This is a special Sunday at Highland as we welcome all the new students to ACU (as well as a few coming to Hardin-Simmons and McMurry). A whole sea of 18- and 19-year-old students and their families. Blog reader and long-time buddy David Underwood was kind enough to e-mail me a reminder that it was 30 years ago this month that we were freshmen at Harding. I responded that he surely meant 20. Maybe even 15. But not 30. The calendar, however, indicates that he is correct. It was August 1974 that I drove away from Estella Drive in Neosho, MO (where I was born and graduated) to head to Searcy in my little Ford Maverick. Much of the direction of my life flows from that moment. It was just a week or two after Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford became the 38th president of the United States (and just before President Ford turned around a gave him a full pardon). Hank Aaron had just broken Babe Ruth's record, hitting his 715th home run after enduring death threats from people who didn't want a black player to break the hallowed record. Televisions were turned to M.A.S.H., Sanford and Sons, The Jeffersons, and All in the Family -- and that wasn't on late-night reruns! Those shows were actually playing. And you didn't need an "oldies station" to listen to Elton John singing "B-B-B-Benny and the Jets," Grand Funk's "The Loco-Motion," Three Dog Night's "The Show Must Go On," BTO's "Taking Care of Business," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," Jimmy Buffett's "Come Monday," Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle," John Denver's "Annie's Song," Ray Stevens' "The Streak," or the Rolling Stones' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg." I'm sure I listened to my Stones' 8-track on my way there, only to be told quickly by an upperclassman that it was evil and I ought to burn it. It was the year of Godfather II (still one of my all-time favs) and Chinatown--to say nothing of those campy Mel Brooks' films, "Young Frankenstein" and "Blazing Saddles." A few memories of my first moments on Harding's campus: 1. It didn't seem as liberal as I'd been warned by my preacher back home. But what did I know? 2. I loved the preaching--Jim Woodroof, Jimmy Allen, Jerry Jones, and Neale Pryor. They inspired me from the first moment. 3. I really admired Cliff Ganus, Jr., the president of the school. It was quickly obvious that this was a gigantic man with a gigantic heart. 4. There were incredible girls everywhere. It was amazing. The jackpot. Mostly, I guess, I remember all the girls. Hey, I'd just turned 18 a couple weeks before. Not to get preachy or maudlin, but it is amazing how quickly life passes. Thirty years. "All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. . . . The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." I'm not a big reunion guy. But I do wonder where all those people who sat around me in chapel in the Administration auditorium are . . . how their lives have turned out . . . how they've offered and received love from spouses, children, and friends . . . how their faith has deepened (or vanished?) through the years.