Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, November 5, 2010

Interesting People

In September Helen and I went on a cruise with the Chad Mitchell Trio. We’re not cruise people, but Joe Frazier, the baritone, and I are friends through our mutual strange calling. When the trio disbanded, Joe went to Yale Divinity School and became an Episcopal priest, a vocation he still practices as vicar of his church’s mission at Big Bear Lake, CA.

In part because I always feared being boring, even more than being bored, I am attracted to interesting people. Chad Mitchell [tenor] and Mike Kobluk [bass] and Paul Prestopino [banjo, guitar, and mandolin] and Bob Hefferan [guitar] and Ron Greenberg [bass] are fabulously interesting people. So are their spouses.

We know Joe best, so it was from him that we heard phrases like “One night when we were swimming in Tennessee Williams’ pool…” and “Just as I was about to go out on stage in Central Park, Abby Hoffman came up and…” and “When Harry Belafonte took us down to sing with Martin Luther King…”

It’s not quite the same as “One night when we were swimming in Hovey Hedges’ pool…” or “Just as I was about to go into the pulpit, Vic Stenger came up and…” “Then Andre’ Hammonds and I marched into Montgomery, Alabama…” Very few people recognize the names of Vic Stenger and Donna Miller Huff and Mike Dickey and Paula Eskew Nosset and Hazel Jones and Andre’ Hammonds…

…but the people in Hovey Hedges’ pool, Donna Huff and Mike Dickey and Paula Nosset among them, and those approaching me in church, like Vic Stenger and Hazel Jones and Mae Everett, and those who marched into Montgomery with me, like Andre’ Hammonds and Bob Mullins, are fabulously interesting people, too.

The only difference is the name recognition.

As I think back through the years, I am mightily grateful for all the interesting people in my life, even though no one else knows their names. They made sure I was never bored, and their inspiration, and stories, helped me be less boring myself.

I suspect that heaven is, by definition, full of interesting people. If it isn’t, I’m not sure I want to go there; it would be a downer after this interesting life.

And, a reminder because old people sometimes forget: wear clothes. Mark Twain pointed out that naked people hardly ever have any influence on history.*

And may the Christ who is never boring be with you,

*I am indebted to my interesting old friend, Don Survant, for this quote, in the church newsletter he edits. Helen points out that Lady Godiva is an exception, because her chocolates have changed the history of our waistlines.

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