GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY & the BATTLE HYMN
This blog post is in remembrance of my Daddy, Warren Vanscoy, who passed away this week at age 98. Posted January 27, 2021
Thank you to the relative . . not sure which one . . who provided the above picture from the family reunion.
Daddy is the first person I ever heard say "old age is not for sissies"! (Now I understand.)
When he worked at the phone company and there was a problem . . the operators who called were so glad he was the one who was 'on call'. He took down their information and moved on in stride plus didn't get upset and yell. He didn't talk a lot, but when he did, it was definitely worth listening to.
He always had a quiet even temperament until the very last when dementia set in. Then he could be 'testy'. My stepmother took exceptionally good care of him. She was somewhat younger than Daddy and he told me himself "I'm going first this time". He meant my stepmother would outlive him. My mother died at age 50. Then his 2nd wife who was remarkable in many ways also died.
I never heard the words "shut up!" come out of his mouth. A few times when my two siblings (April and Doug) and I were in the back seat of the car and being too loud, he would say "dry up!" I would then proceed to make myself smaller and whisper "shrivel / shrivel / shrivel".
When we kids wanted to know the amount of something, he would say "steen" for the answer. If we asked him where he was going, he would say "to see a man about a horse". He was also heard to say "when I say jump, don't say why / ask how high!"
He came to know Jesus as a young man crossing the ocean for his military service in WWII. With time on his hands, he read through the Bible and became a believer.
Mary and Joseph bring the Christ child to the temple. Simeon recognizes Him with the help of the precious Holy Spirit. Simeon was elderly, but we don't know his actual age.
Speaking of the Bible, there is an elderly man, Simeon, in the New Testament Luke 2:21-35. Joseph and Mary brought baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem. The purpose was to present Him to God. At the temple door was Simeon. The Holy Spirit had promised Simeon that he would see the Lord's Christ before he died. Others may have given up, but not Simeon. All his life he had waited for this moment. Simeon took the infant in his arms and praised God. The parents marveled at his words as he prophesied about the child. Simeon foretold that the thoughts of many hearts would be revealed.
Simeon knew he could now die in peace because he had seen the Consolation of Israel. He could die now. In his own arms, he had held Christ, the Lord.
Civil War cannon @ Antietam Sharpsburg Battlefield in Maryland
The Battle Hymn of the Republic was Daddy's favorite. He wanted it to be sung at his funeral. He even wrote out his own obituary many years ago.
THE BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was written by Julia Ward Howe, a leader in Women's rights and an ardent foe of slavery. Julia and her husband were both crusaders for political and moral issues of the day. In 1861, during the darkest days of the Civil War, the Howes visited Washington, and Julia toured a nearby Union Army Camp on the Potomac in Virginia. There she heard soldiers singing a tribute to John Brown, who had been hanged in 1859 for attempting to lead an insurrection of slaves at Harper's Ferry:
"John Brown's Body Lies a-mold'ring in the Grave."
The music was rousing, but the words needed improvement. Julia's pastor, who accompanied her, asked her to consider writing new and better verses. That night, after the Howes retired to their room at the Willard Hotel, the words came. Julia gave her song to a friend who worked at The Atlantic Monthly. The magazine published it in February, 1862, sending her a check for five dollars.
Julia was irrepressible. When she was ninety, she wrote a friend about the "good work which I have yet to do . . she died October 17, 1910 at age 91.