My grandparents, Robert Sinclair Swanson and Louise Mayhew Russell Swanson,  took for their motto the Bible verse, Romans 8:28; “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

It sounds like it means if you love God nothing bad will happen to you and we know that’s not true. Another translation says; “In all things God works for good”. That works for me.

My grandparents named their house in Sag Harbor 8:28, and had those numbers inscribed all over the place. There was also an 8:28 salad, which is much more delicious in memory than reality–it involves green Jello, canned pineapple, mayonnaise and cream cheese.

Although their address was simply Noyac Road, many people addressed their mail to

8:28 Noyac Road,

Sag Harbor, NY

Years later, when the post office actually did assign street numbers, they used 8:28 as their starting point.    I wonder how many residents of Noyac Road know that their address is based on a Bible verse.

That number has become a watchword for me, maybe even a mantra. When a clerk at the check- out said to me, “That’ll be $8.28”, I went straight home and called my grandmother.

And once when I was about to commit road rage over a parking space the dashboard clock, which was always silent, clicked loudly and I  saw that it said 8:28.


“OK,” I said, and took a deep breath and calmed down.


When our church called a new pastor I was asked to host a gathering in my home to greet him. I was offered several dates; of course I chose August 28 and it marked the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


August 28, 1963 is the date of the great March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream speech. Did Dr. King know the significance of the date when he planned the march? Who knows. But I’ll always have it in my mind.


Now whenever a digital clock tells me it’s 8:28 I take a moment to give thanks for all my blessings and that includes my friends–like you!


P.S.  My daughter read this and said that now she has a daughter she sees 8:28 all the time.  “I think it means that someone’s looking out for me,” she said.


P.P.S. I’m sending this out a little early in case Hurricane Irene causes you to lose power. As we wait for Irene to hit us I’m especially grateful for the scientists who devised ways to predict the weather, so that we can be ready.


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