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George and Ira Gershwin were brothers who wrote many classic songs, with George composing the music and Ira writing the lyrics.  The music ranged from jazz and popular songs to orchestral compositions, like Rhapsody in Blue, one of the greatest of the 1900’s.

Among their works were many love songs.  Some were about hopes, some about lost hope and some about memories.  The song, “You Can’t Take That Away From Me” was published in 1937, just a few months before George Gershwin died of cancer.  Frank Sinatra first sang it in the film “Shall We Dance”, but I like the version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong best.

All of the lyrics may not apply to this past week, but the overall theme applies.  In fact, I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about those words and the events of the past week.


We may never meet again

on that bumpy road to love

Still I’ll always, always keep the memory of


The way you hold your knife

The way we danced till three

The way you changed my life

No, no, they can’t take that away from me


After we left Cameron County on Wednesday afternoon, following the dedications of the two houses built in Laguna Heights, I had the sense that last week’s report was not really the end.  The memories and images formed during those three months were going to last a long time.

Indeed, there was continued work needed to prepare the houses for dedication, including installation of the Over-The-Range microwaves and cabinets, final paint touch-ups, power-washing the porches and ramp, plus cleaning the interior floors and then cleaning them again.  Once again, God had just the right people on hand to get these things done.

David from the Texas State MDS Unit came from his home, over an hour away, to spend three days with us. Carl G. came from PA to provide a wealth of experience gained from many times of service with MDS in Texas, Louisiana and Florida.  Jack and Inko stayed an additional week and provided good continuity at each of the houses they had worked on for the prior four weeks.  Don and Rachel from Kansas, arrived to take over project directing and getting the MDS base all sorted out, packed and loaded into the cargo trailer, pickups and vans to be removed to the Columbus warehouse.

As Wednesday arrived, it turned out to be the most perfect day for dedications.  In addition to the expected leaders from the Salvation Army, various neighbors, a few family members, and the eight MDS volunteers, there were several county and city officials as well as some school district officials.  I don’t recall ever seeing as many firemen, first responders and law enforcement people as were in attendance for both dedications.

As the dedications played out, I realized that ALL of these people had played a part in getting these two houses built.  The precinct constable was one of the first on the scene after the tornado, well before sunrise, doing whatever he possibly could to find survivors.  He knew these families.  The firemen responded quickly and helped in the rescue and recovery of survivors who were confused or trapped in the rubble. Others worked in the county and community to obtain the funds needed for the houses.

Each of these trained professionals and community officials had a vested interest in the plight of the families they had helped, and the dedication of these homes.  That sense of caring, protecting and providing remained embedded in each person and could not be taken away from them.

Similarly, I have memories that are locked in my mind. I will see Jack and Inko present the bibles to each family.  I will see Carl G and David reading the litany at the first MDS dedication either had attended.  I’ll see Laura working diligently to clean each window in the new houses as well as our late friend, Shirley, had done many times.  I’ll see Don presenting the cutting boards and explaining the MDS Kansas cabinet shop. I’ll see Rachel presenting the wallhangings crafted by women who will never work at a project.


Though by tomorrow you’re gone

The song has ended but as the songwriter wrote

The melody lingers on.


No, they can’t take that away from me


On the Road from the MDS Port Isabel project in Cameron County, Texas

Carl & Laura

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