Here’s Hal with his younger brother, Warren, father of Untours’ General Manager Brian Taussig-Lux.
Hal grew up in an evangelical Christian family that believed in “the Rapture.” He tried hard to share his family’s beliefs, but couldn’t. When he was about 13 years old and found himself alone milking the cows, he thought the Rapture had happened and that he was indeed left behind. Terror struck him. He ran faster then he ever had back to his house and found his family at the kitchen table. All was well……..at least for the moment.
Dear friend Dee Dee Risher reflected on this experience of Hal’s, and wrote him the following poem 7 years ago.
The Trumpet of God
For Hal on his 80th birthday
I always see you there,
Like a still life,
A young boy running back from
The barn, the sweet hay
Stuck to your shirt, the low trumpet
An echo haunting those Colorado mountains.
Yard, porch, house deserted,
No cousin or kin in sight,
And your mouth flies into your throat.
The milk pail in your hand sloshes until you have
Presence of mind to set it down
So you can run faster toward the light in the house,
Toward someone who might still be here,
All the while certain that the unfamiliar sound
Heralded the rapture,
The moment everyone you knew
Had been living toward —
When the godly would be snatched up
And the others left behind, nonplussed.
You had all read the Bible,
Imagined how it would happen;
The long, slow call
Of the trumpet of the Lord,
How one would be taken
And the other left;
That moment when everyone would
Know for certain
Who was truly righteous.
Two would be pitching hay
And abruptly one would find himself alone, midsentence.
Two would be making supper –
One cutting biscuits, the other shucking corn,
Talking about what was making in the garden –
And suddenly one would be left
Bending over the floured board.
Finally the call had come and you ran out
To find yourself alone.
Never once had you thought
You would not be taken;
Or what those who remained
Were going to do.
Left to face the Great Tribulation
As Paradise moved on without them.
Now, at eighty,
You tell the story laughing,
But cannot shake the stark terror in the eyes
Of the small boy left behind.
His slight form the center
Around which turns
The barns, the house, the fenced pastures,
The mountains looming in
Like a trap,
Like all he has ever known
Or wanted to know.
Then the new locomotive
Blows again its long low whistle
That echoes like the trumpet of God,
And he is suddenly released back
To his ordinary life,
Limp with relief.
Yet somehow never again
At ease with the familiar,
Now always looking beyond the turn
In the dirt road,
Or leaning out over a precipice
Tracing the path of the train
To the horizon; out of the mountains;
Listening to the trumpet calling, calling,
Calling his name;
Show me the path,
Strange though it may be. ‘
Dee Dee Risher