I have heard from a number of you about my post last night – remembering Memorial Day as a child with my Dad; and still carrying on the tradition with our own children. It seems that remembering is a common theme for many of us as we grow older, and it never fails to amaze me how many comments I get about my personal stories.
Our daughter Jill wrote a comment today, and shared that she just knew that I would write about the old radio that we listen to the race on. And that since she lives in Oklahoma, she could watch the race, since it is not blacked out there, but she would rather listen to it on the radio – because it brings back memories. And I just heard from Andrew as well – he left a comment also. And earlier today, our oldest daughter Kristin called first thing to see if Andrew and I listened together yesterday. So, you see, some things never change!
The funny thing is, I have never watched the entire live TV broadcast of the race. You would think that I would be a die-hard by now, but that’s not the case. One year, 1967, before ABC broadcast live into homes, you could go to the local movie theatre and buy a seat to watch the race on the big screen. I saved up my money, and was able to go to the M&R Theatres, in Evergreen Park, to watch the race. I was really jazzed. Anyway, as I got to the theatre, and sat in my seat, the race started, and then was rained out in Indy after 18 laps; for the first time since, like, 1940. I was devastated – there had never been a rain shortened race, let alone a race rained out entirely – since before I was born!
At dinner tonight, Janet mentioned that she remembered the day that I went to the theatre to watch the Indy 500. I was the only one she knew who had such a passion for the race and actually had a seat to watch it. Anyway, tickets could not be refunded, and folks were being given entry to the event re-scheduled for the next day. Unfortunately, I had school. In those days, you didn’t get Monday off – so I pouted all day while my ticket went to waste and the race was run without me in attendance. In fact, I couldn’t even listen on the radio, although I did try to sneak a small transistor radio into school with the earpiece running up through my shirt to hide it as much as possible. I was hoping that Parnelli Jones would win for the STP Team, but Foyt took the lead on lap 196 and went on to victory when a $6 part broke on Parnelli’s car.
As you can tell, I was really into the race. And so, after Janet and I were married, and living in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago, in Inverness, IL, I really thought that we would watch the race live when that was possible on ABC. Instead I was offered a position in Indianapolis in 1982 and actually did a distribution event at the 1983 race in Indy. I left as the balloons went up before the command to “start your engines.” I had still not seen it live! And then, when the rest of the country got live “start to finish” coverage – you guessed it – Indy was blacked out, so I didn’t get to see it then either. And to this day, the race is still blacked out here where I live. At this point, it is almost too late – I am used to the radio – and apparently, so are the kids.
And to be truthful, there is something enticing about the radio. The announcers can’t depend on the visual coverage, so their commentary must paint a vivid picture about the action going on. And I still love it. So tonight, it’s a great time to remember the past.
And speaking of remembering, Christ gave us the command to remember as well. At the Last Supper, Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 11″24-25, “and when he had given thanks, he broke it (the bread) and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
And this service of remembrance we have been doing now for more than 2000 years. So my encouragement tonight is to get strength from the past – remembering. And my prayer is that you will create events and traditions in the life of your family that will sustain you and outlive you; because today, we live in a disposable society and traditions are quick to die out. Please don’t let that happen – spend the effort to keep up those things that your family honors. In the end, everyone will appreciate it! Grace and Peace…