Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

I saw some of those cute little solar-powered lights in the neighborhood the other night. Lots of folks have them in their yard around the sidewalk or beside the driveway. They store up the sun’s energy and then light our way when the sun goes to China or India or somewhere else on the other side of the world. Plus you have those daylight-producing street lights and night lights, too. But it was the glow of those little ankle-high solar lights that took me back home to Route 4 and the twilight scene around the old barn and farmhouse.

Even after a hard day’s work in the field, there were still chores to do before gathering around that long kitchen table to enjoy a bowl of Mother’s cornbread and cow’s milk. And now that I think about it, we could be so tired from working in the field that we couldn’t remember how to put one foot in front of the other. But, boy, just get me to the house and let the games begin. See there were no nightlights, street lights, and for sure, solar powered lights had not been invented yet! Although we did have solar-powered bath water. We didn’t call it that, but that’s exactly what it was. Fill up a wash tub with water on Saturday morning and sit it behind the house in the sun all day.  When it came time for the Saturday night bath, you had warm water.

But back to the main road! About dark-thirty every night when the chores were all done, it was time for SCAREDY CAT!  You know, fear can make you run fast. Let me explain. The farmhouse was not equipped with lights on timers, dimmer switches, or even fancy on-off switches mounted on the wall. A long string with a washer tied on the end was our on-off switch. And we always knew when Mother pulled that string in the kitchen to fix supper, the glow of that 40-watt bulb would shine just far enough out in the yard to make perfect shadows for a game of Scaredy Cat. And the goal in this game was to see who could stay out of the house the longest as the velvet blanket of darkness covered the farm.

And I have to tell you, as the shadows grew larger and larger, the imagination of a ten-year-old boy seemed to increase in direct proportion. Monsters were everywhere! In the trees, under the house, behind the barn, in the smokehouse –  green-eyed, two-headed monsters everywhere you looked!  Speaking of the smokehouse, one night I thought I had found the perfect hiding place. Ollie was always hungry so he was waiting in the kitchen for Mother’s cornbread to come out of the oven. And Wade, Eddie, and Wendell, the younger brothers had already accepted their loser status as Scaredy Cats by seeking safety from the monsters in Mother’s kitchen. Well, there I was hiding in the dark in the smokehouse, feeling pretty good about winning my first game of Scared Cat. When all of a sudden, something moved over in the corner! First, I heard it move and then it bumped into me!  

Call me Scaredy Cat if you want to, but you could call me Speedy Cat that night! After I was able to un-freeze my legs and feet from the spot where I stood, I probably could have set a new land speed record for the forty-yard dash to the house! Especially after a hand reached out and grabbed my arm as I flew out the door of the smokehouse. After a couple of weeks, I was able to calm my nerves enough to play the game again, but I gave up my hiding place in the smokehouse. And, I never knew for sure, but Daddy always had a funny look on his face, and looking straight at me, when he asked, “Who’s the Scaredy Cat tonight?”

Is there anything that you’re afraid of today? Do you have any fear and trembling when you look around? Anything waiting just down the road to reach out and grab you? Are you facing the ‘D-Monsters’ of disease, debt, divorce, death, doubt, or depression? There was once a well-driller named Isaac who was having so much trouble, he had to keep moving from place to place to avoid his ‘monsters.’ But one night in Beersheba (Gen. 26:23-24), Isaac saw the Light that ran the darkness out of his life. In so many words, The Lord told him to quit being a Scaredy Cat. “I am God, I am with you, I will bless you, don’t be afraid.”

And In this scary world we live in today, His words can still put the monsters on the run. Don’t be afraid. Even in those times of our life when you’re too scared to whistle in the dark, He is with us and will bless us! Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6).