Sunday, July 14th, I killed two birds with one stone, and what a delightful stone that was to toss.
Presidential Bird: I got to visit President William Henry Harrison’s tomb, again.
Love Birds: I was present, and sang with a choir, for the wedding of Alice Kay Hoover & David Lovelace.
The fall of 2004, I decided to borrow something from Bishop Milton Wright who would allow his five children, Wilbur and Orville included, to take one day off from school, now and then, to explore something educational that interested them. So, I piled the three sons, at that time, into the car on a school day (no tests), and we aimed for Southwestern Ohio to visit President Harrison’s tomb, and then on over to Cincinnati to see President William Howard Taft’s birthplace. Of course, I am sure the boys would have protested had they known the Wright children got to select their day-off-from-school activity, but I was the one driving the car.
President Harrison’s family tomb is beautiful, and amazingly impressive for one who served the office for thirty days, most of which were spent battling illnesses. And President Harrison did not die from a cold, the result of giving the longest inaugural address in a freezing rain sans hat and coat as history likes to claim. However, I love this monument to the ninth president, the son of a Declaration of Independence signer, the father of an impressive Ohio politician, and the grandfather of President Benjamin Harrison who was born in North Bend (but Indiana does a fair share of claiming Ben!). This monument represents the pride the people of North Bend had/have for President Harrison and his family. That says a lot!
At 10:30 AM, loved ones, friends, and a nice sized congregation were joined together for an impressive church service that also creatively nestled the wedding vows of Alice Kay & David within. It was a joyful, tender occasion for which I am grateful to have participated, and witnessed. Communion was served curb style service (my personal favorite) as Alice Kay, David and their daughters came to each row to offer the feast. It was very personal, and very touching.
The line-up of presiding clergy was impressive! These four individuals each shared a portion of the worship service and wedding ceremony, and I was so moved by their words, and creative spirits. Alice Kay opened the service, greeting all of us gathered with loving, inviting words, and then retired to the balcony to prepare for the moment she approached the altar with David to be married.
The church was built sometime before 1913, because one of the oldest members of the congregation indicated her parents were married there 100 years ago. Actually, the building is on the site of the Harrison family plantation where President Benjamin Harrison was born. William Henry Harrison was born on Berkley Plantation on the James River in Virginian. I love these buildings that have survived not one, but two transitional fazes: United Brethren, Evangelical United Brethren (1946), and United Methodist (1968). The church in which I grew up transitioned, and North Bend United Methodist reminded me of my beloved old building which burned down after I began college.
The bells of the church pealed loudly, announcing this new communion of hearts. There was much rejoicing, happiness, singing, feasting (traditional Methodist potluck – the best!), and fellowship. Another highlight for me was being seated at a table with four Methodist clergy! I was in hog-heaven! It occurred to me, while seated with these four scholarly individuals, two women and two men (with the pastor-bride, Alice Kay, a few feet away), that I was indeed, my grandfather’s grandson. Grandpa loved nothing more than to talk shop with clergy, especially after the 1968 merger in which he loved helping to work out the little bumps in the road. Unlike Grandpa, I was not holding council, but merely enjoying the conversation of these dynamic leaders of my UMC.
This was an absolutely beautiful morning for me, and I am certain, even more so for Alice Kay & David, and their families. I got to be with friends, celebrate a marriage, participate in a UMC worship, dine with the ordains, and taste some of Ohio’s rich presidential history!
Congratulations, Alice Kay & David, and much, much love to you, both!