Cast your mind's eye back, if you will. Nope, not far enough. Back to the span between the fall of 1965 and the spring of 1972. Are you back there?
Now, let that same mind's eye wander into a prosperous paper mill town on the banks of the Wisconsin River in Central Wisconsin. Are you with me?
Now, find a tiny church located on the south east outskirts of that town. Shhhhhh, service is in progress, so just crack the door open and peer inside.
Let your gaze travel up to the second or third pew from the front. There, did you find it? You'll know the one - - - it will have a tiny lady sitting at one end of it and stair-stepped down the pew beside her will be anywhere from five to eight children.
You will notice that the little lady APPEARS to be quite feeble. In fact, when she gets up to move to the piano to play, you will see that she is decidedly crippled in all her joints with what appears to be rheumatoid arthritis. Oh, but do NOT let her appearance deceive you. She only appears to be feeble. She has an iron will which is presiding over her "brood of chicks."
Two of the chicks are her own. She has carefully "pecked" them into proper church behavior mode and now they are commissioned to assist her in keeping order in the pew, though they aren't much older than the other chicks.
The rest of the chicks in the pew, four to six of them depending on the Sunday, are siblings all from the same "coop." They were picked up and brought to the tiny church by the mama hen and her "rooster" who just happens to be the pastor of the tiny church.
They all came to church packed into the same car - - - sans seat belts, which were then a relatively new and often unused invention. Besides, with anywhere from 6 - 11 "chickens" in one two-seater car, and only 4 seat belts - - - well, you do the math.
Little did ANY of them realize at the time the impact they were having upon each other.
Sister Pam and I were two of those chicks of yore, and the rooster and mama hen were our parents. The sibling chicks from the same "coop" were Dan, Connie, Debbie, Mary, Timmy, and Jeffy. (Oh, I bet Timmy and Jeffy would not be too pleased in their "adultage" to hear me call them by those childhood pet names.) There were two other "sibling chicks," Larry and Lynn, but by this time they had grown up enough to "fly the coop" and therefore do not figure into this particular tale.
And now, if you will, let your mind's eye come back to the present, back to that same paper mill, though now much less prosperous - - - outsourcing you know - - - town on the Wisconsin River in Central Wisconsin. Find that same congregation, meeting now in a larger church building near the center of that town.
Go ahead, come right in - - - service is over now - - - you may make all the noise you want. In the foyer you will find three of those chicks of yore. Yes, that's right! They are together again now, attending that church sans mama hen. Evey Sunday when I see them I am reminded of how blessed I am.
Connie, Keetha, and Mary. Connie and Mary are two of the sibling chicks all grown up, and I of course am one of the two "assistant mama-hen" chicks.
Mary won't be very happy with me for putting THIS particular picture in the post - - - she voted it "banned." But how could I NOT include it when the fun and spontaneity is so clearly captured on all our faces???
Oh girls, how HAPPY I am to be reunited with you.
Wait - - - I think I hear a song - - - "reunited and it feels so good - - -"
And girls, I'm soooooo glad you seem to have forgiven and still love this little "chick" despite all the "pecks" she used to give you on your knees, at the bidding of mama hen of course, all those years ago.