Good Tradition

And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

(Luk 23:44-47 KJV)

As I got off work today I thought back to growing up in a small town. The population of the city of Shawano, WI was a little over six thousand people at the time and being the county seat, it was the biggest town in the county. Now it is something over eight thousand and a tourist destination hot-spot. Well, it was until Corvid-19 bade otherwise. My wife’s cousin sent her a link to a half-hour documentary that was done by a Milwaukee PBS TV show: Around The Corner With John McGivern: Shawano. Some things have changed pretty dramatically over the years and some things never change. It was interesting to look at but I have lived here in Colorado Springs, Colorado over half my life now and My roots are transplanted here.

Not that I don’t have memories, both good and bad, of living there and growing up there. Society was different back then. Not necessarily better in all ways, but different. Better in some ways because society hadn’t found a way to destroy the mores that held it together yet. Not that it wasn’t working on it, even then, but in those times people had some common ideas about decency and respect no matter whether they had any “religious” beliefs or not. So, as I left work for the day, (our business is considered essential because we sell items and can provide support to people who are working at home. I’m essential because I’m in logistics) some good memories came back to me.

I guess the quietness of the shopping center when I left today at around 11:30 is what sparked the memories. My first job in 1974 was in retail when I worked at Heinz’ Drugstore. In 1977 I worked for a chain that operated in Northern Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan called Lauerman’s and a while later I worked for a store called Chaimson’s. None of which is there anymore.

Back then, every business in town had a tradition. On Good Friday, at noon, all of the businesses in town, even the twenty-four-hour supermarket, the banks, the library, every place, would close until three. From noon until three on Good Friday, it was like a ghost town. You could have literally (yes I know what literal means and yes that was the word I meant) heard a pin drop on Main street. My one boss was Jewish, a previous boss was Lutheran and I think the first one was Catholic, but it didn’t matter. They all closed. Bars, restaurants, everything; all closed except churches. Everybody in town knew it and went along with it. It was because of respect. Jewish, Lutheran, Catholic, Atheist, everyone had some things they showed respect for. Today’s society knows very little about respect.

And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

(Mar 15:33-39 KJV)

10 Comments

  1. Good Friday is such a special day, I too feel like we’ve seriously lost something by forgetting about it. I’m also a big fan of the Good Friday services where everyone leaves without speaking, it’s so somber and serious, and really beautiful.

  2. That’s one of the big losses right there. And now people find it strange that, say, Chick-fil-A is closed in Sundays. But that just makes it more obvious.

    • Yeah, when I was young, even into my twenties, there were very few businesses open on Sunday. The stores closed at five on every day except Friday, when they were open until nine.

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