Eugene Peterson: ‘I Am Still Eugene Peterson’

"I am still Eugene Peterson."

There is simply so much to say, but I find it all increasingly difficult to put into words.

Life is full of those little moments that build and shape a person’s character. I guess what I am trying to say is this: my interview with Jonathan Merritt did not go as I had hoped, that is for sure. I want you to know, however, that I have not changed. I am still the friendly, bearded Eugene Peterson you all have grown to love and admire. I still love my cats, my sister Arnallia, my wife Jan, and my large boot-cut jean collection. I am still Eugene Peterson.

Back in High School, I had this friend named…ah…ummm…hrrumph.

Well, you…you remember him — he was… Judith’s little nephew. The twins that lived in that two-story house down on Randolph Street. Well, he was the one who got pneumonia and missed school for a while.

Ahhhh….

Ummm…

Well anyways. What was I saying?

*Snort*

Margaret Poltman took me to all my baseball practices, and I used to love that truck of hers. Maybe it was a Chevy? Or a Ford? Anyways, Judith’s nephew, what was his name? He was so articulate and so well-read, he was such a fantastic leader. Margaret would take me to my baseball practices in that truck of hers and we’d see Richard Mellville mowing lawns. You remember Richard, don’t you? He was the boy in my class who wore the glasses and couldn’t throw a baseball to save his life. Anyways Richard always talked about the war and how he couldn’t wait to get out on the battlefield and kill some…

Anyways…what I was trying to say was, when I got a little bit older, I helped my Father in the machine shop, cleaning up the place, sweeping the floors — I came home with grease all over my hands and Mother would be so angry at me. She’d tell me that if I got grease on her walls I wouldn’t get to play with…uh…well…

Ah…

Well you remember him don’t you? The boy who lived over on Randolph Street. The two-story house. Well, you…you remember him — he was… Judith’s little nephew. Well, he was the one who got pneumonia and missed school for a while. After all those years, I still love my cats, my sister Arnallia, my wife Jan, and my large boot-cut jean collection.

I remember Ron Eckleman used to help me milk the cows in the morning and see to it that the chickens were well-fed. Ron was…

Uh…

He was…

He was Phyllis’ little brother, but he loved working out on the farm with me. We had a blast together. He was so articulate and so well-read, he was such a fantastic leader. He would take me to my baseball practices in that Chevy truck of his and we’d see Richard Mellville mowing lawns.

Like I said, life is full of those little moments that build and shape a person’s character. I guess what I am trying to say is this: my interview with Jonathan Merritt did not go as I had hoped, that is for sure. I want you to know, however, that I have not changed. I am still the friendly, bearded Eugene Peterson you all have grown to love and admire. I still love my cats, my sister Arnallia, my wife Jan, and my large boot-cut jean collection. I am still Eugene Peterson.

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