Uncle Bud belonged to a congregation I served fresh out of seminary. Southern social conventions allow older persons to be called “uncle” or “aunt” even when no biological connection exists. The gentleman in question served as a surrogate grandfather in my life.
Bud resembled an older Samuel Clements with gray hair and drooping mustache. His wife died years previously, and he still grieved her loss. However, the octogenarian did not lack for female attention. Women flocked around him, including a group of 30-somethings who regularly dropped by for lunch.
I was a single pastor in his twenties serving two country churches in the middle of nowhere. I envied Bud’s way with the ladies. He tried to help, introducing me to women as “my single preacher who could really use a date!” I do not recommend this method for anyone seeking a mate.
The church’s patriarch attended worship every Sunday. I learned to seek his counsel over a myriad of topics. Bud’s words and actions shaped my early ministry. I appreciated his life and grieved his death.
Bud’s life illustrated the adage, “There may be snow on the roof, but there’s fire in the furnace!” Psalm 92:14 puts the same sentiment more theologically, “They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green.”
May God grant each of us the blessing to grow old with grace.