For today’s post, I want to take a little detour from my usual trip through time, and flash back to when I was a little tyke, living on South Street in Cuthbert.
In those days, esteemed education pioneer and civic leader, my Great Aunt Willie Eva Taylor, used to conduct a “Bible School” in a park, which she and her husband A.J. had constructed on their property. The vacation Bible School was held in a little yellow building, constructed by Uncle A.J. for that purpose.
In that little building, I learned many things about Christian values and living a Christian Life. I’ve never forgotten the things learned in that “Bible School”; one of which was the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”. Some of the words of this little song follow:
“He’s got the whole world in His hands.
He’s got the whole wide world—in His hands
He’s got the whole world—in His hands.
He’s got the whole world in His hands”.
I’m sure you know the rest of the words. Whenever we sang this song, I could envision the earth, sitting in the palms of the Lord’s hands. This vision was surrealistic and haunting.
One day during this time frame, I walked into the Vaughn’s house, and there on the wall was a photographic portrait of the oldest of the Vaughn boys, “Lonnie”, or as he was better known, “Little Lonnie”.
In this portrait, he was wearing the “jungle fatigues” of the U.S. Army. He was turned sideways with his hand extended, palm up. In the palm of his hand, was a tiny version of himself, looking up at the big “Little Lonnie”. The tiny Lonnie was also dressed in “jungle fatigues”.
Of course, I was fascinated by seeing Lonnie in his uniform. I’d been vaguely aware that he had been drafted into the Army and was serving in “Nam”. But, I couldn’t seem to wrap my young mind around the vision of little, “Little Lonnie”, standing in big “Little Lonnie’s” hand. The portrait was surrealistic and haunting. “What trickery is this? I thought to my young self.
Now mind you, this was long before “photo shop”.
That’s how I remember “Little Lonnie”. He was one of the coolest cats in Cuthbert, not to mention that he was quite a handsome chap, as well. A tall, strong, guy with twinkling green or grey eyes; which color they appeared at any given time, depended upon the mood he was in or what angle the light hit them.
Today, I learned that we’d lost this coolest of cats, but I’m confident that, our loss is God’s gain.
The Viet Nam War Memorial is inscribed with the 58,286 names of the men and women who died or went missing in action in “Nam”, but not all of that war’s heroes died in that foreign land. Not all of that war’s heroes are counted among that 58,286 on “the wall”.
Some came home, and experienced the pain of rejection by the very people that they were told they were fighting for. Some struggled to survive in a jungle, twice as treacherous as the Viet Nam jungles; the jungle that waited for them right here at “home”. Where is their wall?
When I think of Lonnie, I’ll always think of that magical portrait that hung on the wall of his home, but I’ll also envision a NEW picture. In this one, “Little Lonnie”, is no longer standing in his own hands. In this one, he’s standing in the hands of the Man who has the WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS.
Thank you for your service Lonnie Vaughn!