Peggy and I met in youth choir at church. Even though we went to the same high school, I was a year older and we were in different activities.
When I say “youth choir” it probably evokes an image in your mind. That image in your head is wholly insufficient to understand what I am talking about.
I was fifteen when I moved to the Dallas area, and I attended the Methodist church in the town where I went to school. It was a nice-sized church with plenty of activities and opportunities. I sang with the choir there which had about forty members.
At Christmas, a close friend from school invited me to the Christmas Concert at his Baptist church. The first group that sang had about 100 members, but they looked very young to me. When I looked at the program I discovered this was the Junior High choir. After they sang, the youth choir came on stage with about 150 members. I was blown away by two things — the sound that came out of that group and how good the girls looked! We had a few good-looking girls at the Methodist church, but, man…
When we came back to school after Christmas I joined the youth choir at the Baptist church.
Every summer the choir went on a choir tour and then every other summer the choir tour was combined with a mission trip. My first year we did a choir tour through the southeast with about 125 singers. The next summer was a mission trip summer, so when we traveled in 1980 we had more than 200 people on the trip with us. For seventeen days. Driving from Dallas to New York and back. Three charter buses and four 15-passenger vans full of people as well as equipment trucks and other vehicles. It was quite an amazing sight when we would roll up to a church where we were singing and see the looks on the faces of the church members there to greet us.
This is the trip when Peggy and I got to know each other and after which we began dating. I was seventeen and she was sixteen. We have spent the rest of our lives together since that incredible start.
So, think of this happening over a span of fifteen or so years. The youth choir fluctuated between 100 and 175 people as different classes graduated and moved on, but the tours continued uninterrupted.
Last night Peggy and I attended a reunion of the people that went on those trips in the 70s and 80s. We had such a great time seeing friends we have not gotten to see nearly often enough since we left Dallas almost twenty years ago. Getting back together made it seem as though no time had passed — at least until we look at the pictures!
What an incredible gift it was to be part of these events as we were growing up! And how do you ever thank the adults that gave up their vacation time to go along and make it possible for us to go? Seventeen days in a bus with a bunch of teenagers? For vacation?! It was an amazing sacrifice that I never fully appreciated when we were kids. I hope I was able to adequately convey my appreciation last night to the ones who are still with us and were in attendance.
I know that we will never see some of these people again — we even lost one of the organizers of the event during the preparations. It is just a reality of getting older. But we got to see so many last night and relive some wonderful memories. We will relive them again today on the four-hour drive back home to Katy.
Such a privilege…