The biggest excitement in our town was Crazy Days in the summer and high school and college sporting events. One year, in the 80s, I think, Miss South Dakota was from Madison.
It was a lovely place to grow up. Many of my friends still live in and around the area because it is a great place to raise a family.
Being on this side of the world, thousands of miles from this idyllic town, probably makes me even more nostalgic. But, Tuesday (Wednesday, here) I was reminded of all of these wonderful memories.
As I started to read facebook updates and listen to the local radio station streamed online, it was like a movie plot unfolding. Except these were real people with names and faces I knew, personally.
What an outpouring of love for our high school English teacher and his family as I read one facebook status after another. The fond memories. The encouraging words. Lives touched. A town united.
Yes, we are like any other town and have our share of differences. However, we are also like many other towns when one of our own is hurting, we join together and help out.
Honestly, before yesterday, if you had asked me about my 9th grade English class, I would have told you I didn't remember much from that class except that our teacher scared the tar out of me. Thankfully, I also go to know him in other settings that helped to change that image! But, as I listen to friends and think about Mr. Johnson more deeply, I am reminded of a man who loved his family, loved his job, and cared for others.
Mr. Johnson will be missed. His family will receive love and support from friends and fellow Madisonites. Because, deep down, we humans want to share love.
Thank you for praying for our town and the Johnson family.