Wayne Weekly “A Morning to Be Remembered”

Written by on July 2, 2018

Maybe one of the hottest days of the year, perhaps even a record breaker. July 2, 2018 may become somewhat known for that someday during a weather recap on TV or radio, or an on-line forecast.

But this July 2, 2018 has more significance for former Mars Hill announcer and operations manager Mark Hard. For Mark it might be remembered for the day he laid the earthly body of “Poppy” to rest. Clarence Hard had passed into the arms of his Savior on June 28.

Poppy was, no is, Mark’s dad. Many of us here at Mars Hill were well acquainted with Poppy. He was Mark’s best friend, very often his companion, his encourager, and advisor.

We were all given an artificial poppy, you know the kind you receive when you give a donation to the veterans. Mark’s wife Nancy made sure we got one to remember Poppy by. Son Eldon and daughter Abigail stood by taking it all in surrounded by memories of a special grandfather who loved them.

Poppy regularly attended Mars Hill Network events with Mark. He was Mark’s helper when Mark had to set up Mars Hill displays, or a sound system for an event or singing engagement. Many of us spent a good amount of time chatting with Poppy. He was a gracious person who always had advice…or positive word to say. I remembered times when we all chuckled with Poppy over something.

The service at the gravesite was conducted under a shade tree adjacent to the grave tent. It seemed fitting. Pastor Mark Graham delivered a great message and wove in the gospel beautifully. Pastor Graham made it clear, Poppy was in Heaven, and there is a way for everyone in attendance to find the same path to eternity with Christ. The a time of prayer and a committal of what remained of Poppy until his transformed, perfected body would merge once again with Poppy’s spirit for eternity.

It was Mark’s turn.

Mark hadn’t changed too much since the time he left us at Mars Hill. His hair was now white (join the club, Mark!) but he was still Mark Hard, and there he was standing in front of the pewter colored casket that held his beloved Dad’s earthly vessel.

Mark spoke so beautifully about what Poppy meant to him and the family. He reflected on Poppy’s recalling of special moments that he and Mark had. Most were just regular things like ball games, Mars Hill events, grocery shopping, clothes shopping on Saturday mornings, having coffee together, traveling in the car to Niagara Falls with Mark and Mark’s son Eldon…talking non-stop to make sure Mark didn’t nod off at the wheel. Just everyday occurrences made special because they made special memories of the Father Mark loved. Mark told us that Poppy was always with him when he had to undergo medical treatments, always present, always available, always counseling.

Mark spoke with tears in the closing minutes, urging those in attendance to be sure they were ready for eternity. Mark struggled to talk, but said, “please, please, please”.

Dawn Sessler, Mike Dwinell, and I said our good-byes to Mark and the family. Mark and I hugged as brothers in the Lord and as friends.

When I arrived back in the office I took the poppy that Nancy had given me and tacked it to our bulletin board. A fitting reminder of Poppy…on this very hot July 2, 2018.

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