I attended a funeral last Saturday. It was for James Binckley, the father of my buddy Jim Binckely. The funeral was held at Christ Church “New” Brick church on Oakland Mills Road. Ironically, for a guy who personified the typical early Columbian he spent his last repose at a church that predated Columbia instead of one of the “interfaith” centers that Columbia pioneered.
Jim and Dottie Binckley were amongst the first families of Longfellow in the Village of Harpers Choice. They bought a new Ryland home on Lighthouse Court in the late sixties for around $33,000.00 and raised six kids on that prototypical Columbia cul-de-sac. The family grew as Columbia grew.
I knew three of the Binckley bunch, Jim, Dave and Betsy. But if you knew any of the kids you certainly knew their dad. He was one of those dads who loved to engage his kids’ friends. If he busted your chops it meant he liked you.
But my acquaintance with Jim’s dad was peripheral at best. That was made very clear to me as I perused the two tables of memorabilia that his family assembled for the reception following the funeral. Amongst the items on display were his college yearbook, his wedding photo, newspaper articles, golf memorabilia and other physical representations of a full and varied life.
Yet what really struck were the photos. There were the early group family photos when the kids were growing up followed by the later photos with an ever increasing clan of spouses, children and grandchildren. In all them there was Jim’s dad sitting in the middle, smiling, happy, and proud.
It struck me that this indeed was the true sum of the man.
An Empty Book
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