Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

The message on the bright red digital LED sign was just waiting for me to turn the corner. There must be several hundred cars that turn this corner every day. It’s one of the busiest intersections in this neck of the woods. But it was waiting for me. And when I showed up, it jumped right off the sign and into the front seat beside me.

Cars were whizzing by right and left. Nobody else seemed to notice or care that something had me in a choke-hold. I looked around for help before I realized it was just me and this sign. So, I quickly pulled over, grabbed my notebook and pen to put it in writing. After all, it could just be a figment of my imagination.

So what was the message? Glad you asked. Eggs, 99 cents a dozen. And milk, $2.69 a gallon. That just grabbed my 2010 thinking process around the throat with both hands and started squeezing. And before I got light-headed and dizzy, I noticed that it wasn’t Twenty-Ten anymore. And I wasn’t holding a sign that said ‘Protect our Social Security and Medicare.’

Instead, it was 1960. I could see it plain as day. I still had my flat-top standing at attention with the help of that pink wax. And I was making another malted milk shake behind the soda fountain at Alexander’s Drug Store, South Townville Street, Seneca, South Carolina, just below the picture show.

Hold the phone. Stop the presses. I can hear you thinking out loud. He’s a couple of eggs short of a dozen. What’s so unusual about a sign advertising eggs and milk that could jerk him back fifty years? Actually, nothing at all. Unless you consider that it was in front of the local Walgreen’s. And what really iced my cake was when the sign, up there about a hundred feet in the air, flashed this message. Open 24 Hours!

You’ve heard that there are no guarantees in this world? Well, I’m here to tell you that’s wrong. I can guarantee you that Mr. Harold Alexander and Doc Sammeth both would be absolutely flabbergasted if they could have seen that sign!

First of all, everybody knows that you don’t get eggs and milk from a drug store. Or a pharmacy, as they’re called today. Secondly, the drug store opens at 8 and closes at 6. Monday through Saturday. And thirdly, even by today’s standards, who could possibly need eggs or milk at two o’clock in the morning?

I guess, in reality, it’s a sign of the times. Somebody once said that change is the only thing that stays the same. Had to think about that one. And they’re probably right. Everything changes. Sometimes before you can blink your eyes. I don’t buy that pink hair wax anymore. Nothing up there to stand up, anyway.

And I don’t go to the henhouse back at Route 4 anymore to collect the ‘cackle-berries’ as Mother used to call ‘em. And I don’t have to sit on a three-legged stool in the hall of the barn on a freezin’-cold morning before daylight ‘downloadin’ milk that smells like green onions. For that I can loudly proclaim, “Thank You, Jesus.”

Come to think of it, Jesus REALLY is open 24 hours, too. He never sleeps. He never gets tired. And, in a world where the signs change by the hour, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

And, for over two thousand years, He’s never changed His message. With arms stretching across the world, He’s still saying, “Come, bring your burdens to me and I’ll make your load lighter.” (Matthew 11:28-30).  Goodness knows, everybody could use a lighter load, right?

Hey, maybe we could get ‘em to put that message on their hundred-foot high digital flashing sign at Walgreen’s.

Wouldn’t that be cool!