WACHS: Important things can come in bunches


The Book says in Ecclesiastes that there’s a time and a place for everything. One thing that means, I think, is that things often happen when they should. It also means, I further think, that not that many really important things happen around the same time.

Except once in a while.

Case in point: July and its three important things (to me).

It’s pretty well agreed that Americans celebrate July 4th as our nation’s birthday, even though there’s some historical debate about when the Declaration of Independence was actually signed. For instance, many scholars say it was sometime in August before it was finally signed, and there’s even some agreement that not every delegate to the Continental Congress signed it, some having gone home from a hot Philadelphia summer in 1776 and not returning later.

But today, it’s still July 4 and with it comes parades (sometimes), ball games, cookouts and vacations.

That’s important thing number one.

The second important thing I noticed and remembered about July came Monday when I realized it was July 1, the date in 1933 when my daddy and mama left the little village of Bynum, drove across the state line to Bennettsville, S.C., with two of their friends as witnesses and got married.

He was 21; she was 15. I know; I know – today, that would be a crime and he’d be under the jail. But it really was a different time. Words like “depression”, as in the Great One, “unemployment, hard times,” and the like were the words of the day. I used to ask Mama about all that, her being 15 at the time and all. “I was mature for my age,” was her stock reply. I’m pretty sure she was, as were her siblings and most of the rest of the folks in their world.

I think they turned out pretty well. I’m glad they had me.

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t good marriage material at 15, which leads me to the third important thing about July. The 24th.

On that day in 1971, as I watched my now better half walk down the church aisle on her father’s arm, I was two years older than Daddy was when he took his big plunge. Better Half was seven years older than Mama had been. In just a few minutes that day, her father would become my father-in-law and she and I would start on a journey that’s still going on.


Now, as I have more candles on the birthday cake these days, I think more and more about those things — and others. Childhood and family, all the folks I’ve known, the various jobs I’ve held, the churches served, the places lived.

And it occurs all over again that we — you and me and all of us — better carpe diem (seize the day) because tempus fugit (time flies).

Find those important things and celebrate them, whether they come in ones or twos or even threes.

Bob Wachs is a native of Chatham County and emeritus editor at Chatham News & Record. He serves as pastor of Bear Creek Baptist Church.