By John A. Huffman, Jr.
Friday, September 01, 2006
1 Corinthians 11:27-29
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves.
Question: Do you have any memories of family reunions? I have some going way back to my earliest childhood memories.
One is a dim recollection of a big, old, white farmhouse with huge elm trees towering overhead. Off to the right is an apple orchard. Out back, a hundred yards or so from the house, is a barn. To the left is a fenced field in which some milking cows are grazing. A big circular dirt drive goes up to the house. Off to the right, by the orchard on the other side of the driveway, are parked at least several dozen late 1930s and early 1940s cars. There on the front lawn, gently sloping down to the county road, are picnic tables and blankets spread out on the ground. Close to the house, there are several big, long tables borrowed from a church. Some are loaded with steaming hot casseroles and meat dishes. Another has salads of all sorts. A couple more couldn't hold one more pie, cake, bowl of chopped fruit or a big half of watermelon, if you tried to crowd a place for it. Then there's that table with the beverages — big pitchers of lemonade, iced tea and those pots with coffee.
Picture people, perhaps 150, whose roots were attached to the name Huffman or perhaps Lambert. I can't remember whether it was my grandmother's or my grandfather's side. I do remember it was fun. There was food. There were people of all ages, from the tiniest of squealing babies, to us little kids, to the teenagers (so sophisticated), to the young couples, to the middle-agers, to the grandparents, to the great-grandparents, and even an occasional great-great-grandmother, smelling of lavender. Then my recollections blur. Nothing is left but the warm fuzzies of a youngster's happy memories of a grand family reunion loaded with cousins, second-cousins and second-cousins-once-removed, uncles and aunts, great-uncles and great-aunts, and fun and food and more fun and more food!
The second recollection places me at age 12 in Elkhart, Indiana, at a city park. Harry Truman was finishing his last months in the White House, and Dwight Eisenhower was in the process of being elected to replace him. The cars were a little bit more sophisticated and the environment a bit more of the city. Some of the people were the same, although this time I know it was the Huffman branch. By this time, I was interested in girls. I can remember that pretty little second- or third-cousin who had my same last name and, for some reasons I couldn't really figure out, I wasn't supposed to have a crush on. I periodically cast a furtive glance at her and perhaps only imagined her casting one back at me.