'F' as in Frank

An Easter to remember

Even now, well into my 40s, I still have fond memories of Easter Sundays from my childhood.

There were baskets filled with candy, dressing up in new clothes and my mom taking my sister and me to a Christian church my grandparents attended near our home in Xenia, Ohio.

There was one Easter Sunday when it snowed, putting a halt to the church's egg hunt that day.

Then there was the food: ham, grandma's potato salad, as well as my mom's sweet potatoes and cherry cheesecake.

But there's one Easter Sunday that was truly an Easter to remember.

It was Easter Sunday, 1968.

We kids had the clothes and the candy. But my dad had a raging hangover and would have declined our once-a-year trip to church, except that he promised my mom he would go with us.

So we went to this little church, all four of us as a family. It was packed. It was Easter, after all, so my parents had to sit behind us kids.

The minister preached a sermon. I was eight, so I don't much remember what it was about. But I vividly remember what happened next.

Whatever the preacher preached, it connected with my dad, who immediately went forward when the invitation song was offered.

Like one of those conversions you read about in the book of Acts, my dad turned his life to Jesus and was baptized that same day.

He was a different man when he came up out of that water. He left behind the drinking and not long after that the smoking. His decision to stop smoking will have to wait for another column.

Anyway, instead of going to church once a year, we went every week. Often more than once a week.

It was a decision that changed all of our lives in the family as all of us eventually decided to follow Christ. My dad went into the ministry, which ended up bringing us out to the Northwest.

Years later, I met my future wife, Joni, during a college retreat on Whidbey Island. Turns out she was born that Easter Sunday in 1968. The same day my dad was spiritually born again.

I don't know if you're planning to attend church services in the Lower Valley this Easter Sunday. But if you're not, or sitting on the fence about it, give it a try.

Who knows, it just might be your Easter to remember.


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