Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

Have you been to the picture show lately? It’s just not the same anymore. Me and sweet thang decided to go to the show a couple of weeks ago. She picked out what we wanted to see and I drove ‘Miss Daisy’ to town on a Saturday afternoon.  ‘Cause old people don’t see too well at night.

So we get there and I walk up to the box office. The teenager behind the glass asked me if I had my club card. Well, back home at Route 4, we had a club, called it a fort, built back in the woods behind the house. But we didn’t have a club card. So I asked her if my Medicare card was OK. But it wasn’t necessary. I think she had already figured out that we qualified for the senior citizen reduced rate. But when she said, ‘that’ll be 12-dollars, sir,’ I almost passed out.

After I recovered from the sticker shock, we walked in the front door. And then it happened. The aroma of fresh popcorn dimmed the house lights in my mind. I could almost hear the projector crank up as the black and white images flickered onto the screen in my mind’s eye.        

And before you could say ‘yippy-yi-yo-ki-yay,’ I was finishing my Grit newspaper route and headin’ over to the old Oconee Theater on Townville Street in downtown Seneca, South Carolina.

Long before we ever knew what a matinee was, you could see a great western AND enjoy a Coke and a box of popcorn. All for a quarter. Yep, that’s right, pardner.  The movie, the popcorn, and the Coke, all for only twenty-five cents.

Excuse me, please, but I just have to run down this side road for a minute.  Have you bought a Coke and popcorn lately at the picture show? First of all, the Coke comes in something that looks like a five-gallon bucket with a straw in it. And that was the medium size. I’m guessing that it would have taken both of us to carry the large one. But when another teenager said it was six dollars, we decided to pass. With that much liquid, one or both of us old fogies would surely miss some of the picture show while we were at the toilet.

And just for general principle, I decided to check on the popcorn. I’ve toted tow-sacks of fertilizer to the garden that didn’t have as much in ‘em as that large sack of popcorn! But when the young man behind the counter told me it was seven-fifty, I mumbled something about a low sodium diet as I walked away. He was a good salesman, though. Or either he liked to see old people in shock. As I turned to leave, he said, “and we’ll cover it with hot butter for only two dollars more.” Tom Mix, where are you when I need you?

But back to the sticky floor and the bubble-gum covered seats at the Oconee Theater. I can’t remember what I had for supper last night, but I’ll never forget those old western flicks. Some bad guy would come into town from his ranch and start a bunch of trouble. You know how those farm boys are! Then Gene Autry or Roy Rogers would ride into town and help Wyatt Earp save the day.

But you always knew who the heroes were and who the villains were. The good guys were clean-cut and wore white hats. And the bad guys always seemed to be snarlin’ out from under their black hats. I think these days they ought to dress the kids behind the movie counter in black hats and cowboy boots and toy six-shooters and holsters. Just for the fun of it. There oughta be a little something to grin about when you have to float a loan to go to the picture show!

I don’t know if they wore hats at all back in Joseph’s day. But if they did, he definitely wore a white one. The famine was so severe that both Egypt and Canaan dried up and wasted away (Genesis 47:13-25). But even after the people spent all their money, Joseph still kept on feedin’ them. He even took their cows and goats and sheep and donkeys as payment for the food that saved their lives. And when they had no more livestock left, he even bought their land so they could keep on eatin’.

But here’s where Joseph would have been a great hero in a western movie. After the people had spent all their money, and all their animals, and all their land for food, Joseph rode in to save the day and run the devil out of town in a dust storm.

He gave the people seed to plant a garden, with the only payment being a fifth of it when the crops came in (v.24-25). He let them keep the other four-fifths to feed themselves and their children! He saved their lives and they were eternally grateful. If he had been a cry baby when his brothers threw him in a hole, and pitched a fit when he was taken down to Egypt, he would not have been available to play the lead role in God’s plans to make the Israelites a great nation. Somebody ought to make a movie out of that story. 

I’m saving my quarter just in case.