Roots in Ripon
4 January 2016
Love of Family
Now that I’ve taken a couple of weeks off from writing Roots in Ripon, and with a New Year upon us, it’s time to get back to my weekly column. As you already know, or have surmised, my column, Roots in Ripon, is no longer being carried in the Ripon Record because the newspaper has closed shop.
The timing was excellent since my reprise from writing came just before Christmas. It allowed me to focus on spending lots of time with family. It began with my brother, John, flying out to spend time with the West Coast Roots clan. He was here about ten days, so, with very cooperative weather, we managed to spend a lot of time on the golf course. Truth be told, we are both “golf junkies.” We played at my home course, Spring Creek, but we also were invited by our friend, Hank Harris, to play at his course in Turlock. We also got a round in at Ruby Hill which was recommended by the pro at Spring Creek. But the best round of the time John was here was the day he was flying home, leaving from San Jose. We made reservations at Wente Vineyards golf course in Livermore. Perfectly clear sunny day! The course was in terrific shape and we had a blast. We ended our time there by having dinner at the Wente Vineyards Restaurant.
Golf aside, we enjoyed numerous gatherings with our girls and their families while John was here. We were all in a festive mood, having celebrated granddaughter Alyssa’s 8th birthday on Thanksgiving with all the family gathered in our home, followed by Isaura’s birthday on December 6, and then John’s 72nd birthday on December 13th.
Alyssa has been taking piano lessons for the past couple of years from Barbara Mohler. So to our surprise, our precocious little pianist had the hutzpah to ask the pastor is she could play Silent Night in the Christmas Eve service. He readily agreed.
The church was full that night for the Christmas Eve service. Our aspiring piano prodigy seemed quite relaxed during the evening’s service. I was wondering if she’d get too nervous and bail out. I glanced over at her several times, but I saw nothing to cause me concern. The service had her playing Silent Night as the last song of the service which included the congregation participating in a candlelight ceremony singing all three verses.
Alyssa sat on the piano bench and waited as the pastor finished his remarks about lighting the candles. Then she began playing without missing a note with robust voices from the congregation accompanying her. The candles were being lit throughout and then everyone stood to sing the final verse, but Alyssa never missed a beat or a note. You have no doubt figured out that I’m very proud of her.
The best part in all of this is a note I discovered hanging from our refrigerator last week after Christmas. It was written on a sheet of paper from those note pads folks keep in their kitchens by the phone. The handwriting was clearly Alyssa’s. This is what it said: “Hello! My name is Alyssa! I love my family.”
Well now, I’m an admitted softy – a veritable sentimentalist, if you will. That’s just my temperament. I teared up right away when I read this note, which then causes my throat to swell so that speech is impossible. There is no gift under heaven that could even begin to match this note, especially at Christmas time.
Once again I am learning what it means to be blessed. I am surrounded by people who mean the world to me, whom I love intensely, and who love me in return. Such love enables me to better understand God’s love for me as it was gloriously demonstrated through his Son, Jesus. And for that I am eternally grateful.
Thank you, Lord. You have blessed me beyond measure.