Tidbits - July 20 2017

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY



MY DAY

  Funny how things change so quickly.
  Just a few weeks ago, my only plans for Sunday, July 16, other than my routine of going to church, was to attend my great-nephew Peyton Bowdler’s first birthday in Gilbert.
  Then, my pastor Paul Cheezem died, and the memorial service was scheduled for that same day at Shandon UMC in Columbia. I had never seen the house my niece and nephew Erin and Ryan Coleman had bought in neighborhood near the church, so I decided to go by there while I was in the area.
  Since Paul’s death, we have had three worship services. The first Sunday, our Greenwood District Superintendent Dr. Stephen Love led our Communion Service.
  Last Sunday, Sheila Shealy shared some history of our favorite hymns. Then we sang the songs she talked about.
  This Sunday, Randy Rita brought the message.
  Randy’s message was on light. He quoted something Thomas Shealy said in one of his children’s sermons, “A little light is better than no light at all.”
  Randy said we might be the only “light” to the Lord some will ever see.
  I led the service, and during the announcements, I grabbed the candlelighter Paul kept on a little shelf in the pulpit. Paul used it to light the candles at the altar in the event we did not have an acolyte.
  That was the case Sunday. When I got to the first candle, I quickly noticed there was no butane left. I realized the last time Paul used the candlelighter was the last time the candlelight could be used.
  Paul’s flame on earth was extinguished, but the light goes on.
  Our service began at 10:30 and we were out of church at 11:45!
  We all marvelled at our newly paved and lined parking lot.
  Like our seats in the pews, we all park the same place every Sunday. The lines were reconfigured, so mass confusion has ensued.
  As pastor, Paul headed that project. I wish he, and the late Frontis Hawkins who made the paving possible,  could have seen the conclusion
  I got home in time to hear the music from First Baptist Church in Columbia.
  There was a beautiful song sung I didn’t know, but by writing down some of the lyrics, I was able to find the song on the internet. I keep forgetting I can let Siri “hear” the song and she can tell me what it is.
  I went to iTunes, downloaded the song, and burned it to a CD before it was lunch time.
  I remember all those times I drove to Greenwood or Columbia just to search for a song. Now I don’t have to leave my desk.
  Peyton’s party was a pool event at 2 p.m.. Most had on swimsuits. I arrived wearing a tie!
  The party had a fishing theme, because Peyton is “O-fish-ally” one! I left before the cake and hot dogs were served, by I did eat a gummy worm!
  I appreciate Peyton’s Aunt Tiffanny McKinnon, the hostess, figuring how hot I was in my outfit and offering me a cold bottle of water for the next left leg of my journey.
  Although it’s been over 40-years since I’ve been on that side of Columbia, I knew where Shandon United Methodist Church was. We used to pass it in the old days when we’d take 378 to the beach.
  Knowing where the church was didn’t deter me from entering the address into my phone for GPS assistance. A gadget should always be used.
  My phone sent me down No. 1 when I got to Lexington. It then twice tried to get me to take 1-20, then I-26, to 378.
  “Why did you send me down No. 1 if you wanted me to take 378,” I asked my phone. It did not answer.
  Before I got to Millwood Avenue, I twice fell victim to Columbia’s disappearing third lane. You know, you’re driving along for blocks in the right lane and suddenly it becomes a turn lane. You get to see more of the city that way.
  I don’t think I’ve ever been inside Shandon UMC, but I have an affinity for the church. Bill Reid, one of the great preachers in the S.C. Conference for many years, began his ministry on the Butler Circuit in Saluda, while he was still a seminary student. He is the first minister at Emory I remember.
  Bill’s last appointment was at Shandon. He moved through the years from four small rural churches to the one of the largest Methodist churches in the state.
  Shandon is a beautiful church with a magnificent pipe organ.
  Before the funeral began, the organist played a rousing version of “How Great Thou Art” that filled my soul.
  After my father’s funeral in 1998, David Harris told me, “Don’t get me wrong, but that’s the best funeral I’ve ever been to.”
  David was referring to that Daddy’s funeral was upbeat and featured a lot of laughter.
  That’s how Paul’s funeral was.
  It also had some uniqueness.  Rabbi Erin Boxt read a passage from the Psalms in Hebrew, then in English. That was very touching.
  A soloist sang, “God is Here.” That was another “wow” moment.
  The Marion District Superintendent, Rev. Timothy Rogers, delivered the homily and it was obvious he knew Paul well.
  One of my favorite parts was when he told how Paul and his wife Doty met.
  Both were in a comedy club in Irmo.
  Paul was sitting by himself near the stage when one of the comedians asked him what he did for a living.”
  “I’m a Methodist minister,” Paul said.
  From that point on, comedians didn’t go near Paul’s table the rest of the night.
  Afterwards, one of Doty’s friends approached Paul and said, “Are you really a preacher?”
  To which Paul answered, “Would I lie about a thing like that in a place like this?”
  At the end of his sermon, Rev. Rogers said he knew Paul was walking on the streets of Heaven, and concluded, “Would I lie about a thing like that in a place like this?”
  We’ve all seen scenes of New Orleans’ funerals on TV or in the movies, and Sunday the large crowd at Shandon got to experience the feeling.
  The pipe organ cranked up to full volume and we rose and sang “When the Saints Go Marching In,” as the family recessed.
  I didn’t want it to end. I told someone afterwards, “Every funeral should end that way.”
  After meeting the family and seeing some old friends like the Rev. Nicky Long and our former pastor Frank Copeland, I made my way to Erin and Ryan’s for the third leg of my journey.
  In the Shandon parking lot I punched in their address and was told the house was only seven tenths of a mile away.
  Seems close, but the house is in one of those old neighborhoods with a lot of hills and a lot of roads, and you can get lost very easily. My GPS caused me to miss the street the first time.
  I loved the house. Three-year-old Skylar led me on the tour, up and down stairs, opening every door along the way. She did great.
  I was carrying seven-month-old Kassidy throughout the tour, and I was worn out when it was over. I don’t know how you mothers do it!
  When I got home I posted pictures from my afternoon on Facebook, and said my car turned into Rush’s by itself. People thought I was kidding.
  I was hungry when I started home, but there was no need to stop, because I had pizza and salad in the fridge for supper.
  As I neared the Lexington Hospital, I saw Rush’s and before I knew it, I, or my car, had turned into restaurant drive-way. I didn’t have any choice but to order a cheeseburger basket.
  There was one more thing that had been long scheduled for July 16 - the return of “The Game of Thrones.”
  I, and the 23 million other fans, had been waiting for over a year for season seven to begin.
  I knew what was going to happen. I didn’t get to take my normal Sunday nap for obvious reasons, and I knew I was going to fall asleep in the middle of the episode.
  So, when the episode began I started recording it, but I didn’t fall asleep!
  About 20 minutes into the program, it “came up a cloud,” and my satellite went off for 20-minutes. Wouldn’t you know it?
  No problem. HBO repeated the episode at 10, so I got to see what I missed, and I still didn’t fall asleep!
  It was quite memorable day.

DREAMING

  I normally don’t remember dreams, but I had one early Sunday morning that defied logic.
  This was an “in-between” dream. I had awakened around 3 a.m., and tossed and turned for about an hour before I nodded off again.
  In my dream, I was in church and was about to announce the first hymn, as I would do for real Sunday morning.
  I looked down and could not find my bulletin, so I came down from the pulpit to look at our hymn board, but instead of three hymns, there were three advertisements for “Finding Nemo!”
  Interpret that!