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Do you have a favorite month?  A least favorite month?  A month with which you most associate a traumatic experience?  One of my favorite months is June.  It is when I heard those unforgettable words, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

That was a long time ago, and since then other months have also provided material both for expressing gratitude to God and for reflection.  October is one of those months.  Why October?  To answer that, let me refer to Barry Manilow’s rendition of Johnny Mercer’s lyrics, When October Goes. (Click here for the UTube version)   The lyrics are –

And when October goes the snow begins to fly
Above the smokey roofs I watch the planes go by
The children running home beneath a twilight sky
Oh, for the fun of them, when I was one of them

And when October goes the same old dream appears
And you are in my arms to share the happy years
I turn my head away to hide the helpless tears
Oh how I hate to see October go

And when October goes the same old dream appears
And you are in my arms to share the happy years
I turn my head away to hide the helpless tears
Oh how I hate to see October go

I should be over it now I know.
It doesn’t matter much how old I grow
I hate to see October go.

This day in October is a special day for me.  Joyce was born 71 years ago today in the little town of Renovo, PA. She was the second child of Harry and Gladys Sykes, and eventually three more sons would join the family.  By the time she graduated from high school, the family lived in Erie, PA.  Joyce wanted to be a missionary in the Far East, and to prepare for that ministry she enrolled at Nyack College in Nyack, NY.

I had enrolled at Nyack a year earlier.  We met during Joyce’s  freshman year, got engaged after her sophomore year, got married after her junior year, and moved to Wheaton, IL, after her senior year, where we celebrated her 22 October 5th birthday.  By that time, we were planning on a life of ministry in Argentina, focusing on education at the Buenos Aires Bible College.  When our time in Argentina concluded due to medical issues, we moved to Minnesota where we continued as college professors, and Joyce saw nineteen October 5th birthdays come and go.  At the same time, she was “putting up” with cancer.

Three years ago, the October 5th birthday in 2009 was celebrated, but without Joyce.  She had gone to her real home several months before.  We still celebrate Joyce’s birthday in October.  And, Joyce?  She is still in my  dreams of the happy years when we were in each other’s arms.  And then?  It is “when October goes and the helpless tears are hidden”