Pop Pop Epistle #108 – The Year That I Was Born: 1958

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)

Dear Grandkids,

So I am about two weeks away from my 62nd birthday. And it got me thinking back to the year that I was born. I was born in the middle of the Baby Boomer generation. (Your parents are considered Millennials and all of you are called Generation Z – though I suspect that could change for some of you) The world was a much different place back in 1958. Here are some things that were true way back then…

I was born in Columbia SC at Providence Hospital.

Dwight Eisenhower  was president. So at present I have lived under the administration of 12 different presidents. His Vice-President was Richard Nixon who would later become president in 1968.

Elvis Presley, already a Rock and Roll star, was inducted into the US Army. Interesting fact: Earlier in the decade, before he really made it big time, he was passing through Lexington NC and got sick. My grandfather (your great-great grandfather), who was a physician, gave him a shot of penicillin in the buttocks.

Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 11.00.13 AM

The Beatles were known as The Quarrymen. They wouldn’t be known as The Beatles until 1960.

NASA was established and Project Mercury, the first spaceflight program began.

Gunsmoke was the top rated TV show.  The Bridge Over the River Kwai was voted Best Movie of the Year.

The New York Yankees won the 1958 World Series. It was their 7th championship in 10 years. Their roster included MLB Hall of Famers Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Enos Slaughter, and Whitey Ford. The Baltimore Colts won the NFL Championship. Arnold Palmer won the first of his four Master’s titles.

The United States was between wars. The Korean War had ended in 1953 and the Vietnam War for America  would not escalate for a few more years.

Famous people, besides your Pop Pop, who were also born in 1958 include Michael Jackson, Madonna, Ellen Degeneres, Mark Cuban, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Alec Baldwin. And your Nona.

62 years may sound old to you and it may seem like a long time. But when you are 62 you will understand just how fast 62 years can fly by.

Moses says this in Psalm 90 verses 12 & 14:

12 So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
    that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

These verses echo two things that I pray for you: 1) That you will make wise choices as you grow up and 2) that you will find joy and satisfaction as you embrace the Father’s magnanimous love.

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

Pop Pop Epistle #107 – I Miss Baseball

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)Dear Grandkids,

I miss baseball.

Because of Covid-19 the 2020 Major League Baseball season never even got started. Nona and I were supposed to be in St Louis visiting my brother in early May and were going to a Mets vs. Cardinals game – but that never happened.  So I am missing baseball.

But I also miss playing baseball. I grew up playing Little League and High School ball. That evolved into playing softball for the next 25 years until the threat of pulled muscles caused me to retire. So it’s been about 17 years since I played competitively. And I still miss it.

So I’ve been reminiscing. I thought I would share a few of my baseball memories with you that I haven’t already shared.

As I mentioned I played Little League up until high school. I was a short stop. The thing I like about being short stop was that I felt like I was involved in every play. I wasn’t great but I was good enough to make a few All-Star teams. What I wasn’t was a pitcher. I remember being put in to pitch one game. I don’t remember why, but I do remember that we lost 30-0. My pitching career ended pretty quickly.

Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 11.41.17 AMMy uncle and his family lived up in Detroit. He was a syndicated columnist for the Detroit Free Press and loved baseball – especially the Detroit Tigers. When we would visit, he would take me to baseball games at the old Tiger Stadium. In 1971, Detroit hosted the MLB All-Star Game and he invited me to come up from South Carolina and go to the game with him. It was one of the greatest All Star Games ever…. for at least 3 reasons. 1) It was the ONLY time the American League won the All Star Game between 1963 and 1982. 2) All of the scoring came via the home run and all six home runs hit in the game and all the runs scored were by future Hall of Fame players. These HOFers hit home runs: Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Harmon Killebrew, Frank Robinson, and Reggie Jackson. 3) Jackson’s home run is one of the most memorable ever – it was measured at 520 feet and was only kept from going out of the stadium by a light pole on the roof of the stadium.

I didn’t play baseball my first 2 years of high school – instead played tennis. But tried out for the baseball team my junior year. I was actually surprised when I was told at first cuts that I would be on the team. Again, I was not a great player, but my value to the team was that I was good and could play a lot of different position (just not pitcher). I was what you would call a utility player. I didn’t start until half way through the year. I had been the backup 2nd baseman. But during warmups one game I was in the outfield and running down every fly ball that came out there. The coach noticed and began starting me in left field after that.

My senior year I converted back to 2nd base and started the whole season. About 2/3 through the season, I was fielding grounders prior to the start of the game when a ball hit a rock, jumped up and crashed into my nose – and broke it. There was a lot of blood but we got it under control and I stayed in the game. Later that game, with two outs and a runner on, an opposing player lined a shot to right center. I timed my jump just right, elevated as high as I could, speared the ball and took an extra base hit away from the batter. It was one of the best catches I ever made.

Screen Shot 2020-05-23 at 11.40.22 AM

The memories I have of playing ball are still fresh. Hard to believe they are over 40 years ago. Here’s the thing about memories. They stay with you for a long time. The good ones and the bad ones. Some memories you are in control of making. Some you aren’t. Make sure that the ones you can control are the ones that you will want to remember 40 years from now. I’m hoping that some of your best memories will be shared memories that we have together over the next 20 years. But in the meantime…

I miss baseball!

