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Along Twin Ponds Road

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By Ray Willis

“Mr. Willis, aren’t you going to ask us what we did on our weekend?” one of my dejected seventh graders asked me.

“I’m sorry, Michelle, why don’t you share with the class what you did over the weekend?” I replied, with a slight smile on my face.  After all, I couldn’t smile too enthusiastically.  If I did they might realize that I was about to have as much fun as they were.

It was Monday morning, and I really did love listening to my eager students sharing what they had done on their weekends with myself and the rest of the class.  Yes, I let all five of my classes do the same thing when they walked into our English class.  I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to start the week.

You guessed it readers, I am about to share my weekend with you.

Andy Pearson used to be one of those students in my classes who couldn’t wait to share his weekend experiences.  

He was special in many ways.  Andy was a very bright student, cool and nice to his classmates, yet not afraid to exhibit what some of his fellow students might view as too much enthusiasm for a particular teacher or class.

I was looking for a shorter book to begin reading this week because I knew I had promised my wife and myself that we’d read together a couple of books we could both enjoy.

I found a short paperback book entitled “Sweet Ruin,” a book of poems by Tony Hoagland.  Inside the book was a postcard addressed to me from none other than Andy Pearson who was now a college student.

Andy had just won a poetry award from the Academy of American Poets.  Rather than spend his money on himself, he had chosen to purchase copies of his favorite books then send them to teachers who had helped him to appreciate language and writing.

Andy, God bless you wherever you are.  I’m sorry that it’s taken me 16 years to finally read the book of poems by Hoagland that you had so graciously sent to me many years ago.

I really was looking forward to meeting at least one of you on Friday night at the Quincy Music Theater when Judy and her favorite aunt, Onez, and husband Jerry, and myself went to that delightful and enjoyable production of “Grease.”

The four of us even dressed up to look like we had lived in the ‘50s, which, of course, we all had.

The four of us were a little surprised and disappointed that we weren’t really given any attention and that more of the audience didn’t try to dress for the occasion.

I was blessed to have been able to attend the church of my choice this morning.  I did sing a solo.  

Most of the women at Lake Jackson UMC were away at a retreat for women only this morning.  So myself and the four other men in our choir had a blast singing that upbeat spiritual, “New River Train.”

After church I joined with my new and wonderful friend, Peter Imholz, in leading a short worship service at the Woodmont Assisted Living Community not far from our church.

What a wonderful experience!  There weren’t too many senior citizens gathered in the Sun Room, but I’d like to think we all felt closer to the Lord for a short while.

Peter delivered a short and interesting message, and we led the gracious people with a few old and favorite hymns.   Peter played his guitar and sang, “The Old Rugged Cross.“

We were also ably accompanied on the piano by one of the home’s own residents.  This very able pianist had once played with Rex Humbard.

I am indeed a blessed man and feel privileged and honored to sing and give testimony to our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, any time and any way I can.

God bless you.