By Dick Ham
I was just thinking the other day about the fact that it was 29 years ago this week that I began my tenure as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church. Nancie stayed back at our home in Hendersonville, Tenn. to complete the semester of teaching her piano and voice students and to sell our home there. She arrived here the following spring.
During our 56 plus years of marriage, we’ve lived in seven places. First we lived in Georgetown while finishing college, then I accepted a position as Minister of Music at Walnut Street Baptist Church in Owensboro. We then moved to Louisville for me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Church Music at Southern Baptist Seminary. I completed my work there in January of 1962 and became Minister of Music at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington. In 1966 I left Lexington to become Minister of Music at the First Baptist Church of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. That was an absolutely fantastic position with a choir of more than 100 voices. In 1968, I left Pine Bluff to accept a position as a Church Music Consultant at the Baptist Sunday School Board in Nashville, Tenn. During 16 years there, I traveled the entire country doing church music leadership training events of various types in 46 states and Canada. For a kid who had grown up poor in Kentucky, that was quite an experience. I began to feel that I wanted to once again serve in a local church and that is when I accepted the position here in Richmond.
My tenure at First Baptist was 16 years and 7 months. I retired in June of 2000 and then began to write this column for the Richmond Register.
These 29 years in Richmond have been wonderful, and that is the only descriptive word I can think of that is adequate. This is a great place to live and when I retired, we decided we wanted to continue to live here.
Richmond has undergone a lot of changes. There are places that are so very different and others that have remained exactly the same. Main Street continues to change with old stores and businesses closing and new ones opening. We recently learned that Jett & Hall will be going out of business. That corner will never be the same.
I have found Richmond to be made up of very fine and friendly people. It is not unusual to be able to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger without feeling uptight.
We have fine churches of every denomination and description and that certainly contributes to the moral climate of the community.
I continue to be proud of our schools. They are outstanding in so many ways.
If I would be asked to describe what I love most about these 29 years, it would be friends. Nancie and I have the finest friends in the world here. There is nothing else to compare with the joy of that.
I have a friend who I consider to be the best automobile mechanic in the entire world. He keeps my cars going for me. I have a friend who is a licensed plumber who does my plumbing repairs and a friend who is a licensed electrician who has done electrical work for me. There is another friend who has done roofing and gutter work for me. I doubt if anyone, anywhere is more blessed.
These have been 29 years I would not trade for anything. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to my happiness.
Technically there are no National holidays. The U.S. can declare certain holidays for federal employees, but the states must designate holidays.
What great songwriter’s first song, written when he was 18, was “Open Thy Lattice, Love” ?
Thought for the day
Until you spread your wings, you will have no idea how far you can fly.