This post is especially geared towards my friends, come and gone, that I’ve met at BUUF, aka, the Boone Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Videos I’ve made over the years can be found here.
Laughing your Way to Grace with Connie Green and Richard Tidyman.
And all of my content from the last 20 years, including family, friends, teaching and more can be found here.
I started attending BUUF back in 1984 when I moved to Boone to go to ASU. It was a small group, mostly old farts, or at my tender age of 30, they seemed old. Now I am the old fart. Those were the days when all we had was the Founder’s Home. At some point, the home was purchased through the kindness and generosity of the founding fathers and members. Back then, we met in what is now the larger room. We would set up chairs and on a good day, some folks couldn’t see around the corner (where the buffet table is. If you look close, you can see where the wall was torn down and a different kind of hardwood was inserted in the floor. Yep, that room was once two or three rooms.
BUUF became my home, where I was accepted and my beliefs were mine and no one wanted to argue or convert me. It was all about love and social justice. It was more academic in those days but that is due to the make up of those in power, mostly academics.
I met some wonderful people. I went to a picnic one day after church at Ben and Shirlee Edward’s house. Shirlee must have liked me because at the next church service, she introduced me to Sally Royce Gaines, her youngest daughter. We fell in love, moved in together, and later, were married, for ten years total, before parting way. Ben performed the wedding at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis with many UU’s in attendance. The reception, a pot luck was at the apple barn. To their credit, even after Sally and I amicably split up, the Edwards always invited me to every holiday meal and gathering.
A side note, at that time in 1984, Sally was the shelter manager for Oasis, the shelter for battered women, which was housed on the second floor of the Founder’s Home. One year, we even had a garden where the current sanctuary now sits.
Picnics were always fun. Back then, we’d travel south of Blowing Rock to Pat (???) and Warren Plicta’s house. Over the years, we’d go to the various parks, Alice and Earl’s home, and many others.
What makes a church a home is not the place, the structure or even the rituals. It is first and most, the people. I always felt welcome there. Most do andeI was a little more outgoing than most, and willing to attend social events, oftentimes alone, and found a group of intelligent, liberal (sometimes opinionated) good hearted people. I’d say the only folks that had a hard time with us were those rigid in their beliefs and republicans. I only know of one or two republicans who were able to tolerate the overwhelming vocal liberals.
I have found so many of the services and presentations interesting and many inspiring as well. Some are boring. Some times, and I’m not alone here, I’d check to see what was being talked about and who was delivering the talk and then weigh my own feelings. Other times I’d go no matter what. I’d go to socialize and support whatever speaker there was, as it is the closest thing I had to a community. I’d suggest going no matter what if you have the time and energy.
If there was any advice I’d give, continue to make the fellowship welcoming. People may be looking for inspiration but I think it is more likely people are looking for connection with other loving human beings. Err on the side of kindness. Say hi first, get to know them. Invite them to lunch, even if they are a different age. We do after all, call ourselves inter-generational.
I’ve been in many of your homes, and I appreciated the chance to socialize and share a meal with you all. In other cases, I was hired as a handyman. I dropped out of teaching after four years, tried selling insurance and eventually did handyman work to make ends meet. I hope no one’s house has burned down since. I am not an expert at anything, but I do know just enough to be dangerous.
I’m grateful that you all tolerated my sharing of joys and concerns and even a few presentations. My first presentation, and probably the worst was on globalization. I’ve also done one with Richard Anderson of father’s day. Connie and I did one on “Laughing your way to Grace”. Most recently, I presented “Lessons Learned from 27 years of Teaching public school.” I think it was pretty good. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I should just pull together half dozen presentations on different topics and become a UU circuit rider. What do you think?
Despite everything, you have always made me feel welcome. You were there when we adopted our daughter, Hannah Marie Tidyman, and you were supportive as well when her son, my grandson, Sean Rohnan Tidyman (now Brooks) was born.
I’ve met lots and lots of wonderful people. Most important are the men in my men’s group, many of which are UU members. Big thanks to UU for letting us use the space for not only one but now two men’s groups. I’d rank my participation in those groups as some of the worthwhile opportunity to grow and learn from elders and youngsters.
I’ve seen many come and go. Some move, some die. I’m moving. I’ll die later. If case you missed the headlines, Danielle, the love of my life, who I first met at UU several years ago are moving. She has a great job lined up, and I retired. I’ll be holding down the fort, which includes a horse, two cats, two dogs, and chickens. I’ll find some work, including that of a wedding officiant. There are lakes, and parks so I hope to take up fishing, bike riding, and tooling around on my scooter to learn my way around. Maybe handyman work again. Hopefully there will be a niche for a liberal minister in the conservative Hamlen County. I know they have a democratic organization there, so I’ll check them out. Hopefully, they do more than meet at Hardee’s for coffee. But I’m good at that too.
I will be back to visit all the wonderful folks here at BUUF. We have two houses we need to sell, and it looks like I’ll have to rent mine rather than sell.
Wish you the very best and thanks for the memories.