E. CRAIG HARMON
THOUGHTS FROM THE “BABY” BROTHER
ON THE OCCASION OF HIS 60TH
One of my earliest memories of being with you, kind of also falls in the shadow land of my youth. I think we were in White River, and some one gave me a Banti-Chicken…. Somehow the car that we were driving failed and we had to be towed home… I remember or was told that I was very worried about the Banti-rooster riding in the car that was being towed. I was finally able to also ride in that car… and care for the chicken. I know we had banti-chickens around for several years, maybe that is how they got started.
GETTING ONTO THE RIVER
One “absolute” during the long South Dakota winters, was that when Craig came home, we had to find a way to get a car onto the river. One particular time, maybe the visit was short, or the schedule too busy, probably it stormed most of the time. At any rate I remember riding through the camp grounds and out the driveway with you, looking for a good spot to “get onto the river” just a little while before you were scheduled to leave! After looking over several areas, all of which had snow higher than the car, you looked at one spot (out behind the old milk barn, I think) and said… think we can make it here…. Well we will find out… off we went at full throttle only to make it maybe ½ way. As I recall, we decided we might as well dig the rest of the way to the river… since we were that close!
GETTING INTO THE RIVER
Much later, when Steven was a little tike, you had come to help us get ready for a winter camp. Phil was sick, and we decided to go to the river and cut some wood. As we were returning with a good load, I commented on the noise the ice was making under us. Good ice “pops” a little when you drive on it, you assured me. The words had hardly hit the air when we hit the bottom of the river. I remember taking Steve and setting him out the window onto the ice… it was just about window height. I thought better of that then and pulled him back into the truck, fearing that the ice next to the hole might break easily. As it turned out, you could walk right up to the hole. We went to find poor OLE sick Phil. By the time we had cut a path clear to the shore, and gotten the truck out of the river and into the shop drying out, he had worked his sick out completely.
LIFE ON THE LAKE
When Bobbie and I returned to Byron in 1986, we purchased an old cabin almost directly across the lake from your and Dorothy’s lake home. Although our lake properties were opposite in just about every way, we had many great times, and made lasting memories putting in and taking out docks ( is it mandatory to wait for the first thin layer of ice before pulling docks in the fall?) playing with assorted boats (catamarans are definitely easier to turn over than they are to set back up!) and sharing good times on and around the water. Long before we owned property on the lake, you located and helped me obtain the hydroplane. I remember one time just after we installed a homemade ski-tow bar in your little boat. While learning to use it on the James, we managed to turn the boat completely over! I told the guys around, “we better get this back on the water before Craig gets home from town, only to look up and see you driving along the top of the dike! Thankfully we all survived to this very day!
It was my joy and great privilege to serve in a leadership role at Byron Bible Camp with two of my brothers. I learned a few things in the “camping” schools I attended, but very few, when compared to the things I learned from both of you. From you, I learned among other things, to seek for a sense of excellence, to use professional continuing education opportunities, and to value the “help mate” that Abba has given to me. Some of the busiest times and best memories come from planning for and celebrating BBC’s 50th Jubilee.
BBC AFTER CRAIG
When you resigned and I became director of the camp, I was very concerned about how it would go with you living so near the camp. I have said this before, but want to say it again here. I’m sure you often felt we were making mistakes in the way we did things after you left. Thank you for never giving me the feeling that you were 2nd guessing me. Thanks too for the nearly unconditional access that you gave BBC to your property at the lake.
THE GREAT FLOOD
The flood fight of 1997 and it’s aftermath will always occupy a large portion of my memory. The entire family came together in many wonderful ways during that time. You and Dorothy stood as the first “fall back” position. I remember going back down to the retreat center in the storm the night before the water came in and putting things up to try to save them. I remember driving through a blizzard on Sunday to find that indeed the water had come in. Thanks for “being there” when it seemed we could find no “good news”.
ON LEADING THE FAMILY
Thankfully, being # 6 in a family of 8 and the youngest boy, I have not had to find out what it meant to be “the oldest”. I have on several occasions, however been impressed by your leadership of the EC Harmon tribe. I remember being by dad’s casket with just us guys and hearing you say “we are the Harmon men now”. You showed us how to keep the “siblings” in line when we brought our “girl friends” home. And started the practice of going to a “distant land” for a quality wife! More recently, I remember talking to you about the sense that Bobbie and I had that we missed the “blessing” of ministry in Christian Camping. Your encouragement was that if that is what we felt, we should seek to return to working with a Christian camp ministry. How thankful we are that Abba led us to Lost River Retreat Center in Wonderful West Virginia. Thanks for being a good leader, not only in what you say, but in how you live!
HAVE A WONDERFUL BIRTHDAY!
JOEL & BOBBIE
THE ABBA KIDS