Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Sunday, April 3, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter… ©

We buried Donna’s mother yesterday. Ophia was widowed at age 54. She lived to be 108. She was a widow half her life.

When Earl died, she had never driven. 54 years ago, families had one car, and the man used it to go to work. When you went to church or the grocery, you went together, and the man drove.

They lived outside of town, so when Earl died, Ophia had to learn to drive, and she had to get a car. She chose a white Corvair. [1] She loved that car! No wonder. Think of what it must have meant to her in terms of freedom and identity.

She didn’t go far, so the miles didn’t add up quickly. When she could no longer drive, she did not want to sell her beloved car to just anyone. She wanted it to have a new owner who would love it like she did. She chose Derek Barton.

She chose well. Each year on her birthday, Derek would come get her and take her for a ride in her car. Even her first few years in the nursing home. When she became too feeble to leave the home, Derek would come to her room and tell her about her car. 

None of us really owns anything. The world belongs to all of us. It’s okay to share, because the world is precious to us all.

The procession to the cemetery yesterday was led by a white Corvair.


1] Not to be confused with a Corvette. The Corvair inspired Ralph Nader to write Unsafe at Any Speed.

My youthful ambition was to be a journalist, and write a column for a newspaper. So I think of this blog as an online column. I started it several years ago, when we followed the grandchildren to the “place of winter,” Iron Mountain, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula [The UP]. I put that in the sub-title, ”Reflections on Faith from a Place of Winter for the Years of Winter, where life is defined by winter even in the summer!” [This phrase is explained in the post for March 20, 2014.] We no longer live in “the place of winter.” The grandchildren grew up, so in May, 2015 we moved “home,” to Bloomington, IN, where we met and married. It’s not a “place of winter,” but we are still in winter years of the life cycle, so I continue to work at understanding what it means to be a follower of Christ in winter…

I tweet as yooper1721.

They called them heroes. They said, “Thank you for your service.” Then forgot about them. Joe Kirk lost a leg. Lonnie Blifield lost his eyes. Victoria Roundtree lost her skin. “Zan” Zander lost his mind. Four homeless and hopeless Iraqistan VETS who accidentally end up living together on an old school bus. With nowhere to go, and nothing else to do, they lurch from one VAMC to another, getting no help because, like the thousands of other Iraqistan VETS who are homeless, unemployed, and suicidal, they do not trust the system and refuse to “come inside.” After another fruitless stop, at the VAMC in Iron Mountain, Michigan, a doctor is found dead, and the VETS are accused of his murder. Distrustful, strangers to America, to each other, and even to themselves, they must become a unit to learn who really murdered the doctor, so that they can be free. In doing so, they uncover far more, about themselves and about their country, than they dared even to imagine. VETS is available from your local independent book store, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BOKO, Books-A-Million, Black Opal Books, and almost any place else that sells books. $12.99 for paperback, and $3.99 for ebook. Free if you can get your library to buy one.

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