’d broken the rules. No woman eats breakfast alone in a strange town. As a sweet-faced waitress brought me blessed coffee, I pulled out my Bible and read while I waited. Eye-lasers clicked off one by one. Their owners swiveled back to their breakfasts. They gave Congress and the weather their morning cussing and analyzed high school basketball with an expertise that would put ESPN out of business.

Until my brother walked in. Immediately, the force field returned. As Ned headed toward my booth, question marks formed in the air, visible as if smokers had blown them.

“Good to see ya, Sis!” Ned trumpeted. He knew the rules, too.

The diners returned to their vivisection of basketball referees, as the waitress took our order. She brought us waffles, eggs and ham. Biscuits and gravy.

With bowed heads, we asked God to bless the cholesterol. Our words filled and warmed us as much as the steaming, delicious food. We solved our kids’ problems (if they would just listen!). We cheered the utter perfection of our grandchildren.

All too soon, our separate worlds called to us. We promised to connect sooner next time.

Before we separated, I demanded a hug, just to give the town conversation material for the next few weeks.

Ned’s eyebrow went up. But the hug happened.

It can’t happen today, in 2020.

But after this blasted COVID crisis ends, I’ll collect every one of those hugs that have piled up in the meantime.

Even if he raises the other eyebrow.

Image by Adina Voicu from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Whom do you want to hug post-COVID?

Christmas Tree Chronicles

Do you remember that first Christmas tree you, as an adult, hauled home?

Maybe you and your beloved cut a fragrant evergreen at a Christmas tree farm amid silvery snowfall.

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.

Or you procured a Charlie Brown escapee. Maybe spent a precious dollar on a Salvation Army find.

I wish we, as newlyweds, had considered those alternatives. We had saved $50 for Christmas. Total. We possessed no lights or ornaments. We spent our bankroll on family gifts instead.

However, learning of our treeless holiday, neighbors offered bottom branches removed from theirs. Humming “Deck the Halls,” I accented the pine-scented boughs with little red balls.

Voilà! Christmas!

The next year, I vowed to have a tree, though possibly decorated with popcorn strings and spray-painted macaroni — and the red balls.

My sister-in-law to the rescue: “Why didn’t you tell us you needed Christmas stuff? Mom gave us bunches.”

How I celebrated that tree in our government-subsidized apartment! We’d never go without one again — though some Decembers proved more adventurous than others.

Later, when Hubby was training day and night at a hospital, I stuffed our Christmas tree into our only car’s trunk.

Whew! Now to drag it downstairs to our basement apartment. Except, where were my keys?

With the tree. In the trunk.

Did I mention I was pregnant?

After a grand tour per city bus, I finally arrived at Hubby’s hospital. They paged him: “Dr. Phillips. Dr. Phillips. Your wife locked her keys in the car. Please report to the front desk.”

He displayed zero Christmas spirit, but he handed me his keys. After another city tour, I drove myself and the tree home.

Little did I know what Christmas tree tribulations awaited me as a parent.

The following year, Hubby and I set up the tree in our daughter’s playpen.

Why didn’t we corral her instead?

Child-raising theories then advocated free-range offspring. No dastardly playpen for our baby.

As our family expanded, Christmas ideals shrank to survival for us, the kids, and the tree. Trying to hide it from rampaging toddlers, we moved the tree to different locations each year. All in vain. Our son’s destructo gene zeroed in. I covered the tree’s lower branches with harmless ornaments, hoping he would eat those.

He climbed it.

To this day, I don’t know if our son consumed broken ornaments. He is 30-plus now, so I guess the destructo gene was linked to another granting him an iron stomach.

This year, our empty-nest tree mostly fears my smacking it with the vacuum. With no inkling of its predecessors’ sufferings, it basks in gentle serenity, glowing with lights, tinsel and memories.

Unnoticed, little red balls, polished by 45 Christmases, still shine.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What Christmas-tree tale can you tell?

A Plunker’s Piano Lessons

I started piano lessons at five. I stopped at the ripe old age of nine.

Statistics indicate I’m not alone; 6,761,141,370 of the world’s 6,761,141,379 people have taken — and quit — piano lessons.

My early days at the piano.

I blame my parents. Neither had musical training, yet Dad’s big hands overran the keyboard like a spring storm. Mom, though partially deaf, could listen to a song, then play a full-fledged accompaniment in any key.

