My friend Michelle and her daughter Brynn recently traveled to the Philippines to visit Brynn’s Compassion child. Of course it was a very moving experience. As I looked through the photo book Michelle made of the trip I was quickly transported backward to the mid ’60s when I traveled with a Youth for Christ Teen Team to what was then called the Orient.
Here’s our team. Do you notice that Mauri made up a fifth of that same team? Yet another piece of our common history.
Michelle had a picture of a Jeepney, which we experienced as well.
I recognize a familiar trombone case nearby.
We experienced other kinds of transportation.
We walked a 5-inch plank to board this boat, shared with a couple of sleeping pigs.
This pig is sleeping too, right? One day we had four full Thanksgiving dinners, this being one of them. Oh, we had some interesting dining experiences! Yours truly, a not so brave eater, had to stretch some to swallow the likes of duck webbed feet.
The purpose of our trip, of course, was to share our love for Jesus with young people in Hawaii, Korea, Hong Kong, Formosa (Taiwan), Philippines, and Japan.
We gave 400 “presentations” in four months, mostly in schools like this one. Mauri remembers one day when we sang in 11 places, early morning to late night.
Students would sit on the floor in perfect rows and not even wiggle or talk.
This outdoor venue was memorable.
Maybe you can understand why.
This was memorable for Marilyn, who usually had to play a little pump organ rather than a piano.
The audience wasn’t always young.
Marilyn and I fit right in, don’t we? Mauri wasn’t far away; I know because I see his trombone case again.
Who could forget visiting a home for the leprous?
And, oh, the orphanage! This picture was chosen for the cover of the book(let) published of my journal entries of the trip. It became a best seller.
You don’t believe that, I can tell.
The Hawaiians really loved Mauri. You do believe that, I can tell!
I’m quite fond of this picture, given what we know now. Marilyn and I bought our lined embroidered cashmere sweaters in Hong Kong. I kept mine for a long time. I kept in touch with Marilyn for a long time too. She became a cruise ship entertainment pianist. But sadly we’ve lost track of her.
Winding down. You’ve no doubt lost interest by now. But if you stuck with it, here’s your reward: a picture of my dear man that inspired me to write this poem:
See that driver? Catch those eyes!
They were made to mesmerize.
Just his casual, sideways glance
Puts me in a star-eyed trance.
I could sit back here all day
And let him look at me that way.
Kick my shoes off, settle in,
While we take a little spin.
And if I’m feeling bravely blunt
I’ll ask to join him in the front.
No, I didn’t write that in the ’60s. Closer to 1994, the year I asked for his thigh in marriage.