My wife and I took a few days off last week and drove to Branson, Missouri, for a short vacation. It was our third trip to Branson. Our last trip there was more than 15 years ago. One of the reasons we wanted to go to Branson was because we had heard about a Broadway-quality musical show about the life of Jesus that was playing at one of the theaters. The title of the show was Jesus.
The year was 1969. I was 12 years old and I had a paper route, money in my pocket, and a radio on the nightstand that was next to my bed. Back then, the world I lived in was as close to paradise that a 12-year-old boy could get. Other than 8-track tape players in cars, the only way we could listen to prerecorded music was on a radio or a record player.
The champion of our family neighborhood died last week. I’ve written before about how I grew up in a family neighborhood that included seven families. My grandparents, Tom and Effie Williams, lived next door to my parents. All the other families in the neighborhood were made up of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. While all the women in the neighborhood were generous, loving, hardworking Catholic women who did a magnificent job of managing their households and raising their children, there was one woman who stood out among all of them. To me, she was the champion of the neighborhood.
In 1976, during the spring semester of my freshman year in college, I got in my car and drove to the local Western Union office. When I walked in, I told the clerk at the counter that I wanted to send a telegram. At that time, a telegram was a written message that was sent by telegraph from one Western Union office to a Western Union office in a different city. The second Western Union office would then make arrangements to hand-deliver the message to the intended recipient.
Not very many people know this, but the plot of the original Action Comics story of Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, was eerily similar to the nonfiction “story” of the life of Jesus Christ. When you compare the story of Superman with the life of Jesus, you can see the similarities.