At five, I, too, picked out tunes. Why bother with notes? Neither did I (shudder) count beats. Mixing music, God’s gift, with arithmetic (eww), appeared one more weird complication adults demanded. My brother also deemed piano lessons unnecessary.

Mom tried to explain. If only she could have taken lessons as a child!

I would have remained unconvinced — except for strong capitalistic instincts. Mom paid Mrs. Snyder 50 cents a lesson, but she always refunded a nickel to me. With yellowed books and sheet music piled everywhere, her musty house smelled mysterious and musical. Thousands of former students’ photos adorned her walls, as Mrs. Snyder had been teaching 200 years.

My grandson played piano at a holiday concert Christmas 2019.

I played my first piece using three keys, then colored the page’s fun pictures. I liked Mrs. Snyder, I liked nickels and I liked Mom’s shining eyes when I practiced.

Sadly, Mrs. Snyder passed away. My new teacher handed me practice sheets instead of nickels. No pictures. I played songs like “Gavotte in G” and “Requiem for a Student Who Didn’t Practice.” Mrs. Mozart made me (choke!) play duets with my brother. We bowed and curtsied at stiff, scary recitals. The longsuffering teacher assured our reluctant mother we weren’t destined to play at Carnegie Hall.

Mom finally let us quit. Free at last!

Not until I attended college did I realize my loss. There, I met people whose fingers blurred over the keyboard. One blind friend played as if a single organism — part instrument, part human. Her music rippled up and down my backbone, joy unleashed.

Why are mothers always right? Especially when they preach, “What goes around comes around.” My own children blossomed with initial interest, but only one persisted into high school. As they plinked and plunked their first practices, I wondered, for the first time, if Mom had enjoyed mine as much as she’d claimed.

Still, my kids learned to read music, and piano background fueled interest in many other song forms.

Our piano — the first purchase my husband made after medical school graduation — often sits silent now, though I try to play daily. My fingers itch to exchange my laptop’s tippity-taps for music. Soon, I’ll touch the piano keys and listen to less-than-perfect love.

Even if nobody gives me a nickel.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you taken piano lessons?

Confessions of a Really Bad Sport

Are you a good sport?

I’m not. Never have been.

As a preschooler, I pitched horrendous hissy fits when I pinned the tail on the donkey’s nose.

Worse, I adopted questionable ways of winning. I recall playing jacks at age four with Meddy, a “big kid” of five. When Meddy dropped a jack or misbounced the ball, I loudly denounced her “misses.” My similar miscues, however, were “mistakes.” People who made mistakes deserved another chance. Several, in fact.

Meddy suggested a new game: Throw Rachael Off the Top of the Swing Set. She was good at that game. I wasn’t the best sport.

I graduated to towering rages while playing Monopoly — not my fault. My brother manufactured counterfeit five-hundred-dollar bills under his bunk bed. He spent every penny building vast empires around Park Place and Boardwalk. When his cash flow disappeared, I bought his lousy railroads and utilities with carefully hoarded cash. In turn, I believed he’d ignore my landing on his hotels.

Wrong. He nailed me. I, the prudent, generous developer, always lost.

Since his counterfeiting skills didn’t figure into playing Clue, I fared better. Still, I rejected the candlestick as a weapon. What respectable murderer knocked off people with candlesticks?

After ten losses in an afternoon, I smacked both my brother and my cousin with the playing board. Hey, it made more sense than using a candlestick.

I even extended my winning obsession to church. Boy vs. girl penny contests at Bible school inspired me. I emptied my piggy bank, dug under sofa cushions, and shook down neighbor kids so we angelic girls could beat those devilish boys to send money to missionaries. Somehow, I confused the bring-a-visitor-to-church competitions with TV cowboy westerns. We kids even sang songs urging us to “bring them in.” How was I to know “dead or alive” didn’t apply?

Eventually, I grew up. Fair play, teeth-gritting congratulations to those who bested me, and missionary giving sans mugging all became the norm.

Recently, I played Scrabble with our grown children. As I was an English major, this self-designed scenario should have resulted in another victory notch in my diploma.

But all the vowels had been called to jury duty. During game two, all consonants were outsourced overseas. I proposed new rules: If other players used an X, they lost five tiles. If I drew a Z, though, I received five bonus tiles.

My narrow-minded offspring nixed my innovations. Their proposal: If I drew a Q, all U’s found among my tiles were to be held in custody until 3012 or until peace prevails in the Middle East, whichever comes first.

Maybe we both just made mistakes?

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a good sport?

