03-28-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Quo vadis

We are warm… outside, snow swirling about and pelting the windows. Breakfast sounds and smells as we sit in the dining room. I have sausage gravy and biscuits. The Chief Accountant has eggs over medium, bacon, and toast. The coffee is hot and a little bitter. For some reason they have changed blends… a losing proposition. And they have promised they will get back to the previous brand, which has been so excellent. Outside, bitter winter and snow everywhere. On the wall of the dining room, flashing strobe lights, red and blue. The ambulance is here to take someone away. We don’t know who it is… yet! No information available because of privacy laws. We will know as we count noses and see who isn’t here. And I am having some long thoughts. Not downhearted, because as I said we are warm and comfortable. But I can’t help thinking about how we are in a long line… when I was a kid my dad was trying to explain to me the immensity of the country of China. He said, “If all the people in China lined up four abreast and marched into the sea the line would never end!” Boy oh boy, did that impress me! In fact, I’ve never forgotten it. And now I sort of see us all marching four abreast… not into the sea, but off the edge of the earth! We were way back in the line, and as time has passed we are working our way up to the front. It has been a long process, but now we are much closer to the head of the line! And what I’ve been doing is looking back and sort of at the whole process. When I was younger and considered the above thoughts, I would finally come to the conclusion that it was in the future so I won’t worry about it now. Well that ‘in the future’ is now, and I am considering it. First reaction: Maybe I should be more worried than I am. Whenever I get a chance to talk to someone in the religious life, I do it. And I always have something on my mind. It’s a question… Where are we going? I don’t mean right now, I mean eventually. What is it going to be like? No one so far has been able to answer that. Perhaps it’s unfair of me to ask. But I always have to do it. And I had some interesting discussions in the past on that topic. One person was a minister of the Lutheran persuasion. We were at a wedding reception, and he had just married the young couple. Now we were at the bride’s home for a sumptuous feast. The Chief Accountant and I had gotten to the line and filled our plates. We found a table to sit down, which we did. I got coffee and water and we started to eat. It was then I noticed the minister coming through the line. Then he saw us and came over to sit across from us. I was most pleased, because we had talked previously, and evidently he enjoyed it and had more to say. I have found that ministers, priests, and rabbis in the campus ministry are usually very aware. Well, they have to be dealing with all those kids. We enjoyed talking with him that day but I can’t remember getting much new information on the burning question that I always ask… Where are we going? In Latin that is “quo vadis”, or where goest thou? We lived in Ann Arbor for 16 years. I taught at the University of Michigan while I was working on an advanced degree. Then I taught in the public school system for quite a few years. We were involved in campus activities and attended church at St. Mary’s Student Chapel on the campus. So of course we got to know the priests there. One day I asked one of them the question I always ask… Where we going? I got about as good an answer from him as I have heard anywhere. He said he had speculated on the same thing and thought, perhaps after we leave this life it will be much as it was before we came… in a place of perfect comfort, light, and peace. Then he said something that surprised me a little. He recommended that I read some of the writings of Martin Luther on that topic. Well, after all, at one time he was a good Catholic boy. I tried it, but have not found exactly what I’m looking for yet! Buddhists and Hindus say we are looking for, and striving for, perfection. And it will take us perhaps many lives to achieve Oneness with God, or Nirvana, as they call it. One of our daughters says she believes that this life we are in right now is the hard part. Interesting! And I can understand that. An early American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said we are all part of the great oversoul! Our lives are like waves lapping against the shore, and then we go back to the sea again. As we grow older, I keep on asking. And I suspect there is an answer shaping up out there. Perhaps we will only find that answer when we get there. Anything else is within us and has to be nurtured as we weave threads into the golden tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River. And it is called Faith!

Coloma Library News

Read with Spirit Spirit, a certified therapy dog visits the Coloma library Tuesday evenings from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Parents may sign up their children to reserve a 15-minute reading slot. Stop in at the front desk or call the library at 468-3431 for more details. Spirit will be on vacation on April 2. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, craft and songtime. Story Hour is a free weekly program for toddlers and preschool-aged children and does not require sign up. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, April 4 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Bitter River” by Julia Keller. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members. Call 468-3431 with any questions.

Hartford Library News

“Melted Crayon Art” on Tuesday, April 16 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; all materials are furnished. Bringing a hand held hair dryer would be helpful. Reservations are needed for participating in this program. Call the library 269-621-3408 or email hartfordlibrary2000@yahoo.com to reserve a spot. Parents and children are invited to “Family Roller Coaster Construction” on Wednesday, April 17 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. Each parent/child team will be given a kit to construct their roller coaster. All supplies are provided and pizza is included. Teams of 2-3 people are allowed. Sign-up is required at least one week in advance.

Holocaust survivor to speak at Watervliet library

Watervliet District Library and Watervliet Public Schools will host Holocaust survivor, author and speaker Irene Miller at 6:30 p.m. April 8 at the library, 333 N. Main St. Miller will share her stories of hardship, struggle and endurance during World War II. Her childhood took her through a Siberian labor camp, near starvati