In recent years I had already researched my ancestors, Lyons and Morgans. But like other subjects always learned something new about them. I know I carry tales of those who have gone before me. Many are searching for their roots, shaking the family tree. We all have kissing cousins and black sheep in our past. There are witnesses in the cloud, and so I begin a new research to recall their stories and reach for those memories and the echoes their spirits in that place beyond the veil of living. Technology has created new ways to find our ancestors. Such sites as Ancestry.com or My Heritage opens many doors to the lives of those who passed beyond. Some may call this “ancestor worship” or a technological fix for the problem of identity confusion. Wrong on both counts. Our eyes are focused on them, not ourselves. In a real way they live on in us, and often direct our paths. With the help of findagrave.com I can visit distant gravesites and pay my respects. I begin with the remarkable Lyons, the controversial congressman from Vermont, Matthew Lyon, and the fiery evangelist, my grandfather, Milford Hall Lyon. Stay tuned.
I SURRENDER! I tried to do a brief report of the three Morgan brothers, but found it was almost impossible. Years ago the Charlotte Observer did an article on us, but that is buried in some file. We call ourselves “the three monkeys.” John, the youngest sees no evil; Howard, middle brother hears no evil. and, Richard, the oldest speaks no evil, We all are PKs, and grew up in the shadow of Tabernacle Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. I will be brief and mention a few matters of life after retirement. John, who lives in Reading Pa., teaches Philosophy and Ethics at Albright College where he found his niche in teaching students. Poet and author, he is working on four new books. Howard, who lives in Chicago was former chairman of Chicago Theological Seminary,, former chairman of the Chicago Zoo, and recently retied as Chairman of Interfaith Youth Core. He is active in many benevolent causes in the city. Richard, who lives outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. has written six books since his second retirement in 2003. He is an active advocate in pastoral care for persons with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, and their caregivers The brothers have written two books, In The Shadow of Grace, and Dear Brothers: Letters Facing Death. Last, but not least, between them they have 37 grandchildren!
One of my favorite writers is Frederick Buechner. In his novel, Treasure Hunt, he tells the story of Antonio Parr. On his return home Antonio finds that his small son and some other children have a sign for him that reads WELCONE HOME, with the last line of the M in home missing, so that it turns into an N. Buechner wisely says that there is always something missing from our homes. If you look at the enclosed photo of the Morgan children from 1937, there is SOMEONE missing. It is our youngest brother John Crossley, who never saw the light of day until April 2, 1941, one day after April Fools Day. Both of our sisters, Patricia nd Mary Ann have left us. I assure you that John is not “the lost child,” nor has he ever been “missing in action.” John has been a journalist and is the family philosopher and poet. He teaches Philosophy and Ethics at Oberlin College. He and I co-authored, The Psychology of Death and Dying, and along with our middle brother, Howard, published two other books, In The Shadow of Grace and Dear Brothers: Letters Facing Death. In the latter book, we openly express our views about death and the life beyond. Although our views are different, we accept each other’s view. My two favorite of John’s books are Thin Places and The Teacher, the Student. and the Great Questions of Life. His books are available at Wipf and Stock. He writes a profound, creative blog, accessed at Everyday Count His blogs are worth reading as he writes about religious, political and social issues of the day. We share much in common, and have walked the same roads in our journey of life. I view John more than a blood brother, but as an cara, a soul friend, someone I dearly love and admire. This is Part I of three Brothers. Part II is about the three Morgan brothers, and will include a photo where John is not missing!!!!
After the Cubs defeated my Pirates and knocked a team with 98 season wins out of the playoffs, I was deflated, depressed, and despondent. But, thanks to passionate Cubs fan, brother Howard, I recovered and now pull for the Cubs to win the World Series! First, they must dispatch the amazing Mets. It will be young power pitching vs. young power hitting. The winner is up for grabs. Don’t underestimate the skills of the managers, cagey Joe Maddon. and white-haired Terry Collins. Maddon was magnificent in beating the 102 season wins, Cardinals. In the clincher, he used no less than 8 pitchers!! No less amazing was Terry Collins, managing his young pitching phenoms to send the Dodgers home. The Cubs have the edge in power hitting with their awesome array of young bats+Rizzo. But the Mets have a slight edge on the mound with 3 fire ballers, Noah, Jakob and the Dark Knight. The Cubs have Jake and Lester, but who knows who the #3 starter will be. It is the match up of the year. Two teams from big market cities, both starved for a shot at all the marbles. In the meantime, older brother, Richard waits to see if the Pirates make the right moves to get back to the playoffs. While younger brother. John, patiently waits for 2017, when his Phillies regain a measure of success. My prediction: Cubs in 7! LET THE GAMES BEGIN.
October is here. It reminds me of big events. My son, Rick, was born on 10/10 and just celebrated his 60th birthday! My father, Howard Moody Morgan was born on October 20, 1901 and died October 17, 1979. For Pittsburgh baseball fans buctober became bucsover and I became fan of the Cubs, hoping they make it to the World Series. Who could forget that dark day, October 28, 1929 when the stock market crashed. I was 7 months old, so I have no memory of that! It was October 1, 1777, when the Colonials under Gates and Daniel Morgan defeated Johnny Burgoyne and the British at Saratoga. It was October, 1992 when I was still trying to recover from surgery, the most difficult time of my life. As I face yet another Fall season, as the leaves begin to fall, and days and nights bring a chill , a touch of Autumn in the air. I find myself blessed by so much. I am grateful for ten grandchildren, scattered across 7 States! Five are in college, one in high school, and four are in the world of work. All are doing well. SURSUM CORDA
Dickens wrote in “Tale of Two Cities,” It was the best of times; it was the worst of times; it was the season of Light, It was the season of Darkness” . . .It was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Recently, I witnessed two deaths, one of darkness and despair, the other of light and hope. A friend told me, “I have signed the Five Wishes and want no feeding tube or any other life support. I am 96 years old, and I and want to go to heaven when the time comes. This is my wish.” When she suffered a severe stroke and was near death, her daughters did not comply with her request. They kept her on a feeding tube for 14 months, with no apparent quality of life. When asked why she did this, one daughter replied, “I want Mother to live to be 100.” Finally my friend died. My other friend made the courageous decision not to have kidney dialysis, and said she was ready to die. She had made all plans for her dying and funeral. Her many family members came to see her, and say their goodbyes. The hospice chaplain visited and played music while family and friends sang. At my last visit, shortly before she died, she told me, “I am 90 years old , and have lived a full life, and O am ready for my last journey.” Her family had been singing Christmas carols by her bedside, and when the words of Silent Night, “All is calm, all is bright,” softly beamed across the room, my friend died. It was a peaceful, grace-filled death. Two deaths. Even a blind man could see the difference.
It has been a turbulent day. More innocent victims of uncontrolled gun laws. Words need to be converted into deeds to prevent such senseless crimes. Russia stirring up a crisis in Syria. One can almost forget the benevolent presence of Pope Francis. It seems ironic that millions flock to see this image of Christ, but few have the courage to oppose the NRA and practice what Jesus said, as men of force arrested him in the Garden, ” No more of this .Put up your sword.” Yet the benign presence of the Pope lingers. Dan Simpson said it well,,” The reason the pope got to me was, “‘He took us to larger emotions and larger issues, away from the petty, squalid, corrupt, or even murderous concerns that normally preoccupy us in the daily diet fed us by our media.” Pope Francis spoke prophetic words to those concerned about the welfare of the elderly. He said, “To change the world we must be good to those who cannot repay us”and again, “Homes for the elderly should be sanctuaries where those who are old and weak are cared for and taken care of like a brother or sister.” “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.”