By Gramps for CrossDove Writers
As we get older in life, we reach a time when we realize that many events begin to be referred to as ‘the last time’ we did something, either saw or talked to someone, or maybe it was just somewhere we went for one ‘last time’.
Coming up in July I will be attending what I have decided to call ‘a last time weekend’ because I will be going through what could be several ‘last time’ moments.
One of the upcoming weekends, my three siblings and I will get together with many of our dearest family friends to Celebrate the Life of our father, the late Rev. Dwight D. Snesrud, at the only church he served as pastor while all four of us preacher kids lived under the same roof at the same time year-round.
The church is in Lincoln, Nebraska, an incredibly special place for me as I grew up there from midway of my kindergarten year of schooling until just a couple of weeks before what should have been my sophomore year at Lincoln Northeast High School.
In a yet to be published and tentatively titled book ‘My Fishbowl on Delhay Drive’, I share many writings on growing up in the northeast part of Lincoln as a preacher’s kid in the 1960’s, and this upcoming weekend might be considered the cumulation of it all.
When we gather at Northeast Church, United Church of Christ on Adams Street, most of us will be there to celebrate the life of an extraordinarily strong man of faith who also loved and cared for so many along his trails of preaching. We will celebrate one ‘last time’ the faithfulness to his faith, family, and flock of the Rev. Dwight D. Snesrud, my dad.
But for me, I will also be celebrating so many other possible ‘last time’ moments that weekend.
Yes, I will celebrate my father in a glorious way one ‘last time’ in my home church, the church I grew up with many folks who I cherish as both friends as well as my extended church family.
It will be a weekend of emotions for me as I will celebrate and say thank you one ‘last time’ to several of the few remaining ‘church parents’ I grew up with. Folks like Beth Franz, Marion Packet, Joe Geist, Bill White, Marj Manglitz, Marj Kehm, Janet Domeier, Jerry and Ellie Graves as well as Diane and Bob Snook. I remember at one time I made a list of those folks I called my ‘church parents’ from the days in Lincoln and the list numbered well over 50.
One ‘last time’ I will have to chance to say thank you for the unbelievable memories I carry with me for the moments each one of them treated this preacher’s kid like one of their own somewhere along the way. The kind of people that if I ever needed a place to stay in a pinch would not hesitate to offer me their home. Truly I am thankful for my ‘church parents’ as they helped me get through many growing pains of my childhood alongside my own parents.
It will be a weekend that offers me another chance to see and chat with several of my best friends from those days as a scrawny, feisty, sometimes sickly preachers kid in Lincoln.
One ‘last time’ to possibly say thank you for friendships that go as far back as kindergarten/first grade with Cathy (Morin) Van Kanael, with my ‘extra sister’ Bobbi Ann (Taylor) Cutshall, my rowdy brother from junior high days in Kirk Squires, my best friend as both members of Indian Guides but also as my locker mate for three years at Robin Mickle Junior High in Steve Gottsch, and those two of those ‘older brothers’ I never had in Bruce and Mark Miller as well as Tom Cardwell.
Another plus will be the conversations I will get to have one ‘last time’ with those older kids of the church in Lincoln, the ones I looked up to like Judy (Young) Allerheiligen and Kent Pavelka, the person who had to give up his bed to a couple of new preachers kids our first night living in Lincoln.
While not from my days in Lincoln, I know I will get some time again with one of my best friends from high school days in Minnesota when Oliver Lawrence and his wife Merlyn drive down from Chicago to celebrate my dad’s life as my friend and ‘adopted’ brother.
It will be one ‘last time’ that I will walk the halls of my home church, and when the service and reception is over and I step out of the building, I will be aware that it could be the ‘last time’ I will have spent time in the church itself and the memories of events, relationships, moments, and people will flush through my system as I do.
It possible could be the ‘last time’ I will take a drive through my childhood stomping grounds. I will drift down Adams Street to turn left on 63rd and I will pass the house of Darla (Ogier) Starr, the cute little gal on the corner, as I drive down to take one last tour around my elementary school, Pershing.
Then I return in the direction of Adams Street by driving by the house my best friend Steve Gottsch grew up in. As I drive past Adams Street, I will take a left and cruise down Delhay Drive one ‘last time’.
Delhay Drive where the kids of my neighborhood resided like the Vallis girls, Vicki, and LeAnn; the three Bush’s Roger, Mike, and Lynne; Tyson and Permelia Hill; David Spinar and of course the Milburn clan of seven kids including my best buddy of the neighborhood, Mike.
If I turned west on Madison Avenue by the home I grew up in, I would find the childhood homes of Bill Young, Kit Emery and the Landstrom boys. Turning east on Madison toward the path I walked for three years to Mickle Junior High, would give me a chance one ‘last time’ to pass the dead-end street where a little gal of my childhood lived with her freckles and long perfect hair, Jeanie (Vosika) Cole.
If I have the time, I may even drive a larger area of northeast Lincoln and for one ‘last time’ go by homes of other childhood memories where people lived like Reggie Berka, the Darling kids, the three Packets (Susan, Scott and Sharon), my favorite teacher Mabel Stansbury’s home and of course businesses like my childhood swim hole Ballard Pool, the Joyo Theater, Kings Food Host and Popper Topper on Cotner Boulevard, as well as the building that once housed the Hinky Dinky Grocery Store, my childhood barbershop (Art’s Barbershop) in University Place, and my favorite library in Bethany Place.
Yes, when it is all said and done that weekend in Lincoln and after we spend some family time at my brother’s place in little Bennet, Nebraska just southeast of the capital city, I will head south back toward my home in Kansas and in the rear-view mirror take in one ‘last time’ the skyline of Lincoln, the town I grew up in and hold so many cherished memories.
It will be an incredibly special weekend for me and yes, I will get emotional, but what else should I expect for saying thank you to and remembering so many memories of the town I grew up, for maybe one ‘last time’.
(Copyright@2021, CrossDove Writers – no part of this posting may be printed, copied, or used without written permission by CrossDove Writers and Gramps.)