I was born seventy-four years ago to a middle class family in a small Virginia town with a long history of traditional values. I was blessed with two living grandparents nearby and some education-oriented cousins who kept in touch. Both my grandmother and my cousin encouraged me to read and to learn to think for myself. I had good friends and we watched out for each other. I’ll be seeing some of them this weekend for the reunion of my high school class of 1960.
I was not and honor student or the first in the family to attend a university, but I was the first to obtain a degree, a B.S. in History from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blackburg, VA (an even smaller town than my home town). Virginia Tech, or V.P.I. as it was known then, was nearly all male. The faculty-student ratio, at least in the new History Department, was around 14-1 in the advanced level courses. My advisor used his contacts at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, where I received both an M.A. and a Ph.D. I won’t mislead you. It was very hard work but I got through it, I think largely because my university career was interrupted by two years in the Army, one of which was served in Qui Nhon-by-the-Sea (a seriously corrupted naming based upon English tradition).
Even there I was fortunate. My undergraduate advisor insisted, over my strenuous protests, that I be assigned to the Army’s Adjutant General Corp, in which the greatest usual danger was hemorrhoids. I have kept up with three of the people I knew there, one of whom remains one of my closest and most-beloved friends, who now lives in South Carolina. We’ve only been in the same place three times since we last saw each other in VietNam in 1971 but we have kept in touch by letter, email and phone, and by a certain unconscious awareness of each other. The other two are in California and Florida. By the grace of God none of the three of us was injured in any way, either physically or emotionally.
I have had three secular occupations, in two of which I wrote books which are still available on Amazon.com, and in one of which I learned to fix most things that need doing around the house. I came late to ordination into the priesthood and was fortunate again in the support received from bishops and fellow clergy. It worked out largely because the little parish to which I belonged lost its priest and the parish would have folded without someone to lead it. I never imagined that ordination would lead to the Anglican Internet Church online ministry of which this blog is a part. And to the publication of 12 books, now available in both paperback and Kindle editions from our Virtual bookstore (https://www.amazon.com/author/ronald-e-shibley).
I was fortunate again to have married well, had two children and five grandchildren. We My wife and I reside in our “beach house” in Mechanicsville. Out the back door is The Dock of the Bay (complete with rope hausers drilled through 4 x 4 posts), from which we can look out over the five waterponds and across a spectacular array of petunias set on columns around the edges of the paved areas adjacent to the Dock of the Bay. The 3/4 acre lot is completely surrounded by trees and hedges, offering near complete privacy. Corkie and I have joked that people pay a lot of money per night in hotels and resorts to have such a fine view.
On the eve of my 74th birthday I am fortunate indeed.
Thanks so much to all of you who have expressed interest in or supported the Anglican Internet Church ministry. May God continue to bless each of you in all that you do in His Name. Amen. Glory be to God for all things! Amen!