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop


Pop Pop Epistle #106 – About the Iris Flower

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)

Dear Grandkids,

Did you know that the iris is Nona’s favorite kind of flower. Besides being a very pretty flower, it has sentimental significance to her – it was her mother’s favorite flower. So you would not be surprised to see a bunch of iris growing in our yard right now as it is peak season for irises.

Admittedly I am not much of a flower guy. But irises are indeed right perty. And I found out a few things about them that help me to appreciate them as well as to make an object lesson out of them.

For instance, I did not know that in Greek mythology Iris is the name of the Goddess of the Rainbow. And because the rainbow is a reminder of God’s covenant promise with His people (Genesis 9:15-17) every time that you see an iris in bloom be reminded that our God is a promise keeper…

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

The goddess Iris also escorted the deceased from earth to heaven, guiding them to their final destination. This association of irises and the afterlife became so entrenched in Greek culture that individuals would plant irises on the graves of loved ones. Now we know that this is myth, but irises can be a great reminder of the Lord’s promise that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

I also did not know that there are hundreds of varieties of iris. Lots and lots of different species and lots of different colors. Just to impress you with my word-smithing, they are what we might call sui generis. That is to say that they are unique. Speaking of the Red Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 2.51.03 PMHawk Bearded Iris, one reference said…

 Large as well as prominently placed at the top of their erect and self-supporting stems, they are, conveniently, likely to be higher than the early-season growth of most perennials nearby.  Iris show up well from a distance, then, so you don’t need more than an occasional clump to bring splashes of sui generis floral excitement to mixed plantings.

The connection for you is this: you also have been created to be very unique. There is no one else like you and you have been especially created to “bring splashes of sui generis” splendor to the world around you as you display the Lord’s wondrous imagination.

So the next time you see an iris take a minute and and notice it’s beauty. Take a minute and experience it’s scent. Take a minute and give thanks to God for being a promise keeper. Take a minute and thank God for creating you just the way that you are to demonstrate His glorious purposes. And then give Nona a phone call and tell her that you love her and are thinking about her.

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

Pop Pop Epistle # 105 – Happy Birthday Miller (It’s A Great Day To Be Alive)

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)

Screen Shot 2020-05-02 at 9.19.16 AMDear Miller,

Yes, I realize that today is NOT your birthday. Yes, I know that your birthday was last Monday. Yes, I just forgot to do a Pop Pop Epistle. My apologies. It does not mean that you are less loved it just means that your Pop Pop is getting forgetful in his older age. That being said… Happy Birthday!

For a 3 year old you are so full of LIFE and personality! I thought this would be a good chance to share ALL the words to a song that you are only familiar with the chorus of.

Your Mommy has no doubt told you that I used to sing this to her everyday on the way to school. And you have heard me sing it many times as it kind of represents the theme song of my life. I wrote it many years and still probably sing it every day as I am having my time alone with God. I hope it is a song that you are singing 75 years from now and are sharing with your kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

It’s a great day to be alive
It’s a great day to wake up and sing
It’s a great day to be a child of the King
It’s a great day to be alive.

Life is an adventure
Each day a new surprise
A chance to watch God do His thing
Before our very eyes.
And those who say they love Him
Who call upon His name
Will find joy in the journey
And strength for each new day.

Today I’ll make a difference
Today I’ll take my stand
Today I’ll walk with Jesus
As He guides me by the hand.
I’ll set a good example
And I’ll live unselfishly
I’ll choose to live by faith
Because the Father has changed me.

And when this life is over
And eternal life begins
When death has claimed this body
And we’ve said goodbye to friends
There won’t be any reason
For us to be afraid
Cause when we see the Father
We can joyfully still say that…

It’s a great day to be alive
It’s a great day to wake up and sing
It’s a great day to be a child of the King
It’s a great day to be alive.

Never forget that you are very loved!

Pop Pop

Pop Pop Epistle # 104 – May the 1st

Pop Pop Epistles (Main)

Dear Grandkids,

The past two years I have done  May the 5th and May the 9th installments in this series. This year I want to share some May the 1st blessings that I am praying for you.

Screen Shot 2020-04-30 at 6.56.55 PMMay the 1st verse of Psalm 23 encourage your soul as you are reminded of the Lord’s care and provision for you and that He will supply all your needs.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

May the 1st verse of Romans 5 reassure you as you ponder what it means to be justified by faith and find your confidence in the cross.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

May the 1st verse of Romans 12 motivate you towards daily surrender and to see your life as a sacrificial offering  to the Lord who as mercifully saved you.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

May the 1st verse of 2 Corinthians 5 fortify you when life is hard knowing that we are “not living for the dot but for the line” that stretches into eternity.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

May the 1st verse of Ephesians 5 energize you to pattern the things you do and the things that you say after King Jesus as you remember just how much the Lord loves you.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

May the 1st verse of Hebrews 12 fuel you with determination and resolve as you consider all those who have gone before you and are even now cheering you on to stand firm in the faith and pursue Christlikeness with all diligence.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…

Never forget that you are very loved.

Pop Pop

%d bloggers like this: