"That same small town in each of us"

“Who knows how long this will last
Now we’ve come so far, so fast
But, somewhere back there in the dust
That same small town in each of us
I need to remember this
So baby give me just one kiss
And let me take a long last look
Before we say good bye”
— Don Henley

Brooke and Lanny got married this weekend. Brooke is a cousin of mine from Atlanta, Texas(Her Dad and my Mom are first cousins…) Had the great honor of officiating for them. It’s always fun to do those kinds of weddings, and especially fun for me to do one in Atlanta where my Mom is from. Actually, I have some direct roots to FUMC Atlanta, the church where the service was held. I was baptized there, back in 1963. Interestingly, Lanny and Brooke were also both baptized there. That’s probably a pretty rare thing, if you think about it.

All my Mom’s family, both sides, hail from this town. So, we’re related to a lot of folks, although as the years go by more and more of the folks we used to visit are no longer with us. Kind of sad, really. A trip to Atlanta used to mean days of visits to have a dozen different houses where great aunts and uncles lived. Now, there are only a few of my grandparent’s generation left.

I still have some wonderful cousins there, and it’s always good to go back.

During the wedding, I quoted a David Wilcox song to Lanny and Brooke. It’s the song “All My Life,” from the Underneath CD. To me, the song reminded me of them, because they’ve known each other their whole lives…all the way back to being in preschool together at the church.

All My Life
by David Wilcox
“Do you believe in signs that whisper inside your mind ’till you have to follow through,
leading you home again to someplace you’ve never been? Well I feel that way for you.
For how can it be true, the first time I see you,
I look into your eyes,
and suddenly I knew you all my life.

Don’t we have all that time: treasure that’s yours and mine, and a place that we call home
Don’t we have photographs taken a long time back
of the seasons we have known?

I know it’s strange to say, when we just met this way, but I look into your eyes,
and suddenly I knew you all my life.”

But being back there for the wedding also just got me thinking about Atlanta in general. TheDon Henleyquote at the top of this blog started to mean a lot more to me a couple of years back, when I realized that Henley and I share two things in common.* The first is that Don Henley is from Linden (A fact I somehow didn’t learn until my early 30’s.

Linden is just a few miles down the road from Atlanta, and Henley still has a lot of connections to the area. (In fact, here’s a trivia question: name Henley’s music publishing company for many of his Eagle’s and solo records…. a hint can be found in the name of this site. 😊

So, when I hear the line about “the same small town in each of us,” it’s got extra meaning to me. Because in his case and mine, it’s just about as close to literally true as you can get.

Dennise, Maria and I tried to go to Miles Drugstore for lunch. But apparently, it closes at noon on Saturday’s now. We drove around town, showed Maria my grandfather, Sam Mays’, old house. It’s now a home healthcare company, and we knocked on the door, hoping to be able to take quick tour through. But the woman who answered the door looked perturbed by the idea, and blamed her inability to allow us in on the new HIPAA law. Sounded like an excuse to me, but we still left anyway. A little sadder for it, actually. We drove past the storefront that used to be the family grocery store, where my grandfather was a co-owner.

Really, just about every-other street contains the house of someone we used to know, or some business that was once a friend to the family. I’m glad to be able to take Maria back, so that she can see those roots, and maybe even understand them a little. It’s not the same as staying for weeks during the summer, as I used to do…
….going fishing all afternoon with my grandmother, who taught me not to be afraid of dragonflies.
…. shelling pecans with my grandfather…and cleaning fish with him…something I thought at the time was the grossest act known to humankind.
….playing down by the railroad tracks and watching the trains go by.
….walking around downtown with my relatives, and being amazed that they knew everyone, and everyone knew them too.
….rummaging through old closets that held Daddy Sam’s trinkets from World War II.
….driving miles out of the way, just to find a good place to eat catfish.

And a million other memories that are inside my mind. I wish Maria could understand all those memories, and I can only hope that she’ll always have some inkling that there’s a small town, deep inside her too.

* The second is that his wife and I graduated from the same high school class.

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He is Senior Pastor of Kessler Park UMC United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. Previously, he was pastor at Northaven UMC in Dallas for seventeen years. Eric loves to write on topics of spirituality, social justice, music/art and politics. The entries on this blog reflect that diversity of interests. His passion for social justice goes beyond mere words. He’s been arrested at the White House, defending immigrants and “The Dreamers,” and he’s officiated at same sex weddings in his churches, in defiance of what some believe is Methodist teaching. Eric is an avid blogger and published author, and 2017 recipient of the prestigeous Kuchling Humanitarian Award from Dallas’ Black Tie Dinner. (Human Rights Campaign) Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He’s a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named “best judge” by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County, and is currently the longest service district judge in that district. She was re-elected for a fourth term in 2018. They have the world’s best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. Find links to Eric’s music-related websites, at the top of this site’s navigation menu.

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