Friday, July 08, 2005

This Do In Remembrance

First things first. Just 50-some miles before the Hart Family Cottage in Michigan, I always stop in Grand Ledge, just 10 miles west of Lansing, to remember Mom and Dad at the cemetery. Grand Ledge was my home town from 1954 until we sold the family estate in 1996. Now it's a pass-through of memories.

Carl Clarence Hart: I knew Dad more as a preacher than a father, I'm sure it's safe to say. As a preacher, he was among those who know how to craft the message around a story. I have no memory of 3-point sermons, but even today I can tell you the message behind the story of the lighthouse, the train or the artist who won the contest for his painting of "Peace." It was at Dad's knee where I learned church doctrine. I ate it up. He had a story for every point. In fact, my happiest memory is his "kick the bucket" story that he started once more just before he went into his death coma...and never finished. But we all knew the ending.

Dad was also an artist and used his skills and steady hand as a professional sign painter in our early years for supplemental income. In his own youth or early adulthood he did the pen-and-ink sketch of the hart (male deer) for his personal bookplate that was later transferred to his tombstone. Every time I see it I quote the following verse as a mantra:

As the hart panteth after the water brooks,
so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Ps. 42:1, KJV)

Barbara Nelson Bennett Hart: As Dad was the preacher, Mom was the teacher. She was one of those learners ahead of her time, having not only graduated from Smith College but from Columbia University with a Masters when it was unheard of for women. Music and history. I can never remember what went with what degree but we grew up with her teaching English in high school whenever a substitute was needed. She was also a Bible teacher and it was at her knee as well where I sat and soaked up every little thing.

Mom was also a musician. A pianist, choral director, singer, composer. You name it. Some of my happiest memories are of her playing the piano as our alarm clock before school. She was sometimes commissioned to compose a spiritual song or hymn, of which her A Christian Home is in many a hymn book. This was all par for the course for us 8 kids. However, perhaps how we better knew her was as our walking encyclopedia. She might not know the color of our clothes or cars but invariably knew the answer to any question we ever asked.

O give us home with godly fathers, mothers,
Who always place their hope and trust in Him....

I remember you, Dad. I remember you, Mom. May you rest in peace.


  1. Mom got her BA in History, I believe, and her MA in Music Education.


  2. Ahhhh. Thanks, Ruth. Now if only I can remember!