I Remember Dad: The Winds of Change

By Richard Mabey Jr.


There is a fiber, a weave, a tapestry that often unites families together. And, then there is the pull, the outgoing tide of fate and destiny. It is almost as if there is a marker in time, wherein one chapter closes and another chapter opens in the books of our lives.


Such a time came in early September of 1987. My beloved father turned 60 that year, on Sunday, September 6th. We had a most wonderful and magical birthday party for him, in the afternoon, after church. The backyard of the old Mabey Homestead was filled with family, neighbors, church friends, and friends from scouts. It was a most grand and glorious time.


Beneath the shade of the tall, towering maple tree, Dad cut his large, sheet cake. It was beneath the very maple tree that Dad had climbed as a boy and I had built my tree fort on. Balloons filled the yard. Along with crepe paper strung from tree limb to tree limb. And we even had one of those long chain “Happy Birthday” messages that was strung between two trees. It was truly a happy and joyous time.


At the time, none of us knew that the Autumn of 1987, was going to be such a profound point of events and changes in our lives. My cousin Edward, who lived with us for about seven years, got the courage to propose to the wonderful young lady whom he had been dating for over a year. My sister Patti went back to school to pursue a Master’s Degree in Divinity. Dad retired from the trucking company that he had worked at, for all so many years. Then Dad took on the role of Church Sexton at the Boonton United Methodist Church. Dad also began to attend weekend classes at Drew University to prepare himself to become a Lay Leader in the church. Mom began focusing more on her home business of creating craft projects which she sold at flea markets and church bazaars. I discontinued publishing the old Lincoln Park Journal and moved to Indiana, Pennsylvania for about a year to help my elderly cousin with his Christmas Tree farm. It was there that I wrote three stage plays, among them was the very successful “Beyond the North Star.” Sadly, Aunt Helen, who lived with us quite a bit, went Home to be with the Lord in the Autumn of 1987.


There was something in the air, that first Sunday of September of 1987. There was a joy, a feeling of great happiness, as my dad cut his birthday cake. But there was almost an intuitive knowingness that we all felt in our hearts, minds, and inner beings, that changes were in the air. I think that all of us felt a gentle mourning for the loss of a certain lifestyle of family closeness that we swam in for all so many years. How we all tripped over each other’s lives. And now, we were all moving into new territories, the calling of new directions in the Divine purposes of our lives was about to take place.




Aunt Helen was failing. It was becoming more and more difficult for her to get around. Her heart was not good at all. The doctors offered little hope. I remember it all, as if it were yesterday. Aunt Helen sat at the table, in the shade of the towering maple, and smiled as she ate a piece of Dad’s birthday cake. I believe it would be the last piece of birthday cake that she would ever have.


There are times when we fear changes. We want so much to hold onto the way things are. But all so often, the good Lord calls us and our loved ones into new directions, new goals, new purposes to serve Him. Sometimes we try desperately to fight the changes. But it is like a man trying to stop the ocean tide from departing the sands when the moon calls upon its love for the deep blue sea.


Love knows no boundaries. Love cannot be limited. I live in Central Florida now. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think about some little moment of those wonderful, magical years of living in the old Mabey Homestead. How we all tripped upon each other’s lives. And, all the people who came and stayed at the old family farmhouse. Some for a week’s visits, some stayed with us for years.


Please do know this, the psychologists, the scientists, the academicians, the spiritual leaders, really and truly have no idea just how far-reaching and how powerful this mystical, wonderful, and mysterious thing we call love really is. Love can transcend physical distances, the passing of time, and the transition from the physical plane to the heavenly worlds. Love is the key to all human understanding.


Richard Mabey Jr. is a freelance writer. He can be reached at richardmabeyjr@hotmail.com. Please put on the subject line: My Life Publications.


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