A week ago I had to travel to Ringling, Oklahoma to attend the funeral of my great-aunt. She was married to my uncle for more than fifty years and lived in Ringling most of her life. I have many family members that still live either in Ringling or little towns nearby.
Ringling is a small town with a population at last count of 1037. The main industry in Ringling is cattle ranching with the secondary industry being gas and oil. Ringling was named after John Ringling who was the founder of Ringling Brothers Circus. John was one of seven Ringling brothers and was the fifth of the seven sons. Five of the brothers eventually merged with Barnum & Bailey Circus. Ringling Brothers Circus first started in 1870 and the first show cost the grand total of one penny for a ticket. Ringling Brothers spent some of the winter months in the town of Ringling and often gave away free tickets to the townspeople.
Probably one of the biggest places to hang out in Ringling is Moore Drug. There just isn’t a lot to do in the small town of Ringling. My mom said that back in the day when she was a little girl that she and her relatives used to come to town and just hang on the street to visit with each other – just to have something to do.
Ringling is located about thirty miles north of the Texas border and thirty miles to the west of Ardmore, Oklahoma. It is situated just to the north of US Highway 70 and State Highway 89.
Ringling does have a pretty good football team with state champion teams in 89, 92, 03, and 2012. I suppose football gives the locals something to cheer about on those lonesome Friday nights when you want to get away from those oil derricks and cattle farms.
I had an opportunity while I was in Ringling to visit with some family members who I had not seen in more than forty years. A lot can change in forty years. I was able to spend some time with some of my cousins prior to the funeral and to just generally catch up on life. One of my cousins asked me if I had a family and what I had been doing with my life. I told her what I was doing career wise and a little about my family who she had never seen or met. I asked her about hers. It really made me stop and think about life, as funerals do sometimes. We step out of our day-to-day routines and look not at life in the present, but at the conclusion, or the summation. The preacher tries to say all the good things about a person’s life during a memorial service, where they’ve lived, how many children they had, grand-children, and great-grand children. Maybe they say something about where they worked or the things they liked to do for hobbies, or what church they attended. They might even try to get those in attendance to laugh by saying something funny about you.
I wonder how it will be at the end of it all for me? I don’t mean what the pastor will say or what other’s will say about what I did in my life. Sure that would be kind of fun to attend my own funeral just to see what happens – like Mark Twain wrote of Tom Sawyer in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer”.
What I really want to know is, what GOD will say about me at the end of it all. Did I do the things he wanted me to do in life while I was living in the body he gave to me? What did I do in relationship to what I knew to be right or wrong in life? Did I do his will? Could I have done more? Could I have served him more? What about you?