This morning I went to a local nursing home/ assisted living facility in order to distribute communion to some of the residents there, some of whom are members of our parish and others who are Episcopalians and friends of Episcopalians from else where. The service itself was great fun, I’ve always enjoyed interacting and talking with older people–especially those in care facilities because they seem to appreciate the conversation so much. As I was getting ready to leave, I met an elderly gentleman who had overheard me mention my hometown to another resident. This sparked a conversation that eventually led us to conclude that Anna and I are actually living in the same home where he and his family lived for 12 years. There had been one owner and at least two occupants between us, so some things had certainly changed, but we had fun describing certain characteristics and quirks to one another as we determined that this was in fact the same house. As our conversation continued I gained a glimpse of a past that had heretofore been shrouded in mystery and time. I shared memories with this man–many good, one tragic–about the house I now call home with my wife, and it was a joy.
And, as if this experience wasn’t enough in itself, Anna and I had an appointment with an accountant (I’m discovering the joys of clergy taxes) during which we discovered that he knew exactly where we lived, referring to it as “the old ____ place” using the name of the man I only met this morning. It turns out that our accountant used to play in the yard of our house with the children of the elderly man I met at the assisted living center. As we left the accountant’s office Anna made the comment that she thought she’d just been sold on the benefits of small town living…I think I’ve been too–how many places have such memories? What have we lost with them?