A memorable individual in my life was Rev. Mr. Howard K. Busby of Lamont, Kansas. Mr. Busby was a dear friend of my father. He was six years older than Dad and in addition to their profession, they had much in common. Though both men were pastors, and each served the church in administrative capacities at various times in their lives, they both conducted revival meetings on occasion. One year when I was in my late teens, a camp meeting in New York State scheduled both men as the evangelists for the ten-day meeting. Dad took his family with him for that meeting. This did not happen often. Usually, Mom stayed home with the kids, the kids went to school, life lived much as usual.
The trip across country, New York State, and meeting new people were all interesting. The camp meeting itself was run in the more-or-less typical pattern of such camps in that day. There were "preaching" services morning, afternoon, and evening with the preachers alternating pulpit duties. So it was that if Dad preached an evening service, Busby would be on the next morning, and that evening, with Dad speaking in the afternoon.
Brother Busby (all the church people were known to one another as "Brother" or "Sister") had a routine whereby he eschewed the evening meal on those nights he was scheduled to preach. But after the meeting we would meet with him in our cottage, or in his, and it was in this setting that he introduced me to one of his favorite after-service snacks. Oh, salivating now, just remembering! Mr. Busby would make himself a sandwich, and one for me, since no one else in the set cared to partake. He would slice one of those big, sweet red onions, slather a generous portion of butter on the bread, and enclose the onion slice between two pieces of said bread. What deliciousness! What wonderful memories of munching and talking late in the evening!
Mr. Busby committed to memory vast amounts of scripture and many, many poems as well. He sprinkled these gems liberally throughout his sermons, a technique which my father also used. All these memories came back in a flood when I espied a book on my shelves entitled "The Busby Scrapbook of Poems that Touch the Heart." It is a compilation of poetry he collected and loved, and finally had published. I can still hear him quoting "The Touch of the Master's Hand" or "The World is Mine."
Mr. Busby died at age 93, just two years before my father passed away.
Sadly, I can no longer eat raw onions in the evening, nor any other time, for that matter.
Here is a short poem from Busby's collection:
When as a child I laughed and wept
When as a youth I dreamed and talked
When I became a full-grown man
Soon I shall find in traveling on