Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Hall of Fame: Terri Johnson

I have always been a dreamer.  I love thinking about the future in the wildest ways possible, dreaming up things I would love to do or be given the opportunity.  One such dream did, for many years, involve buying the Betsy B.  The Betsy B is a 3-floor house that sleeps up to 45 people located on the oceanfront in North Myrtle Beach, SC.  We first discovered it as a place to stay with a group of friends from the youth group I was in at New Garden, but it later became sacred ground for groups from Springfield Friends Meeting and First United Methodist Kissimmee, and you will hear many more Betsy B stories along the way.  I dreamed of buying the house and turning it into a retreat center for church groups.  And in one room of the Betsy B would be my Youth Group Hall of Fame.

The ESPN personalities Mike and Mike In the Morning often discuss the topic "What makes someone a Hall of Famer?"  There are of course many answers you could give, but one of their criteria always stands out for me.  When you say the name, do you immediately think "Hall of Fame?"  If they don't pass the "do they feel like they belong" test, then it is difficult for any amount of statistics to overcome that.  When I begin to think about who belongs in my Youth Group Hall of Fame it is the same way.  Some people are in great stories and were special in many ways, but I just don't think "Hall of Fame" when I say their names.  Which brings me to Terri Johnson.

Terri Johnson (pictured) was a part of the New Garden group in the late 70's and early 80's.  In many ways she was the heart of that group.  It was a group dominated by strong male personalities and characters, but Terri always more than held her own.  She would do verbal battle with the boys and not back down, with her ever-present partners Beth Edgerton and Kathryn Burris by her side.  She was a brilliant student who went on to become a lawyer.  She was an attractive young lady who's brown eyes once prompted Alan Brown to write a song about her- She Has Eyes Like My Dog (the song was never finished, fortunately!).  When the guys would give her trouble, she, Beth and Kathryn would taunt them, with one of them saying in a brash tone "in the way" and another responding "I'd say!"  But the truth is I don't have great Terri stories to share.  I don't have one memory that stands above the rest.  I just know that she was a great leader in that group, a great friend to many of those students, and a great friend to me.  If I were starting a youth group today I would gladly take 20 just like her.  We shared suffering through high school French with the same inept teacher (several years apart) and would often mispronounce French words to each other, only to have Terri always respond "that's French, ya' know!"  And later on, as she worked at Quaker Lake and as she worked in downtown Greensboro and become good friends with Marilyn, my respect for her continued to grow.

So when I say Terri Johnson Harris, I think "Hall of Fame."  No questions asked, she would have been the first inductee.  My chances of buying the Betsy B are pretty slim, since it would cost more than I made in 28 years of youth ministry, and my current work as a Dad and house husband will not make up the difference!  The Youth Group Hall of Fame exists only in my dreams, and in my memories, because I have been incredibly blessed by God to know so many students, most of whom are Hall of Famers, and many of whom you have already read about or will read about in the days to come.  I continue to pray that God will hold them close each and every day.  Until next time, "au revoir."  That's French, ya' know!

Because of Jesus,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading,and thanks for your comment!