Archive for May, 2010

TELEPHONE POLES & STREET LIGHTS

Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

Glancing out the window this morning, I see nothing but darkness. I mean, it’s really dark. Because of the clouds and general overcast conditions, not a single star could be found. And the smilin’ face of the man in the moon was no where to be seen.

But then I remembered that just the other day, the streets of our neighborhood were crowded and busy with workers installing new telephone poles for our street lights. That’s what we used to call ‘em back home at Route 4 – telephone poles – even though they weren’t used for telephones, or telephone wires, until much later.  

But the Rural Electrification Act, or something like that, strung their wires on those telephone poles down the side of that dirt road to our farm. And because of the REA, we had the privilege of doing our homework on the kitchen table after the supper dishes were done and the plastic table cloth was wiped off.

Many times Daddy reminded us how lucky we were to have that 40-watt light bulb up there in that 16-foot ceiling. With that long string and a heavy metal washer tied at the end, he’d always say ‘last one out, turn out the light.’ And, you’ll just have to take my word for this, you absolutely did not want that light left on when Mother got up at 4:00am the next morning to start cooking breakfast!

Half-way through a hearty breakfast of cathead biscuits and saw mill gravy, a country boy’s stomach would do back-flips when Daddy said, “OK, boys, who was the last one in the kitchen last night?” And for whoever that lucky soul was, his day started on a downhill slide with a trip to the woodshed!

And speaking of downhill, something happened one day that made us boys know that God liked country boys. We had been in the woods cuttin’ and loadin’ pulpwood from the time we got home from school till about dark-thirty. And, you know, there were no street lights on those telephone poles back then.

Daddy was gunnin’ the motor in that pulpwood truck for all it would do. And just as he came out of the woods, he made a sharp left turn onto the dirt road behind the barn. Well, glory be! He always made us stack the pulpwood way above the cab. ‘Gotta have a full load,’ he’d say. But when he turned too quickly to the left, the chain slipped on the load.

The overload to the right caused that ol’ truck to slide off into the ditch. And all that pulpwood came rolling off. Smack-dab into one of those telephone poles carrying the electricity to the 40-watt light bulb in the kitchen of our farmhouse.

We had to bite our lips all during supper in the dark that night to keep from snickerin’. And then we had to take turns holding the flashlight for Daddy to write notes to all our teachers explaining why we had not done our homework!

So you can see why I had a little grin on my face when I saw the guys puttin’ up new telephone poles for some of the street lights in our neighborhood last week. And you can understand my concern the first time I read in the Bible that there would not be any telephone poles or street lights in Heaven.

Now I’ll admit, it doesn’t say that in so many words. But when John is describing Heaven in the Book of Revelation, he did say there will be no night there (Rev.21:25). No need then for street lights. And no stumblin’ around in the dark, bumping into things. And no need for telephone poles to carry the electricity to the house.

In fact, the power supply will be so great, Heaven won’t even need the sun or the moon to shine their light on it. The glory of the Lord is all the light we’ll ever need on Heaven’s main street. And the lamp providing that power is the pure and spotless Lamb of God, our Savior, Jesus Christ (Rev.21:23).

He’s the light of the world. And if we let Him walk with us through the darkness of this world here on earth, we’ll never have to do our homework in the dark when we get to Heaven.

Come to think of it, if you haven’t done your homework by then, it’ll be too late!  

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HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

You never learned to drive a car, but you were so proud when we did. You never took a trip on an airplane to far away places. You never went online and surfed the world wide web, but you taught us that we could go anywhere and do anything we wanted to do.

You never went over fifty miles from home; in fact, the only times you were not at home were when you went to the grocery store, or took us to church.

You never had a microwave oven, but you bore, reared, and raised nine children on cornbread and cathead biscuits cooked in a wood stove. You made sure that we never went hungry, but you taught us to always be hungry to learn.

You spent almost seven years of your life being pregnant, but not once did we ever hear you complain. Your health care plan covered one hundred percent of our aches and pains, splinters and scratches, stumped toes and skinned knees. Without a co-pay or an HMO.

You picked cotton and tobacco; you hoed the beans and corn and maters; and you taught us that hard work hardly ever killed anybody.

You never had to remember your user name or password, but you taught us that a good name was a treasure. You never knew about sending a text, but when you had something to say, we got the message loud and clear.

You were never gave a presentation in front of an audience, but the front porch was your stage where we heard the greatest Message the world has ever known as you rocked us to sleep singing Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me.

You never tweeted or had your face put in a book; with your life, you just taught the Good Book and why it’s important to have our name in the Lamb’s Book of Life (Revelation 21:27).

