Thursday, March 3, 2016

Old Friendships Renewed

March 2, 2016

It's the 3rd of March as I write this, but the events happened yesterday. I subscribe to a couple email services that offer free and inexpensive e-books. One of the free ones that caught my eye was a short account of Bonnie and Clyde. It didn't take long to read through it, and the bonus account of a turn of the century NYC police lieutenant who was framed for murder by a crooked gambler and pimp, and a DA and judge who both had political aspirations. Both stories were sad  commentaries on the hardscrabble life into which so many people are born. Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow grew up in the dusty midwest of Oklahoma and north Texas during the Depression, and the NYC cop worked his beat in the immigrant slums of New York during the time of Tammany Hall, where bribes, violence, and corruption were the order of the day.

By contrast, Linda and I had a couple of dear friends over for dinner last night. We worked with Dennis and Linda when we first moved to Sinclairville in 1981. They and we were young then, raising our children (Two boys and a girl for each of us) and working in the church together with the youth. When I was appointed pastor solely to Sinclairville, life took us in different ways. Linda's mother was my secretary for years, so we never totally lost touch, but only recently have events drawn us back together. Our kids are now grown, both couples are grandparents, and as we had dinner together, the years melted away. We've both had our share of problems (who doesn't?), but we marveled at the way God has kept us. Bonnie and Clyde died in a hail of bullets in 1934, after having murdered and robbed their way from Texas to Minnesota. She was  24, he just 26. He had tried going straight after having served time for petty robbery, but as an ex-con, couldn't get or keep even a menial job. The NYC police lieutenant had built a reputation for shaking down the pimps and gamblers on his beat.

We sat around the table, laughing and reminiscing over the past nearly forty years, and today I am grateful and humbled by the life I've been allowed to live. I started out with benefits most people could only dream about, and by God's grace have managed to avoid totally squandering my inheritance. Without the responsibilities and commitments of work that retirement has given us, we are blessed to be able to renew our friendship with Dennis and Linda, and to give thanks for God's hand faithfully guiding us through these many years of life.

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