Comment from Ken – Our walk does not talk about Valentine’s Day, but I hope you have a wonderful valentine in your life as I have Dale in mine.
Good morning. I am so pleased you are going to walk with me today. Last week we talked about my ordination, but I had promised the week before that we would continue the story of horses in my family. My Grandfather Boyle owned several horses on his farm in Barrington, New Hampshire, but my grandfather William Hill possessed several teams of horses for he owned a delivery service at Faneuil Hall Market in Boston.
Before we begin our walk, I want to share with you a couple of pictures that pertain to my Grandfather Hill. The first is a picture of Faneuil Hall that was taken around the eighteen nineties. It could be that one of those wagons in the picture belonged to my grandfather.
He would leave for the market at the dawn and would not return home until around eight o’clock in the evening. After a day of lifting barrels of flour and other grocery sacks, he would come home exhausted. My mother told me that when he came home he would head for his favorite chair – a Morris chair – and would ask not to be bothered for a time (maybe up to an hour). Then he would arise and assume his loving responsibilities as a father and a husband. My mom adored her father.
However, Will Hill (that is what they called him) was not to live a long life. He passed away with cancer in his early forties. My mother was only nine years old when her father died, and she had few memories of him. One of those memories was about Tufts University. They lived on Bromfield Street in Medford, Massachusetts at the bottom of the hill leading up to Tufts. One day, my grandfather told my mother that one day she would attend that college. My mom never continued school beyond the eighth grade. The business my grandfather had built went bankrupt, and all of the family had to go to work. My mother stayed home and took care of the house and my Aunt Grace while her mother and other sisters and brother went to work in Boston.
Many years ago, I worked on the genealogy of our family and presented my mother and father with a family Bible. I had located some items that had a history to my family. One of those items I found I really treasure. It is my grandfather’s desk that he had in his office in the market place.
A second cousin, called Uncle Alan told me about the desk. He had it in his barn in New Hampshire, and it was in pieces. He showed it to me, and I had the courage to ask him if someday I might inherit that desk. Much to my surprise when he passed away, I received a call hat I should come to Rumney, New Hampshire where he lived to pick up the desk. Much of it was in pieces.
I brought the desk home and found old pieces of a like wood in the cellar of our Victorian home, and I rebuilt that desk. Here is a picture of it. It is the only item in the family that I know of that was my Grandfather Hill’s. I understand that my grandfather also had a couple of racehorses along with his workhorses.
So why should it be a surprise that my son Bradford loved horses. As he matured, horses became such an important part of his life. When he was in college in North Adams or was home near Boston, he would find horses he could befriend. He took riding lessons and unlike his uncle, my brother Bill, I do not believe he ever skipped school to go horseback riding.
Again, I know so little about horses, but I know a horse reared up and broke off Brad’s two front teeth. The horse did not have on a martingale. I know nothing of that. Bradford had to have two new front teeth; they could not be saved.
An apocryphal story about Brad is that he had to have his wisdom teeth removed. When he met the dental surgeon, he warned Brad about the difficulty in removing those teeth. Bradford looked at the dentist and said that he was not worried that after all his dentist had to be better at removing teeth than a horse. He also upset with the dentist when he warned Brad that a patient with general anesthesia could have complications. His dentist was a little shocked when Brad replied to him that he believed in heaven so whatever happened to him was ok.
I have a wonderful picture of Brad holding a horse’s head on his shoulder with his hand patting the horse’s face. I do not have that picture here today so I will just repeat the picture of the horse that dwells near me whose name I do not know.
Years ago when I had a radio program on WARA in Attleboro called “A Walk To Woodside Chapel”, I had sound effects as we walked over a covered bridge; you would hear our footsteps. We might greet Winifred the cow and you would hear her moo, or Charles the Canadian goose who would honk at you. Pictures are going to have to suffice for us on our walk, and I hope to use more and more as time goes on. You may see the unnamed horse on our walks, and most often, you will see Molly our adored dog. We did not know we could become so attached to a dog, but we are a changed couple. Molly loves to sit and just watch, as a herding type of dog should do. Here she is yesterday looking out the window of my study up to the hill behind our home. I just love that picture.
Have you forgotten your religious message, Rev Ken? No this walk is about family members and Jesus and the Jewish people who were and are so supportive of family members. If you have never delved into genealogy perhaps you should think about it. My niece Tarah is an avid genealogist, and our family history is going to grow as time passes on. I hope she will do all the research and that I can fill in stories as they were told to me over the years.
If you wish a scripture lesson this week, perhaps you would like to look at the genealogy of Jesus Our Savior. There are two of them: Matthew, Chapter 3 verses 23 through 38. This list of Jesus’s ancestors falls right after He is baptized. The other genealogy is Matthew 1: 1 – 23. It may seem to be just a list of names but it is more than that – it is the history of Jesus’ family.
Do you have stories of your family members? Perhaps you should sit and write down some of those memories for those who follow you.
Prayer: O God, we recall this day memories of our families – some good and happy, some sad and difficult – but our family is all one under You our loving God. Our families contain the story of life, and we are grateful for that precious gift that we might have eyes to see, ears to hear, and minds that enable us to remember the history that is ours. Grant this week that we might walk with someone we loved who is not longer with us – may they be brought to life again in our hearts and into our family; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.