I don’t read for pleasure nearly
as much as I thought I would at my age, but when I see a book authored by John Irving, I can’t resist it. Mostly, because
he is an artist with words, and his characters speak to me like they were my next-door-neighbor. In fact, some-times I have
to remind myself that these characters are fictional.
My favorite book of all times is A Prayer
for Owen Meany, authored by Irving.
I first read this book on a camping trip in the Smoky Mountains
with Judy. I was at one end of the camper and she was at the other. I was laughing so hard that I was shaking the trailer.
She knew full well that I didn’t usually laugh out loud while reading, so she came to check on me, asking me what on
earth I was reading. By the time she got to me, I was openly weeping. Now, that is my kind of book, switching emotions with
no warning, and bringing out the best and worst of reactions almost simultaneously.
When I read for pleasure, I don’t
read fast. I want to enjoy every word. And, I was doing just that when I realized that I had only two pages before I finished
the book. I wasn’t ready to say good-bye, yet I had to have closure on such a wonderfully artistic piece of literature.
I slowed my reading pace to a crawl. I savored each word, one at a time. Pausing at the end of each sentence…. And,
when I turned the last page, I was overcome by emotion. Overcome by the last scene, and overcome by the fact that I was saying
good-bye to the characters, even though they would be a part of me for the rest of my life.
So it is as I approach February 5, 2017. I’ve shared many times that I only came to BPC to be a temporary organist
until a permanent one was found. In retrospect, I have blamed Tim Waugh for knowing full well that I would fall in love with
the church. When Teresa left, I saw another opportunity, and I had enjoyed my time at Beckley Presbyterian so much the first
time, that I came back for the sequel.
And here we are, turning the last page.
I assure you that most of my time here has been full of laughter and enjoyment. Only a few times was I sad enough to weep.
And, I also as-sure you that I have savored each moment, each service and each musical offering. Nothing, however, prepares
you for the last sentence and the last period, even the fact that the members of Beckley Presbyterian Church will be a part
of me for the rest of my life.