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Only thing that never changes is everything changes'

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By Michael O'Hare
Friday, June 7, 2013, 10:15 p.m.

Excuse me, if you will, my reference yet again to my favorite play, “Our Town,” but one of its scenes came vividly to life for me this past weekend.

In the play, it is the lead up to the wedding scene and the character of the Stage Manager, talking briefly as the minister about to perform the ceremony, muses on the moments of life. He lists a few as: “the cottage, the go-cart, the Sunday afternoon drives in the Ford, the first rheumatism, the grandchildren, the second rheumatism, the deathbed, the reading of the will,” and then with a smile he speaks directly to the audience:

“Once in a thousand times it's interesting.”

Perhaps for me it was one of those thousand times as I sat in church this past Sunday.

High school seniors of St. Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe parish joined with the priest, servers and reader in the opening processional and these graduates were later recognized.

I was struck by the little children, many babes in arms that I see each week, and the juxtaposition of the wee ones and the graduates sitting in the front row. Life was flowing on and it was up to us to take notice. After all, it was all there under one roof.

The Rev. Dan Blout took notice. He mused about witnessing those graduates as they grew and matured during his four years at the parish.

Then Father Dan did what he needed to do. He announced he is being transferred to another church in the diocese. There was nary a dry eye in the house, least of all the good father's.

Change, change, change.

Children once carried into church were graduating, once sleeping babies were squirming in the pews, former teens were sitting with wives and husbands, and some of us (me, for sure) are aging. Really, aren't we all?

“The only thing that never changes is that everything changes,” the late author Louis L'Amour is quoted as having said.

This moment? It is gone and we wonder if we noticed. Perhaps we need not be like the minister in “Our Town.” It is not our assignment to assess these events of our life as interesting, nor even setting them on a scale from the mundane to the grandiose.

Perhaps we just need to observe them and therein know that we have lived.

We share. Father Dan as others before and others to come has shared his life with us. We give thanks. There are always so many to thank, from store clerks to parents. Thanks is a good word. On Tuesday morning, daughter Shana e-mailed some pictures labeled “Graduation Day!” in the information line.

Two graduation ceremonies I was unable to attend were the subject: granddaughters Johna from kindergarten and Madalyn and Elizabeth from middle school, moving next year to the high school where they live.

I was grateful to see the moments, moreso perhaps having witnessed the passages of Sunday.

Ceremonies — be they weddings, Sunday church, graduations or even picnics— are important. They, too, are ways of saying “thanks.”

But there are many non-ceremonies, if you will, that are equally important to notice.

Graduates and granddaughters take notice.

I end returning to Emily's line from “Our Town” that I love so much: “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?- - every, every minute?”

Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to

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