Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

The memory is a funny thing. Take, for instance, how you remember where you were when something dramatic happened. If you were born back then, you probably remember exactly where you were when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

Or maybe it’s an old saying that the grownups used when you were a young pup. That’s one right there. Slipped up on me. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the folks back home at Route 4 talk about us youngun’s being ‘just a bunch of young pups.’ And when we were all spic ‘n span and ready for church on Sunday morning, I can still hear Mother say, “Now that’s a sight for sore eyes.”

Or what they said when they heard some good news. Like when we got home from school on Report Card day. The conversation might go something like this. ‘Well, boy, give me the good news. Daddy, I got a hundred on Spellin’ and Readin,’ a 98 on Writin’, and a 91 on “Jogaphy.” You know that was a long time ago ‘cause teachers still gave exact number grades back then. Not the letter grades of today that cover a wide range of grades.

And Daddy would say, ‘Now that’s music to my ears.’  Now he couldn’t carry a tune in a water bucket. But he said my report card was music! And it was music he wanted to hear. Until he asked me what grade I got on Conduct! And then he became my travel agent – another trip to the woodshed!

And speaking of music, my friends David and Jim and myself were enjoying a cup of java the other day, and not even thinking about music. But then the store’s intercom started playing old time rock ‘n roll, or beach music, to some folks. Beach music doesn’t do much for me. Could be because the only beach we knew about back at Route 4 was the sand bar on Coneross Creek.

But not David. That joker’s face lit up like a roman candle against the night sky on the Fourth of July. He knew who was singin’ and he could sing along with ‘em. He knew the words, too. For the rest of the day, I couldn’t get ‘Up On The Roof’ out of my head! But not only did he remember the words, he could tell you what the name of the singer was. And what really blew my mind – see, there’s another old expression. They just pop up like morning’ glories.

Anyway, ol’ David, this former North Carolina country boy (really he was a city slicker, but he remembers visiting the farm where his grandparents lived!) even knew the name of the record label for most of the songs coming through the speaker. He must have spun a bunch of plastic back in his days as a DJ on the radio!

And right now I can’t even remember what some of the songs were. But, for some unexplained reason, I do remember names of groups. Some of today’s groups are pretty weird. I mean, why on earth would you want to be grateful to be dead? Or rotten mushrooms? Or two left eyes? Or smashed pumpkins? But those that used to sing the good stuff that David knew all the words to were people like Percy Sledge. And The Temptations. And The Drifters. And too many more for me to remember!

But that started me thinking about drifters. I remember seeing people waiting at the bus station back when we had a bus station. Some were travelers. They had luggage and stuff. Others were what Daddy called drifters. They aren’t going anywhere. Just driftin’ along through life. They were made by the same God that made you and me. But, somewhere along the way, they just started driftin’ away.

Sorta like the float on my fishing line on a windy day without a lead sinker. Still hooked to my rod ‘n reel, but just driftin’ down the creek. And more times than not, it gets tangled up in the brush near the bank of the creek. And then I have to go in and rescue it.

I bet the Lord feels like that about you and me sometimes. We sorta just start driftin’ down the creek. Not stayin’ in touch with Him on a regular basis. Or goin’ to see Him at His house. Just driftin’ down the creek of life. And then we get tangled up. And then He has to wade out into the deep water and untangle our lines – and our lives!

Moses had that problem with some of God’s people way back yonder a long time ago. About fourteen hundred years before Jesus was born, Moses was trying to get God’s people into the Promised Land. But some of ‘em were just driftin’ down the Jordan River. Moses tried to tell ‘em they were headed for the Dead Sea. But you think they would listen to him? Nope, they just kept on driftin’ away. Till he finally got a belly-full of it.

And then, being a leader and God’s servant, hint…hint….hint, Moses gave ‘em some straight-talk advice from his heart (Deuteronomy 30:2-4). He told the drifters that if they would just turn to God and obey Him with all their heart and soul, and do what God wrote on Moses’ tablets, then God would jump into whatever creek they were in and bring them back to safety. And here’s the good part. It doesn’t matter one iota to God what we’ve done to cause us to drift away, or how far down the creek we’ve drifted to. All we have to do is ask Him.

Is there hope for all of us drifters in America today before we reach the Dead Sea? Yep, sure is! America is you and me. One on one. All we have to do is just tie up our line. And then reach out and grab another drifter’s line and help him tie up. And then he can help another drifter tie up. And another. Then another. And before we know it, all us drifters will have an anchor. You might be able to sing a heavenly tune, but if you’re not anchored to the Rock of Ages, you’re drifting away and headin’ for trouble.  

I don’t know an A-sharp from a B-flat, but that’s music to my ears!