Cleaning Confrontation

Who wants to clean out a refrigerator and chest freezer?

Blown light bulbs conveniently have kept me in the dark about their sad state. I grabbed diet Pepsi or pizza, slamming doors before tentacles could yank me inside.

But now, with the garden producing, I can’t feed my veggies to whatever life forms lurk there.

Confrontation time.

I need hot water and disinfectant. Rubber gloves. Body armor. Samurai sword. Hey, past-expiration-by-a-decade cottage cheese gets testy when evicted.

I cover the body armor with an apron, à la June Cleaver. This secret weapon of all women in 1950s TV sitcoms empowered June to do housework while wearing high heels and pearls. It will grant me added protection.

Hubby’s grandma sewed this apron that gives me courage to clean out our refrigerator and freezer.

Besides, Hubby’s grandma sewed this apron. Though gentle, she fought a fierce, lifelong war against dirt and germs. Her spirit pokes me with a scrub brush and urges me to be strong.

Grabbing my sword, I crack the fridge’s door.

Nothing.

I throw it open.

Ack! Half-filled bottles of lavender salad dressing. Pudding that resembles petri dishes. Mashed potatoes that give a whole new meaning to “green vegetable.”

Did something move?

I slam it shut and venture into the garage, where the freezer resides. I open it. No tentacles.

I summon Golden Oldies to inspire me. A rhythmic tune dances me across the garage—

“Mission Impossible.”

So much for inspiration.

My Cold War almost morphs into peaceful coexistence, especially when the song changes to “One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying, Purple People Eater.” Will Hubby find nothing left but my eyeglasses and piles of defrosted food? Will he weep more for losing me or pot roasts?

Thankfully, the music changes to the Star Wars theme. Retying my mighty apron, I plunge into the freezer’s alternative universe. I see furry-looking, amorphous packages, their age detectable only by carbon dating. Each evokes a question:

  • Why did I shred four dozen bags of zucchini? Hubby hates zucchini bread, and I probably shouldn’t eat 50 pounds.
  • Did this tuna casserole pre-exist with God in the beginning?
  • Do holiday turkeys grow exponential sets of giblets?

I toss out piles of mystery food, moving to “You’re No Good” and “Hit the Road, Jack.” I use endless elbow “Grease,” but eventually graduate to “Splish Splash,” reveling in unfamiliar spotlessness.

I saved the giblets for a game of H-O-R-S-E, shooting them into trash cans in the driveway.

Oops. I hit a garbage guy.

My apology had better be good. Given summer heat, I really, really want him to haul my melting mess away.

Fortunately, he doesn’t take my poor aim personally. He only wants to flee. So, cans are dumped in haste. The truck roars off to “Hey hey hey, goodbye. …”

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you make housework fun?

T.C. Steele, Mother Haines and Not-So-Partly Cloudy

Not long ago, while we were camping in southern Indiana, it rained. And rained.

So much for “partly cloudy.”

We had loitered in every restaurant within 50 miles. Where to now?

Artistic inspiration struck me. “Let’s visit the T.C. Steele historic site!”

Forty years before, Clara Haines, known at our church as “Mother Haines,” had recommended it. We college students had heard she dabbled in painting, but she obviously spent most of her time starching doilies.

One brief visit to her home opened our eyes and minds. Doilies adorned tables, but paintings covered the walls. Glowing colors pulled us into sun-dappled landscapes and stark snow scenes.

Our young jaws dropped. “You painted these?”

She nodded and said she’d learned to paint from T.C. Steele. She encouraged us to see his home and works.

Steve hiking in the Hoosier National Forest.

Four decades later, we did.

We’d never viewed Steele’s Rembrandt-like portraits. Wealthy Indianapolis patrons had been immortalized by his brush, some of whom now regarded us with lifelike interest.

But Steele’s Impressionist late-nineteenth/early-twentieth-century Hoosier landscapes nailed us to the floor. I stared until I needed extra eye drops. How Steele had loved his native state!

As do we.

While hardly luxurious, the Steeles’ “House of the Singing Winds,” with its Victorian rugs, player piano and stuffed peacock kept their bewildered neighbors’ tongues wagging.

Living in log cabins, the Brown County natives must have considered their new neighbors aliens. This man didn’t work — just painted pretty pictures. Whoever heard of a woman who couldn’t cook? Instead of raising food, she planted hundreds of flowers.

Though only 50 miles from their native Indianapolis, the Steeles must have felt likewise.

