Sweet Home Alabama with AChuck
I remember it like yesterday. The first time that I heard Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.” I was at High School football camp, August 1974. We went to a place somewhere near Loganville, Georgia that was known as Camp Bow and Arrow. In our “A-frame cabin”, Dink Smith brought a 8 track stereo system and we sang every song on that tape, especially “Sweet Home Alabama.” I can still sing every lyric, including the inappropriate ones on that album entitled, “Second Helping.”
Why is it that we can remember those things and can hoot and holler every time we hear a cover band play them? I think it’s because we remember a day when that was all we had to worry about. A simpler time. A joyful time. A playful time. A time when the most difficult thing to do was finish running sprints up the side of that earthen dam at Camp Bow and Arrow. Or who you were asking to homecoming. Maybe even who you would share your letter jacket with. Wow, that sounded really old. Seriously, I think the older we grow physically, the more we cherish the memories. As a matter of fact, the older I get, the better I once was!
But what will we remember about our lives when our bodies grow feeble, our minds move a bit slower, and our memories begin to fade? Will we still remember “Well I heard Mister Young sing about her. Well I heard old Neil put her down. Well, I hope Neil Young will remember.
A southern man don’t need him around anyhow.” Will we remember the Camp Bow and Arrows” in our lives? I sure hope so!
What I know we will remember and cling to are the people that we love. There is an old hymn that I remember singing as a kid in church entitled “Precious Memories.” I remind people of that old song at every funeral I preach. My favorite line in the old hymn goes like this, “precious memories, how they linger…how they linger on my soul.” I want to be able to sing Sweet Home Alabama like it’s my job when I’m 90, but I’ll guarantee you that I’d trade singing it at Madison Square Garden in front of the Queen of England, President of the United States and a full house of rock and roll legends just to have one more conversation with my dad or mom. I’d surrender all I own to chat with my Grandfather (Pop) Allen one more time. I won’t want to cling to the days of old, I’ll want to cling to Jenny, Amy, Sarah, Amelia, Julia, Abby, Sam and possibly our dog Kirby.
My point? As much I loved my childhood and the fun I had, I am determined to make my next 30 years the best days of my life. I want to run harder, work smarter, love more sincerely, give more sacrificially, read only what matters, sing like a fool, dance like a Cherokee warrior, lead like there is no tomorrow and cling only to those few things that truly matter this side of Heaven.
I want to cling to my sweet grandkids, my dear daughters, my loving wife, to the church I love, but even more so to the Savior that gives me life, the Heavenly Father that holds me in the palm of His hand, and the Word that He has poured into my heart. I want to give without care for tomorrow, serve like the entire world depends on it, and leave this world in far better shape than when I made it a mess.
So, while I join you in singing “where the skies are so blue, “ I hope you’ll join me in never growing weary in doing good.”
“Lord I’m Coming Home to You”,