The end of a year always stimulates in me the sort of mood that might not have been tolerated for a moment by Adelaide Ann Procter. That indomitable lady, whose restless fingers originally hit upon the “Lost Chord” (rediscovered a century later by J. Durante), struck also a brisk note worthy of a school principal after summer vacation:

The Past and the Future are nothing,

In the face of the stern To-day.

There’s something theologically awry with that—perhaps because it seems to preclude the blessed memories and lively hopes that are to me inseparable from the present season.

What follows here may be dubiously current, religious, or thoughtful, but may be welcomed as affording some relief from my customary high-handed discussion of this or that.

Of all my recollections of 1969, the drollest was of an item by William Pratt in Conference, a missionary magazine:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,

I don’t wonder what you are;

I surmised your spot in space

When you left your missile base.

Any wondering I do

Centers on the price of you,

And I shudder when I think

What you’re costing me per twink.

My most bizarre memory of the year I owe to the question-and-answer column of a religious weekly not normally given to humor. “Is it sinful,” a correspondent asked, “to use extra-sensory perception to correspond with an atheist … while the mailmen are on strike?” You think the question a humdinger? Read the answer (I’ve mislaid the precise wording, but I can vouch for the sentiments): “You do not mention the purpose of your correspondence. If it is the conversion of the atheist, by all means go ahead, but the indiscriminate use of ESP for general secular purposes is not recommended.” ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: