Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Song Of Memory

I'm not emotional but I am sentimental. I love old schools and I love old school songs. This is from November 6, 2011.
Several weeks ago, I found myself singing the Georgia Christian School alma mater. I don't know why it popped into my head but I found myself becoming misty eyed. Although I'm not an alumnus, Georgia Christian was my first teaching and coaching job right out of college and the good folks there took me in. The words went like this:

In the heart of southern Georgia
'Neath the sun's warm glow
Lies the home of Georgia Christian
Finest place we know.

May we cherish thy traditions
Hold the banner high,

Ever guard thy name with fervor
Live to do or die.

Tho' we leave thy walls forever
Many miles go hence,
May our love for Georgia Christian
Only have commenced.

Repeat chorus

I've heard the same tune in other schools' alma maters but it isn't the music as much as the words. I guess what hit me was the return mentally to a time when I didn't know anything but I thought I did. I had no clue about the mistakes I would make or the opportunities I would squander. My salary was probably only 1/4 of what it is now but I doubt I was worth even that. That song reminds me of all the kids I taught and coached who aren't kids anymore. It reminds me of games and trips and classroom discussions and situations and growing; of building a baseball field and lifelong friendships, maintained even without being in the presence of those same friends. In short, that short song is a map to the past.

Two of the most beautiful songs I know are alma maters which coincidentally are two of the first songs I remember learning. One is the Harding College (now University) alma mater. I recall my parents singing it when I was little, even the second verse which I think few know anymore. The other was the York College alma mater which I began hearing when Dad started taking Dave and me to YC basketball games when I was four. Interestingly, I graduated from both institutions and as a bit of trivia (in case you are ever on Jeopardy!), both Harding's and York's alma maters conclude with the same word: Hail! I'm not sure why schools have alma maters but it must have something to do with memories tied into tradition and history. Maybe that's why this time of the year is so important in our culture with the emphasis, once we get past the commercialism, on family. I like the same songs and traditions and food and places that I did when I was a small child. The Lord gave us the gift of memory which can be a blessing or a curse, based on our choice of its usage. My memories focus on my parents more from November through New Years than at any other time of the year. They taught me to love those schools and those songs and most importantly, the God those schools and their anthems are founded upon. I wish I could tell you I learned that alma mater means nourishing mother while in Latin class at York High School but that would not quite be the case. It wasn't Mrs. Nettleton's fault, though; I just wasn't grown up enough to know the meaning of nostalgia. That comes with age.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Everybody needs his memories.  They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door." 
Saul Bellow

Beautiful rendition of Harding's Alma Mater

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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