Yet, walking through her gardens between downpours, we saw that Selma loved her adopted home, remaining years after her husband died. Selma also moved an 1875 log cabin to her property. Knowing its history — the cabin’s owner had raised seven children there with one wife and 11 with another — perhaps Selma considered it a reminder that regardless of hard adjustments, they could have been worse!

Selma Steele’s formal gardens are designated a “Historic Iris Preservation Society Display Garden.” Visitors to the T.C. Steele State Historic Site can walk the gardens, tour the home and visit Steele’s studio. https://tcsteele.org/visit/

We bought a print of one of Steele’s winter scenes because it reminded us of Mother Haines’ similar landscapes and her comment: “Painting snow sounds easy. But I used 23 colors in that snowbank.”

As Hubby and I sat in the Steeles’ porch swing, we envisioned the Steeles entertaining other painters and students like Clara Haines, then a young mother who braved muddy, treacherous roads in a Model T to learn from the master artist.

Time and effort so well spent. Thank you, T.C. Steele and Mother Haines, for gracing our lives with beauty 40 years later on this not-so-partly-cloudy day.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What artist resonates with your state or area?

Our Normal Vacation

Summer trips with stops at Stuckey’s and Storybook Land. Sleeping in genuine teepees at the Woocheekoochee Warpath Motel — with a swimming pool!

A normal vacation for many kids during the 1960s.

But nobody ever accused my family of normalcy.

Any July morning, Dad might casually inform my mother he planned a family departure to visit his parents in Louisiana. At 8:00 p.m. that day.

Mom would have scorned comparison to that Wonder Woman hussy in bustier and tights, but she herself represented a true marvel. By 8:00 p.m. she had washed and packed clothes. She had canned every ripe tomato and pickle within 20 miles. Pets were exported and schedules rearranged with the decisiveness of a Fortune 500 CEO. Why Mom also cleaned our car remains a mystery. One root beer stand stop, and the station wagon again was infested with French fries, seats freshly graffitied with ketchup.

Her most amazing feat: Mom never hired a hit man to bump off Dad.

Arriving home, he flattened station wagon seats, loaded suitcases and cooler, then stacked us on top.

Dad loved all-night driving because he endured few dollar-eating, time-consuming restaurant stops. No tinkle breaks every two miles. Nothing to interrupt his love song of the open road — after children nodded off.

I often awakened with a sibling’s foot in my ear or an arm strangling me in a half nelson.

Sometimes, I awoke to discover Dad catching a few winks along an unknown highway. Waking siblings — especially the baby — was a capital crime. So, I watched in mingled hope and terror as headlights approached: hope because they lit the darkness; terror because the Hatchet Murderers of America were traveling tonight, too.

Mornings, we played tag under cedars at a Tennessee rest stop while Mom cooked bacon and eggs over a campfire. The smells alone made the all-night drive worth it.

After crossing the Mississippi River, we soon stopped outside Monroe, Louisiana. Mom extracted The Washcloth from its plastic bag to scrub us, making us smell as if we’d spent the night in a dumpster. Still, it ranked above spit and shine with The Kleenex, Mom’s substitute if she forgot The Washcloth.

Dad called Grandma from a phone booth. We all knew this dialogue by heart.

“Mama, we’re in Louisiana.”

“No, you’re not.” She’d fallen too many times for his fibs. “You ain’t left Indiana.”

“Mama! We’re just outside Monroe.”

Grandma Oglesbee, wearing the wary expression she usually did when my dad fibbed to tease her.

She didn’t buy it.

Finally, Dad admitted what Grandma had suspected all along: “The car broke down. We haven’t left home.”

“I knew it! Ya’ll think I’m soft in the head.”

His favorite part of “normal” vacation: 30 minutes later, when we pulled into Grandma’s driveway.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What vacation memory can’t you forget?

I’m Not a Scientist

Sometimes I wish I were a scientist, a brainiac whose findings are held sacred.

Writers are not so privileged. If I believed aliens control all printers — especially mine — my family would hide the tinfoil.

Contrariwise, if researchers declared aliens manipulate our printers, the government would offer them millions to also investigate intergalactic control of garage door openers.

Image by Brett Hondow from Pixabay.

Being a scientist would be nice.

But I’ve never displayed much aptitude. As a child, I wrote poetry about tigers instead of studying their messy hunting habits. Glittering rocks weren’t geological specimens. In my mind, they morphed into jewels from Ali Baba’s cave. The TV weatherman, with mysterious, loopy drawings, was a wizard wearing a suit. Unlike Jesus, he couldn’t stop storms. But he sure knew how to stir them up.

