Where does it come from?


September 23- When I turned to our opening hymn in church this morning, for some reason, after the words, “Joyful joyful, we adore thee,” I hummed, “Strangers in a Distant Land.”

Those were not the words written in the hymnal - not what the congregation sang.

Where did that come from? I wondered. Then for some reason the words, “Agosto en Roma es muy caliente,” ran through my mind.

I looked out the window and when I did it came to me; years ago, something was going on in my family’s lives at this time. I had a sense of being far away and as the congregation prayed, I floated off to another time and country.

I was in Rome, Italy, with my daughter Pat, who has since passed away.

Son Bill and his wife Cecelia were having a baby, but the baby was not due until late November, so Pat and I had been comfortable leaving home for an overseas trip.

Pat had never been out of the country so I had made all our plans. We had Eurail passes and backpacks; no reservations.

“Where are we staying?” Pat had asked when we stepped off the plane in Frankfurt, Germany.

I took out our Europe on $5 a day guidebook.

“I have no idea. We’ll just pick a place and catch the next train to wherever. It’ll be your job to figure out “Mother! What in heaven’s name have you gotten me into?” she asked, her voice loaded with distress and anxiety.

In all honesty I must say, she asked that question more than once on our journey.

“Sept 23rd, 2018,” I said the words beneath my breath, closing the hymnal. “I’m in the here and now. In Jackson.” But my mind had strayed. Pat and I were in a pension in Rome.


We had  been on the train from Florence the afternoon before and gotten to bed late, so both of us were tired.

Before daylight, I had felt a heavy weight on my chest.

Restless, I got up, raised the window and leaned out. The early morning was a warm embrace, but I had a feeling that all was not right. For some unknown reason, I sensed what it was and awakened my daughter. “Cecelia’s having the baby. We need to call home.”

“What are you talking about?” she murmured. “Her baby’s not due until late November. Two months from now.” Pat rolled over and looked at me. “It’s not even six o’clock yet,” she said.

“I’m worn out. You almost got us arrested in Florence yesterday afternoon. Arguing with a policeman in the train station.” She rubbed her eyes. “Go to sleep.”

I couldn’t. A few hours later there was a heavy knock; someone slid a piece of paper under the door.

Son Bill had called. Bryan Hooper Boggan had been born. Two months early.  He was in an incubator.


Let me say this up front. I have no sense of ESP, not even sure what it is.

But this morning in church, all these years later, as we stood for another hymn and sang the words, “Arm me with watchful care, Help me to watch and pray,” I remembered something similar had happened one other time.

Willard and I were on a Balkan River Cruise.  Before we left for the trip I went to the Orchard to tell my mother goodbye. Her last words to me had been, “Have a good time, darling.”

I’ll never see you again, I thought, but told myself, Stop it.

Toward the end of our trip, as the ship came into Passau, Germany, a premonition that I needed to call home had come over me.

“Willard, I’ve got to see the Captain. Something’s wrong with Mama.”

“Lottie Bee.” My ever practical husband shook his head. “You’re just tired.”

“Be that as it may. We need to get home.”

This was over 14 years ago; the boat did not have the electronic systems most of them now have; the captain was unable to contact Mississippi.

A few hours later the River Countess docked in Passau, Germany. We were then bused to Prague and checked into a hotel. Our room not ready, having no idea what I was doing, I left the hotel and wandered the streets of Prague until I found an Internet Café.

When I booted up the computer, of all things, brother Alvin happened to be on line.

“Mother’s in intensive care,” was his message.

A few hours later, Willard and I were on our way home. Somewhere in flight over the Atlantic, I knew she was gone.

Now I was back in real time, 2018 as we bowed our heads for the closing prayer at Northminster Baptist Church. 

Life’s little mysteries. I don’t know how or why those feelings and thoughts came from on both those days, but they happened. And, one of them was when I was in Rome with Pat.

September 23rd, -2018- Happy 30th , Bryan Hooper Boggan.

Today, September 25th, signing off on this article for the Sun, I remembered the Postlude that was played as our church service ended, “Let All Creation Dance.”

September 25— my beloved Pat’s birthday.

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Cathy Haynie, head of school at Christ Covenant School, is serving JAAIS (Jackson Area Association of Independent Schools) as president this year.