Early this week, on June 21st, at 6:34 p.m. E.D.T., we witnessed the official arrival of summer. And for the first time since 1967, the full moon of June happened to occur on the same night as the summer solstice. Thus, the timing of two events coincided and that only happens once or so in a generation. In fact, the next time we can expect a full moon to occur on the summer solstice will be in 2062. But the strawberry moon, contrary to popular belief, comes every year. It is the nickname of the full moon that occurs during the of June. And although it is true that the moon looks somewhat pink or red during the full moon phase, legend has it that the name “strawberry moon” was given by Indians as this was the time of year that strawberries were at the height of their harvest.
On another front, yesterday was Kristin’s birthday. For those of you who don’t know about her, she is our oldest daughter and I couldn’t help but think of some of her favorite gifts throughout her early years and sure enough, I remember the year we got her a Strawberry Shortcake doll with all the trimmings. She was thrilled. Now that was many years ago and we don’t get off so easy any more – today her gifts have more notable names that confirm the fact that she doesn’t have inexpensive taste! Some would say that she takes after her father! But it brought back great memories to remember her playing with Strawberry Shortcake and all her friends – and Kristin’s boys had never heard about some of our daughter’s prized toys.
But there is a third strawberry story to tell this evening as well. Back when Janet and I were dating in Chicago during the summer of 1972, we used to play quite a bit of tennis at the Beverly Racquet Club. This was a tennis club on a residential street that had a small clubhouse and four clay tennis courts. I took lessons there, as did Janet, when we were youngsters and continued to play tennis there even after we were married.
Well, one particularly hot evening, near the end of June, 1972, we were watching a match on the court and decided to make an ice cream run to the Baskin Robbins down the street. Strawberry had always been my favorite flavor – until this particular visit. To my amazement, a new flavor, Strawberry Shortcake, was available and I had to try it. It instantly became my favorite flavor and to be sure, that same evening Janet and I made two additional runs to Baskin Robbins 31 flavors to satisfy my craving for this new offering.
Unfortunately, at the end of the month the flavor was rotated out and I have not seen it again – not for 44 years. Periodically, I would call to check and see if the flavor was current but I have never been rewarded with my calls. However, I am ecstatic to report that all changed yesterday. As I was thinking about Kristin and her birthdays, it occurred to me that Janet and I haven’t tasted that great ice cream the entire time that Kristin has been on this earth!
So, answering a strong urge to dial the local store here in Carmel, I was amazed to learn that for some unknown reason, they had just received a container of Strawberry Shortcake only two days before. It had just been checked in and I rushed right over to check it out. Sure enough, it was the same flavor from that hot night in 1972 – and so I purchased the container right there on the spot. To this moment I don’t know why I had such a strong inkling that I should call the store – on Kristin’s birthday, no less. And imagine my surprise when after an absence of 44 years, my favorite ice cream just happened to be safely stored just 10 minutes from home. It was almost too much to fathom.
After Kristin’s birthday dinner, complete with singing and a wonderful cake, she also had a scoop of Strawberry Shortcake, for the first time in her life! And I told stories of the day that Kristin was born and how she has changed our lives in so many ways for so many years. Now, our grandsons have heard more stories about the history of the family – something that I try to do whenever I can. After all, passing these stories down from generation to generation is an important part of the legacy of the family.
The Bible is quite clear about making sure that stories and events are shared and passed down to the younger generations. Our verse for the evening affirms God’s desire for us from one of the first books of the Bible. We are told, in Deuteronomy 32:7, “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you.”
This is great advice for our younger generations. They are to be curious about the history of the family and interested in stories about the past. Just as we learned the family history from our parents and grandparents, so we are to pass it down. My encouragement this evening is that God is constant and steadfast. Part of our responsibility is to make sure that younger generations know that God is real and alive and trustworthy. My prayer tonight is that you will be a witness to the goodness of God and His Son – and that you will carry out the responsibility to educate others on the faithfulness of God – as He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow – forever. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…