We safely made the move from Arizona to Sparta, Illinois. We arrived last Thursday to about 20 people who helped us unload, followed by a pot luck. The next day we attended a funeral that was followed by a pot luck. We then had our first services that Sunday, and you guessed it, followed by a pot luck. If the cooking is any indication of the health of the congregation then this is one healthy congregation. Trying to not appear as a glutton became a daily cross I was bearing since we have come to Sparta.
We are getting to know people and our daughter, Audra, has been propositioned for marriage several times since arriving by the younger and older men who have spotted her walking around town. We met the local music dealer who sold us an amp so Joan can resume her music that she has not touched for the last two years. All the utilities have been put in our name and we have internet service now. We discovered the local park and were able to play a little basketball while the young men of the town played at the other end. I had to keep reminding myself that I am 53 and probably would just hurt myself if I tried to join them, yet the pull was real and even as I write this I would like to try and mix it up a bit.
We went for a walk last night with some folks from church. During that walk I experience one of the greatest disappointments of my life. I have been really building up small town living in my mind. One of the joys of my life has been when I have been able to walk down a street verses being confined to the sidewalk. I know it might be connected to a youthful rebellious streak that still haunts me, but none the less I have been enjoying walking down the street to the church for prayer each morning and our evening walks. So here we were walking with Cory and Ebony, their children and Cory’s sister April and I insisting that we walk down the street. Cory hesitated, but joined in. We passed the house that Pastor Harry Hills use to live in along with several other houses that housed the illustrious names of the pastors that have preceded me. This church goes back over 30 years so it has a history with our young fellowship. That is when it happened. A car pulled up in front of us responding to a domestic quarrel in the house as we passed by walking down the street. Although preoccupied, the officer took the time to inform us that there was a city ordinance against walking in the street. We moved onto the sidewalk. Corry let me know that that is why he hesitated to walk in the street. He explained that the officer was a new officer and that normally they don’t enforce the rule but Sparta is busting out with young people that have nothing to do and they sometimes walk down the streets intimidating people.
Well so much for my personal tragedy. I keep seeing the picture of Andy of Mayberry walking down the street with his son, I guess it’s a road leading to the lake; maybe the whole walking around a small town was just an illusion of my mind. Am I accountable to stay on the sidewalks now?