My world intrigued me — my mother’s roses, summer evenings lit by firefly lanterns, the moon glimmering like the Pearl of Great Price.

However, science teachers wanted me to get up close and personal with germs, gutted frogs and pickled baby pigs.

Planning a college music major, I rejoiced when I’d fulfilled my science requirement. No more icky labs!

However, advanced science and math classes at my school were given extra points. Stuck with a good but downgraded GPA, I considered chemistry and physics, both of which sounded like endless-math disasters. Physics also involved objects striking each other. I already knew too much about that, having totaled Dad’s car. So, I took advanced biology. A bonus: my boyfriend and I became lab partners!

Unlike several in this high school yearbook photo of the
Top Ten students in our graduating class, I was not a
science whiz.

However, he expected me to read the labs before class — what nerve! I discovered we were studying fruit fly (blush!) reproduction. Subconscious sympathy for the insects’ eventual euthanasia made me forget to replace lids on their jars. …

The fruit flies survived longer than our relationship.

My ex-boyfriend/lab partner rejoiced when schedule changes sent me to a different biology class. A tall, math-science type with a cute smile sat across from me. Fortunately, we didn’t become lab partners. Eventually, we dated and attended college together.

When he, a superstar chemistry major, tutored me in unavoidable College Chemistry 100, I always read the material beforehand. With his help, I passed.

A few years later, my tutor became my husband. As he went to medical school, I continued brushes with icky science. Hubby wore the smell of formaldehyde more than aftershave. I laundered lab coats and surgery shoes with mysterious smears. Though he’s now retired, a relative still may approach us while eating out, concerned about Aunt Pearlie Mae’s hemorrhoids.

I am not and never will be gifted with objectivity or a strong stomach.

Being a scientist is a privilege I can live without.

Image by Herney Gómez from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Would you like to be a scientist?

Senior Wannabes

Do you know any senior wannabes?

Underclassmen — especially freshmen — have always envied these advanced aristocrats.

As a lowly 15-year-old with a learner’s permit, I drove with Mom beside me. Seniors, on the other hand, often drove in their own cars, the ultimate in coolness.

While we freshmen sweated Algebra I and basic biology, seniors studied calculus and genetics. They were the star quarterbacks, the strutters on the musical stage, the academic superstars. They wore their steadies’ class rings wound with angora. Their slips didn’t show, their shoestrings didn’t trip them, and when they laughed in the cafeteria, chocolate milk never squirted out their noses.

At our school, they owned the Senior Circle, etched into the floor. Underclassmen caught touching it scrubbed the Circle with toothbrushes while the entire school watched.

Even when a senior, I stepped into the Circle only once — ready to hit the floor if attacked by toothbrushes.

For me, the Senior Circle didn’t live up to its billing.

Neither did the fabled senior year. I still didn’t understand algebra. The starring role in the musical went to somebody else. I achieved my driver’s license, only to have two accidents. I gained the boyfriend, then had to give back the class ring. Graduation was bittersweet, with many goodbyes.

Strangely, reverting to freshman status recharged my batteries. I explored a fascinating, new world: college.

Decades later, I’ve achieved senior status again. Not many wannabes stand in line to join me.

Who signed me up for this senior club when I wasn’t looking? I still don’t know algebra. I hear not-so-distant rumbles about taking drivers’ tests again. (Noooooo!) Starring roles go to younger people.

Where’s the Senior Circle in all this?

Image by Erika Wittlieb from Pixabay.

For many of us, grandchildren light it up like a movie marquee. No angora adorns our rings, but they’ve worn sweet grooves into our fingers and our hearts. Longtime friends, belly-laugh memories, and watch-TV dinners in which we don’t have to be good examples fill our days. Quiet wisdom gained only by those who have walked the road, won and lost — all these and more make our Senior Circle special.

Best of all, the God who drafted 80-year-old Moses to lead a national exodus still inhabits the Senior Circle. He inspired Caleb, a geriatric commando, to conquer a mountain inhabited by giants. He told 87-year-old Anna a secret few knew: the newborn she blessed at the temple was Jesus, the Savior of the world — including seniors.

God urges us to live, grow and achieve, and to look forward to graduation. Yes, it will be bittersweet with many goodbyes.

But we can become heavenly freshmen, exploring the infinite, fascinating world we will inhabit forever with Jesus.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What do you think of growing older?