Sometime after my grandmother Ethel (Ethel Eley Goshorn 1908–1995) died I was given the “family Bible.” It’s an old leather bound King James Version from 1956, a year before I was born, that has some notes written in the margins, but is otherwise unmarked. She did write a note that the Bible was to go to me upon her death.

I suppose I could have held on to it until my death, but I decided to give it to my oldest, Ted, this past weekend. He’s entering the ministry, about to go to seminary and I think it was opportune  that he receive it now. God willing, Ted will live to see that Bible be 100 years old—he will be 73 then.

Inside I found two letters from Dad that I wish I had remembered when I did his funereal in 2006. In one dated January 7, 1986, he wrote:

Son, I am not very good at putting things into words but all I got to say is, that when you know God you feel different inside and have no hate inside or anything but love for all—this is how I feel. I know I am a poor church goer but I do love God and I have been saved—I always ask God for his blessings on all of us. But this is my way of asking His forgiveness for not going to His house of worship every Sunday that I could.

What I want to say is I am sorry for all the years I was not there. You had no control of this nor I—but I do feel bad on this. I am glad you came back to me. I love you as any father would to his first born son, but this love is no less for Bob or Bill or Brenda, for I love you all.

These notes warmed my heart so deeply that I just kept it to myself—like Mary, treasuring all these things in my heart. I need to figure out how to best preserve these notes, for I want them to be around for along time. In 2086, they will be 100 years old, I’ll certainly be gone and little Jack will be 76—perhaps he’ll read those words from a great-grandfather he never knew with the unusual name of Ledgard.