“Coming home from a Labor Day picnic out in the hills near Lake Elsinor, California, in 1928, these lines of doggerel germinated in my head and I could not get rid of them until I set them down on paper. But from that day to this I have never afflicted the public by putting them in print.”
Isaac Hiram Parkman
These are words my great grandfather, Isaac Hiram Parkman, wrote. He was called “Papa Nice” or “Uncle Hi” by family and “Hi” by his friends. I called him “Papa Nice”. I did not find out why he was called that until after his death. I never thought to ask.
Isaac H. Parkman had one published book that I know of. It was about the history of the canal system in Buckeye, Arizona. Papa Nice also wrote poems and short stories about life during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. He made scrapbooks of his writings.
I am lucky to own one of those scrapbooks. The scrapbooks are decorated with cutout photos from magazines, old greeting cards, etc. Papa Nice used whatever he had. He made these scrapbooks even when he was in his late 80’s and early 90’s. He lived to be 93.
Papa Nice spoke of sparing the public from his verse. It appears that he wrote for his own pleasure. I find his writing very interesting, especially for the historical and genealogical value. I read his poems periodically to remind myself of how life has changed in such a short period of time.
What really interests me is that he mentions verses that kept coming to him in his thoughts. These words would not go away until he did something with them. The words came as he was driving his car after a day of play with his family. Sometimes we get inspired at the strangest times. So when he got home he wrote the words down. He named the poem, “Modern Solitude”. The poem speaks of trying to find solitude for a family picnic in a place of beauty. In this poem Papa Nice spends the day looking for that solitude, but never finds it until he goes home.
Isn’t it funny how we get inspiration at the strangest times? We might be driving a car, taking a shower, or baking a cake. When the inspiration comes, we need to acknowledge it. When we get an idea, a thought, or words that seem to come from nowhere; we need to do something about it. We need to listen and trust our feelings and urges.
We need to use these times of inspiration to create. I feel that God sends the inspiration through the Holy Spirit. It is our job to use that inspiration to His glory, even if it is making a scrapbook of poems and stories that our grandchildren and great grandchildren will enjoy later in life.
Let us be ever mindful of the inspiration that flows through us. Help us to recognize inspiration when it comes and to use it to the best of our ability. Thank you for all the creative gifts you have given us. We want to serve you and do your will in all things.
In Christ’s name. Amen