Pastor Henry's Memo

February 2020

Leap Saturday

This is the year we add a day to the calendar.  Leap Year means 29 days in February.  Adding the day has to do with the earth's orbit around the sun and keeping in sync with astronomical time.  Our planet is just a very tiny bit slow with a 365 day year.  Way smarter people than me have determined the need to add a day every four years to make up for the earth being that tiny bit slow.  This calculation is a tad more intricate than simply adding an extra day every four years. But this manipulation keeps the vernal equinox on or very close to March 21st which is, as they say, good enough for government work.  At least that will keep the seasons regular.  Now, for the big question: what will you do with your extra day?  How will you spend that gift of 24 hours?  Take an extra long nap?   Spend time with grand children?  Go fishing or to the movies?  Just imagine how 24 extra hours could be used.  This year the 29th falls on a Saturday.  Perhaps we could "remember the Sabbath to keep it holy."  However you determine to spend your Leap Saturday, remember who makes all time and orders the seasons and keeps watch upon us all in every day we live.  Just remember, you won't get another chance to live an extra day for another four years.

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Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison was a genius.  His inventions changed the 20th Century.  Did I say he was a genius.  Well, he was.  He was granted 1093 U.S. patents in his lifetime.  Famous for the incandescent light bulb, he was also the inventor of the dictaphone, relay magnets, the kenetiscope, and the electrographic vote-recorder.  That last item could have been put to good use in Iowa last month.  In 1878 Edison also invented the phonograph; a way for reproducing and projecting sound.  What a boon for the Columbia Record Company.  My brother and I took some of our hard earned money from passing newspapers and became subscribers to that company.  Our dad approved, with reservations.  We could only order two records a month; which fulfilled our obligation to Columbia.  The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, The Mamas & The Papas...  Oh, I forgot, the sales pitch for subscribing for at least a year was a "free phonograph."  Battery operated with an adapter for a wall plug.  It was red and came in its own case.  We could take it to parties.  I remember going to sleep with my mom's record of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" playing over and over and over.  Thank goodness for the wall plug in.  Now, that red phonograph has long been trashed.  The LPs of our favorite groups are long gone.  I don't even have a phonograph anymore.  We've moved on to cassette tapes and 8 tracks and MP3s and now our phones.  By the way, Edison was granted multiple patents for improvements to Alexander Graham Bell's telephone.  While the method we use to listen to our music has changed over a century and a half, the pleasure of listening to music never ends.  Whether it's Chopin, Caruso, Gershwin, or Mama Cass or Beyonce or Taylor Swift or Johnny Cash, our music marks us and enlivens us and reminds us we're creatures who share the pleasure of listening.  Would we did more of that than the screaming and criticizing and threatening that seems to fill our TV news.  Thank you, Thomas Edison.

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Uncle Charlie

Every birth comes with a name or two or three.  One of the joys parents have is giving their newborn a name.  Will it be a family name from generations past or brand new never before used?  It seems the trend of late is to make up a name so it is unlike any other.  Spellings and hyphens and even numbers are being added to names.  David Charles Henry. Three first names.  I can't tell you how often I've heard that when giving my name for some document.  My middle name was not my favorite name.  David was strong and not in either the Henry or Polovitch family tree.  Charles was my uncle's name.  He was my mother's brother.  When she left home at twelve to live in town so as to finish school my grandfather told her she needn't ever come back to the farm.  And she didn't.  It was her brother Charles who bought her a bicycle so she could get around.  Mom finished high school, spent a year in San Diego with her sister Kate welding on Liberty Ships, and in 1942, enrolled at the Brooklyn School of Nursing.  Upon graduating in 1946 she was a Registered Nurse.  Uncle Charles  came out to Indiana in 1950 to walk her down the aisle at her wedding because Grandpa and she never reconciled.  I was blessed with his name.  Charles Polovitch was a United States Marine and he fought in the South Pacific during World War II.  He was stationed on Tinian Island in the Northern Marianas.  He was among the US Marines who guarded the ENOLA GAY as it was prepared to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.  Uncle Charlie came home from the war and took up farming and raised a family in Nicholson, PA.  He couldn't talk about where he was stationed or what he did but word got out.  One of the Nicholson hometown boys was on Tinian.  One of the hometown Nicholson boys kept watch on the most famous air plane in the US arsenal.  And when the town folk confirmed this, they named the road that ran past his farm "The Polovitch Road."  Such is a name.  Such was their decision to honor his service.  I'm proud to bear his name into the 21st Century.  Uncle Charlie's middle name was Basil, after the saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church.  David Basil Henry.  Doesn't have quite the same ring.  Thanks Mom for Charles.

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Thanks for the Lesson, Dad!

New responsibilities come to us upon reaching a certain level of maturity.  They are unavoidable as we move from being children to youth to adults.  One such adult responsibility is paying one's bills.  I remember watching my dad take out his checkbook every Friday after dinner, gather the family's bills, and write checks.  He'd have the bank deposit slip where he could see it and off he'd go.  Some bills were paid in full, like the utilities.  Others were not, like the Sears charge card or the Shell gas card. The mortgage payment was paid monthly with a coupon and was paid on time without fail.  As I watched my dad do this week after week after week, I knew it was a very important task.  When finished, Mom and Dad would talk about what money was then available for food and other living expenses for the coming week.  It was some time before I realized the lesson my dad was silently teaching week after week after week.  He was demonstrating what an adult does when being responsible for a family; how to be a husband and a father.  His employment fed us and housed us and clothed us.  He took seriously the obligation to keep us safe.  You might not realize it, but that recurring task is one of the ways we help stabilize the culture.  Each person and each family taking responsibility for their debts and being trustworthy over weeks and months and years seeing to it they are paid to whom they are due.  When I moved out of the house just before my 21st birthday and found myself looking at a bank deposit slip and a stack of bills and my checkbook.  That's when I knew I'd become an adult. Thanks for the lesson, Dad.

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