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Jim Langham


Fifty years later, nothing changed PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, December 31, 2013 10:51 AM

By Jim Langham

When I started to school at Geneva, Ind. in the fall of 1954, I quickly entered a new world of friends and influences. I was picked up at our corner in Ceylon by bus driver Ray Black, who drove bus No. 8. I was taken to the door of the old Geneva School and escorted to my classroom in the southeast corner of the building where Catherine Fravel, who also taught my mother, was the first grade teacher.

 
Steps in snow represent full circle PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:41 AM

By Jim Langham

On one of the snowy days last week, I decided to soak in nature’s beauty with a walk in the beautiful Flat Rock Reserve located along Ohio 500 between Payne and Paulding. As has been the case in all of my trail walking recently, this experience became a time to listen and reflect.

As I stepped on to the trail, my heart was immediately captured by the beauty of the soft snow on “seed flowers” from the various aster plants, thistles and other winterized seeds waiting for the spring warmth. It is always amazing to me to realize that as brown as things may look, all plants are very much alive, protected, but living and ready for their spring emergence.

On this occasion, there was something intriguing, almost mystifying, about the footsteps left behind as I walked down the snow-covered trails. I looked behind myself several times with a spiritual realization that every step I took left another footprint in the freshly fallen snow.

 
Thanksgiving brings homelike atmosphere in strange surroundings PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:33 AM

By Jim Langham

It might have been unfamiliar surroundings in a strange house with very few people I’ve met before, but within 15 minutes, Thanksgiving 2014 seemed like the old fashioned ones at our rural home in Indiana.

Oh, geographically, it was anything but that. It was actually in a townhouse apartment in the close neighborhood on Chicago’s north side, not far from the Swedish neighborhood of Andersonville and just a stone’s throw from Wrigley Field.

 
True Thanksgiving comes without cost or wealth PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:54 AM

By Jim Langham

One of the great sights of 2013 occurred recently when we visited our granddaughter, Kirsten, right after our son purchased a different house. When we arrived, she came running to the door and insisted on giving us a tour.

I’m sure that it’s no surprise to anyone that Grandpa Langham carries his trusted camera with him when he visits with Kirsten. In fact, her understanding of that was clearly demonstrated that night when she took us to her new room. She jumped on the bed, kicking her feet as they dangled, flashed a giant smile and said, “Grandpa, cheese!”

 
The blessing of unexpected apples PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:38 AM

The blessing of unexpected apples

By Jim Langham

What a precious unexpected provisional gift from the Giver of Gifts a few days ago. I was driving down State Line Road north of Dixon and my eyes caught the glimpse of a pile of discarded apples in the field.

Instinctively, based on childhood vibes, I turned around and went back to what we always called a pile of “cut ups” had been discarded in the field.

When I was a child, we salvaged everything; often, I would sit by the kitchen table and cut off bad spots of apples with my grandma as we saved what would often become a great Dutch apple pie or apple crisp. We would core and save the good parts, even if was only a fourth of an apple.

 
The literal world of a child PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 1:35 PM

By Jim Langham

When I was a child, my parents were close friends with several families. About once a month, they would all gather at one of the homes for a Sunday afternoon meal and time of games and fellowship following church.

Since there were several boys about the same age out of that mix, it would be fairly accurate to assume that the fellows would sometimes get into a little mischief, not exactly like Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, but not exactly unlike him either.

I can remember one Sunday afternoon that we all arrived at the same time. While the parents were finishing lunch, several of the boys began playing, “knockout flies.” One of the guys, Brice, was often one of the first to get into trouble, whether he was actually misbehaving or not.

 
'Some day you'll understand' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:59 PM

By Jim Langham

She calls me “Booger,” and laughs the moment I walk into the room.

“Grandpa’s funny,” she said last weekend as we sat in the backseat together on our way to a lunch on Saturday. Of course, we had just broken a rice cake together, our own little special, “breaking of the bread.”

The joy of hearing her say, “I like Grandpa’s food,” was a moment of ecstasy, an epiphany of the heart as three generations of memories converged on my mind at the same time. I recalled how I used to stand beside my Grandpa Langham’s pipe stand in Woodburn and threaten to stick my hand down into it.

“Oh, you don’t want to do that,” he would say. “There’s alligators down there.”

 
'The Sounds of Silence' PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 09, 2013 12:59 PM

'The Sounds of Silence'

By Jim Langham

The tune of the oldie, “The Sounds of Silence,” is playing in the back of my mind as I think about the unexpected gift that continues to grow within as I walk on trails in area reserves and rustic quiet spots.

Especially on Sunday afternoons, the Black Swamp Reserve has become a refuge from the ensuing stresses around me and God’s creatures seem to agree. One evening as I pulled into the parking lot, two beautiful female deer were standing in the parking lot.

Surprisingly, rather than breaking away from me, they stood and eyed me over as though they were greeting me to a balm of quietness in the midst of a busy world.

On that particular evening, wild gold asters lined the path surrounding quiet ponds as a relaxed egret seemingly turned the body of water into its own nature spa.

 
Take me out to the ballgame PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 1:50 PM

By Jim Langham

The first time I have any memories of the Chicago Cubs was inside the barbershop where my dad would take me for a haircut. Barber Punk Pontius in downtown Geneva, Ind. had two glass cabinets sitting on the stand across from the barber chair where I sat on a board to elevate me for a haircut.

One cabinet was full of fancy scissors, razors and other tools utilized in giving an old-fashioned haircut worth a sucker and a nickel to those who wouldn’t squirm while he was giving a Mohawk, butch, flat top or pineapple haircut.

The other cabinet was filled with Chicago Cub memorabilia, autographed baseballs, baseball cards of players from the 20’s and 30’s that had captured Punk’s fancy and programs from games he had attended at Wrigley Field.

 
Oooo.... white bucks PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 2:17 PM

By Jim Langham

Keeping white bucks clean was a challenge during marching band days

I can feel it as though it were yesterday, especially during the hot and sticky days of a few days ago, a wool band uniform, heavy hat, complete with plume, white shirt, tight necktie and the infamous white buck shoes that seemed to attract rain storms and street messes with every stomp of the foot.

Marching in the high school band in the late 1950s and early 1960s was anything but comfortable, especially in summer parades and early fall football games.

 
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