Sunday, May 23, 2010

Never Ending Melody

Homecomings come in unexpected places. Mine came when I walked into the Brethren Home in Greenville, Ohio. I had stopped by to visit those who had migrated from the Neff Road neighborhood to that of the Home. Those who could no longer care for themselves or who needed to downsize found a home there among friends.

“Mom is in the dining room,” said Brenda. Her mom had been there for several years. Her mom is my ‘mom’, too.

“Pam!” the calls rang across the room. All faces turned, faces I loved, faces from my past. The few remaining members of Painter Creek church were eating lunch at the Home with other members who could no longer make the journey to the country church. Familiar faces greeted me making me aware of those who were no longer in attendance.

A tall man with a face I had known from his father’s to his greeted me. “Remember band?” he said. “Didn’t you play alto sax?”

Of course, I did. I was second chair to his first. Duh! We had grown up as children in the church. His parents were some of those who watched over me. Alva, his dad was an usher all of the years I attended, and Pauline, his mother, was my pre-school Sunday School teacher. She grew to be my friend when I finally made it to adult status. In fact, she might be the one who served me my first cup of coffee at a church luncheon. His parents were now in their 90’s, the same 90 years shared by several others around the table.

Every time I returned home to Painter Creek Church, I was embraced by these people who had known me from infancy to grieving daughter. They were family. Their children, my brothers and sisters. They always remembered and welcomed me home.

I left after my visit to the Home going to the cemetery. I walked among relatives and friends, those gone for many years and some more recently. Memories clung to me begging me to take this walk with my grandchildren, telling them of those who carried me on my journey. Telling them the stories.

I cannot think of a day that I will not return to Neff Road. I cannot fathom being permanently separated from my roots, roots that reach to the bowels of the earth and stretch to the distant stars. There is a melody that sings on Neff Road. It never ends. It never ends.

No comments: