My father, Victor Duerksen, turned 100 on September 6. The first of the Duerksens to reach that milestone, Dad’s alert, active, living in his own home, and even preached his “last” sermon at the Morro Bay, California church last Sabbath. How about that!
At his 100th birthday party last Sunday, Dad held court for six hours with fifty family members, a wild group that included grandkids, great-grandkids and enough cousins to staff an NFL team.
The kids acknowledged the “Grandpa” in the room, then attacked the mobile home park’s swimming pool with gusto. The rest of us listened to tales of homesteading in New Mexico, raising potatoes in California, fighting for the Allies in the Middle East, nursing in Colorado, and serving as hospital administrator for the church at four different institutions in America and Puerto Rico.
Then Dad would take a deep breath, reach for another chocolate, and tell about the days after retirement when he and my step-mother, Arlene, served as short-term “replacement missionaries” in Thailand, Japan, and Malaysia.
There’s a lot of living in a hundred years of life.
Many of us were with him in the small church at Morro Bay on Sabbath, swelling the congregation far beyond its "regulars." Dad preached about “Two Old Buzzards” who were sitting on a park bench reminiscing about the “good old days.” The Buzzards, in the end, agreed that only three things were really important in life: God’s love, forgiveness, and eternal life.