You’ve moved from the dirt road to the streets of gold, so I imagine you’ll just spend the day worshipping and praising the Lord. And visiting all your brothers and sisters like we used to do down here at the family reunions. And while you’re visiting, please say hello to Marie, my mother-in-law, and tell her we said Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s Mother’s Day in Heaven, and although you didn’t have to get a bunch of country boys and girls up and ready for church, I‘m pretty sure that George, Oliver, and Eddie are giving you Mother’s Day hugs in person today.

The rest of your boys and girls send their love in this knee-mail!

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FLIP FLOPS OR BOOTS?

Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

I really wasn’t shopping for shoes. I was just taking a shortcut through the shoe department to get to the restroom as quickly as possible. Have you ever wondered about the so-called experts who tell us that we need to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day? Anyway, something caught my eye, but I was in a big-time hurry, if you catch my drift. So I made a mental note to come back to the shoe department later and check it out.

Upon closer examination, I discovered that what had caught my eye was a small tab sticking up out of every box of men’s work shoes. In big, bold letters, it literally screamed at anyone passing through the shoe department – STEEL TOES!!!

And, in the blink of an eye, that little 2-inch tab gave me a wheelbarrow ride back down that familiar ol’ dirt road to Route 4, Seneca, SC. Life on a farm in the 50’s dictated what you wore on your feet. I know you’ve probably seen pictures of country boys runnin’ around barefooted with their fishin’ pole on their shoulder.

That’s not exactly how it played out in real life. I never liked going barefooted. And still don’t even today. Call me a tender foot, if you like, but those rusty nails, tree roots, and sharp rocks can make life miserable for a farm boy with no shoes. Not to mention snakes and spiders and lizards when you went to the woods.

That guy on the tv commercial might not have ever left home without his credit card, but for me, I didn’t leave the ol’ farmhouse unless my brogans were laced up tight. Metal clips and all. Even if we were just goin’ skinny-dippin’ in Coneross Creek, we still wore our brogans to get there. You never know, you just might step on a copperhead sunning himself on the creek bank.   

So it was with not-so-fond memories of farm footwear that I decided to come back later. I would like to try on a pair of those size 10-and-a-half work boots with STEEL TOES!! When I wasn’t drinkin’ 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Don’t think it would have been cool to be seen hurrying through electronics and automotive in my socks!

No matter what kind of job you’re doing, it pays to have the right kind of shoes on your feet. That’s why I don’t understand the thinkin’ behind this new wave of footwear called flip-flops. It seems like everywhere I go people are shufflin’ around with a piece of rubber held on their feet with a strap wrapped around their big toes. I guess there aren’t any copperheads or tree roots where they’re goin’. Can you just imagine shimmin’ up a pine tree to pick muscadines with flip-flops on your feet?

So it is with a reasonable degree of confidence that I can say that I never saw any flip-flops around the farm. I bet they didn’t even have any on the mill hill, either. But I know one mill-hill girl that’s got a slew of ‘em. I mean, a different color to match whatever she’s wearin’. Pink, green, blue, gold, brown, red – you name any color you want, and chances are pretty good you’ll find flip-flops in that color her closet. And I guess that’s OK if you’re just shufflin’ around. Or casual wear, as they call it in today’s fashion world.

But there are some jobs where you just don’t want your toes hangin’ out there in the open. Take, for instance, when I was runnin’ my weed eater. My old one just had one little string, and I could step on it and choke the motor down. But this new, high-powered one has a string comin’ out both sides. And it goes about a gazillon miles an hour! I sure wouldn’t be caught runnin’ that thing wearin’ flip flops.

I usually just wear a pair of ol’ worn-out discolored sneakers when I do yard work. But a recent experience with a wide-open weed eater leads me to believe that I probably ought to go back to the store and try on those ten-and-a-halfs with STEEL TOES. Especially since that sneaker that I had on my left foot now looks like a flip flop after an up close and personal encounter with the weed eater! But no harm, no foul. Lesson learned. Dangerous jobs require protective shoes firmly planted and sturdy. After all, when your feet start slippin’ and slidin’, you’re probably goin’ down.

The Apostle Paul knew somethin’ about wearin’ the right kind of equipment. Especially when you take on the devil and all his schemes. Paul advised the early Christians (and us) that we always need to wrap ourselves in the strength and power of the Lord (Ephesians 6:10-18). He compared God’s power to a suit of armor. And part of that armor is some heavy-duty work boots that allow us to ‘stand our ground’ and be the one ‘still standing’ after goin’ to battle with the devil. Or as Paul says in v.15, with our feet firmly grounded in the gospel.

This is just me, but I don’t think flip flops, in any color, go well with a suit of armor. I mean, helmets and belts and swords and breastplates aren’t much help if the devil knocks you off your feet. So, if we feel ourselves slippin’ and slidin’ in the face of his evil schemes, tricks, lies, and temptations, just lace up the work boots with STEEL TOES and give him a swift kick back to where he came from. Standing firm for Jesus in a world gone mad is no place for flip flops and sneakers.

Got your boots on?

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