Tuesday, July 25, 2006

100 years old today -- Clara Edwards

Clara Edwards is 100 years old today. Her mind is still as sharp as a Senator's oratory, and for 100 years old, her body holds up well (she lives alone in the same house she moved into in 1933). Today, I paid her a visit -- for its not everyday that one talks with a centeniarian.

Mrs. Edwards remembers driving a horse and buggy to go to school when she was a teenager (all the city girls would ask her for rides after school was over) -- she fondly remembers the gentleman at the livery stable who promised he'd take good care of her horse Billy while she was in school. She remembers when Billie died and her daddy buried him underneath the apple tree on the family farm.

She remembers working on her family's tobacco farm, until she married her husband Boyd in 1933 -- she lived through the depression and two world wars. She remembers watching our country grow and prosper after world war 2. To use the terminology of the Fourth Turning (which we've been working through for several weeks here at the Eagle and Child), she's lived through an unravelling of culture, a crisis, and a new order following the crisis. Through it all, some of her best memories were of travelling back from the Cincinnati area (she and Boyd actually lived in Ft. Thomas KY, right across the river from Cincinnati) back to Cynthiana KY to visit family. After 100 years of history, her fondest memories are of those with loved ones!

What inspires me is her still vibrant faith -- as a child, she memorized the Westminster Shorter Catechism -- no small task for seminarians who wallow in theology, much less for a child. She still has the certificate for completing that great feat. She's outlived her husband and her siblings, and yet she still sings the refrain of how blessed she has been in this life. She continues to profess her faith in the good Lord. As we read scripture together, I read from Ephesians 2 -- and she was mouthing the words as we went over the great statements of justification by faith and not by works.

And this made the visit so special -- as I was leaving, Andy and Anna Adams dropped by with their two week old child, Jack. There in the same room were the youngest and the oldest members of our church family. Truly it is sweet to be a part of a covenant community!

I know that Clara will never read this reflection -- she was a senior citizen when personal computers became the rage in the 70's -- she was an octegenarian when the internet was in its infancy. I doubt she's ever even looked at a computer or the world that is on the internet. Living history my friends, living history. I thank God that I've had the chance to know her (and so many others)

Do yourself a favor -- go ask some older folks for the stories of bygone days -- and then tell a story or two online. Let's archive some of the great oral history here on the blogosphere before it all goes away.

Soli Deo Gloria