Aaron Galonsky

Those of us who call ourselves Unitarians came to Unitarianism by various channels. Not many of us were born and raised Unitarians.

My Lutheran-raised wife Marion learned of it from Max Otto, a University of Wisconsin philosophy professor, and in 1950 she told me about it. Fairly soon I became an atheist Jewish Unitarian. When we moved to East Lansing, Michigan in 1964 we joined the Unitarian Church there.

In January, 2003, without help from Darwin, we mutated into snowbirds and nested in Sandestin. On the first Sunday we drove to the phone-book address of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Emerald Coast and found, not a little house where a fellowship met, but this beautiful place with lots of people buzzing about.

After the service we were surprised and pleased to find food with the coffee. And although we are kind and gentle people, and try not to stand out, we were noticed and befriended immediately. Dar Kayuha was the first to find Marion, and John Lindegren was the first to welcome me. Sometimes opposites attract but this time it was the reverse. John and I are both physicists, and Dar is just as kind and gentle as Marion.

So, as we say in physics, the initial conditions were set. In Newtonian mechanics, the initial conditions of a set of objects completely determine their future course. Oh, “you physicists” you’ll say, “humans are more than objects.” Of course! But that law operates amongst us humans too, we just call it “the first impression.” In here the good first impression was not contradicted by the future.

One of the specific personal benefits of the UUFEC for us is that it is our club. For our first four winters we rented in Sandestin. We liked Sandestin, but when we bought a place, we bought it in Niceville so that we could be close to here. Although I once did get mail from Uncle Sam that began with the word, “Greetings,” I remained a lifelong civilian. So we don’t have the retired military camaraderie. I have played golf a few times, and our house in Niceville is near a golf course, but I am not a golfer. So we are not part of a golfer’s clubhouse society. For us, this church is our club.