A Short Tribute – Lynwood Smith

“A day late, and a dollar short”

It was October when Lynwood Smith passed away in a hospital bed in his hometown. I was one of the fortunate ones able to make the trip to Brookhaven, MS for the funeral; something I’ll never forget. I’m thankful I was able to be there. At the time, I suppose no one ever imagined such a man would leave us. No one realizes your full impact until you’re gone. And that’s probably the case with us all.

Now, some seven months later, I find myself in Ardmore, OK on a Saturday night. A crowd (perhaps larger than that Friday afternoon back in October) have gathered for a singing and tribute to the man who meant so much to our brotherhood. He meant so much not only for the work, energy, and effort he put into what he did for the Church of Christ, but by his own story and almost mythical status he held in so many young people’s minds.

(Memorial Day at Ardmore, OK – 2006, L to R: Ben Bonnett, Myself, Stephen Elmore, Lynwood Smith, Jonathan Elmore, Clay Elmore)

Our generation can’t relate to a man who never owned a drivers license, yet manged to preach everywhere there was a faithful church. It’s hard to imagine being born, and living out your entire life in the same small house. We can’t relate to man so dedicted to his work that he never married.

As a kid, I grew up hearing stories about Lynwood “calling people out” who weren’t paying attention, or acting up during services. My dad told me his biggest fear at the Sulpher, OK meeting was sitting around someone who wanted to try and talk, for fear they’d be “called down” by Lynwood. Services were a serious time, and there were things you did, and didn’t do during worship to God. Lynwood indirectly taught me that lesson.

This past Saturday, members of the Church of Christ in surrounding states drove to sing songs out of Lynwood’s “Last Book”. They drove out of respect. They came to listen, to watch, and remember the man that meant so much to them. Many, I believe, came to show their young children just a glimpse of the man they’d never get to meet. That may be what fuels my emotions most…that my own children (however off in the future they may be) will never know the man I knew growing up. I’ll share with them that he baptized me back in 1992, that I was able to drive him to and from a few meetings in my “younger days”. I already lament that I didn’t take advantage of more conversation on those trips.

Just the story, background, and life of Lynwood Smith is what gave him that almost mythical status, placing him at a certain level all his own. No, he wasn’t perfect. No, he doesn’t deserve a life-sized statue. But he DID give us some of the best lessons we’ve ever heard with stories from the Old Testament. He DID leave us with phrases like the one above (perhaps not his own, but who’s the wiser?). “People always think muddy water is deep” or, “He’s off, grazing with the goats” have been brought back to my attention within the last week. He DID compile the song books we grew up on and established himself as one of the greatest gospel song-writers (not just w/i our brotherhood) in the U.S.

He left an example and life no one in 2008 can relate to. A simple, studied, and lonely life compared to the likes of Paul. He loved songs. He loved young Christians. He loved to tell stories. He loved to preach. But most importantly, he loved the Lord’s Church and defended it till the end!

A Small Obsession

I’m not quite sure what it is about them? Granted, I always enjoyed riding a bike as a kid. There’s something about pedaling around with the wind in your face that every kid should enjoy. I never see kids riding bikes anymore though? While a less “suburban” child might have fond memories of motorized bikes on the country roads or pasture, the first engine I controlled was under a hood with four wheels.

Maybe it’s the $4.00 signage at gas stations, and the realization that in 1996 (when I began driving) I filled my 1987 Honda Accord to the brim with 12 gallons at $1.00 each. It’s sad to have “good ‘ole day syndrome” when you’re only 27. Real sad actually.

And I’m not sure what sparks my interest more; the 90-95mpg or the rugged, bare-bones look of the Honda Ruckus scooter (let’s please not call it a moped) that just grabs my attention. It’s a little 49cc scooter that reaches, are you ready…top speeds of 40-42mph and can ride anywhere besides a highway or service road.

 

Sure, it’s ugly, but that’s kind of the point. It’s not looking to win any sytle points or uphold any macho image you may have created for yourself. Yet, it won’t necessarily ruin your street cred and induce Nelson Muntz-eske laughs in your direction — “Ha-ha!”

The 2008 models are sold out nationwide and Honda has (speculation) issued an early realease for the 2009 scoot’s. There’s a community of “Rucksters” as they call themselves, joined in a unified effort to ride around like kids to their office jobs, meeting up on weekends to cruise the 45 speed limit roads wherever they can. You have to admit; it sounds like fun!

In The News

George Carlin passed away Sunday at the age of 71 in Santa Monica, CA. Carlin’s influence on comedy and comedians alike reaches almost every facet of what we see today. Finding humor in the most obvious area’s only seems obvious for those of us who didn’t think of it first. In many respects, Carlin did just that. Taking on western culture, the government, and other “taboo” topics, he created the framework for hundreds of successful comedians today.

(1937-2008)

Granted, he’s an over-the-hill-no-talent-hack of a shock jock, but Don Imus is just that…a Shock-Jock. He isn’t billed for his political prowess, insightful stock tips, or genius sports-mind. He’s on the ‘hot seat” once again for, you guessed it, racially insensitive remarks. Ahhh, but were they really THAT insensitive?

The comment (or rather question) was asked by Imus after hearing of Adam “Pac Man” Jones (that’s another blog entry altogether) and his arrest(s), “what color is he?” Upon being told he is black, Imus retorted, “Well, there ya go.”

Now, taking into account his previous thoughts on the Rutger’s womens basketball team, and the countless other off-color remarks he’s made over the years, you might think like Al Sharpton (let’s pray you never do), and demand Imus’ head on a Chinet paper plate. But…taking into account that the segmet airing before these comments was the injustice blacks receive in American society and w/i our prision system, it doesn’t seem to shocking after all.

Again, the man doesn’t sell millions in advertising to just talk about current events, making sure to stick with the facts. That game is in the hands of Katie Couric. He’s asked to draw an audience by creating comedy, pushing the envelope, and walking that fine line where it says, “You’ve Gone TOO FAR!!