Woodshed Wisdom
By Freeman Martin

Editor’s note: Freeman Martin’s first book, Woodshed Wisdom, Vol.1, is now available. For an autographed copy, send $15.00, plus $3.00 shipping and handling to: Freeman Martin, 310 Andrew Pickens Dr, Seneca, SC 29678.

Dear Grandma,

In my lifetime, I’ve been negligent in writing thank you notes to people who have blessed me with special gifts. But, as you used to say, this one ‘takes the cake.’ As you no doubt know by now, God has seen fit to orchestrate the release of my first book during this Thanksgiving season. And, since you gave your life on earth to the teaching profession, I must beg you to please excuse my English, but ain’t it wonderful how He works His plan in our lives to bring Him honor and glory.

But before I start chasing rabbits, back to my confession. This thank you note is about sixty years overdue. Boy howdy, my MHB’s (mill hill bride) blood pressure would be off the chart if I did that today! By the way, Grandma, one of my most treasured possessions is a picture of you wearing white gloves at the wedding of this country boy and his mill hill girl back there in ‘64.

Speaking of pictures, there are two of you in Woodshed Wisdom, Vol. 1. In one of them, you’re young and beautiful at age 21. In the other, which I also treasure, you’re even more graceful and beautiful at age 84. I believe the writer of Proverbs might have had you in mind when he wrote about the splendor of gray hair (Prov. 20:29). So, even though I never thanked you as a cotton-haired country boy, this rapidly balding ol’ man sends this heart-felt thank you note.

The memory of you in your rocking chair and me, sittin’ up straight, I might add, in a high back wooden chair on the front porch of your little House on the Hill, is as fresh today as the maters and taters we grew and ate back there on the farm at Route 4. And even though I would much rather have been scarin’ some squirrels and rabbits and birds with my slingshot, I knew better than to argue when you said, ‘Go in the house and get The Good Book.’

Grandma, I know in my heart that had it not been for your insistence that I read to you from The Good Book, there quite possibly might not be a book today with my name on it. You always said you wanted me to read to you from your favorite Book because of your failing eyesight. But, oh, how I realize now that you knew and believed the truth that God’s Word would be a lamp to my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105) to help me see the road ahead long after I no longer walked down that dirt road at Route 4.

Because of your vision, I know that the Bible is the greatest book ever written. I’ve also come to realize that you not only loved His Book, but you lived His Book. And that brought Thanks-living to every day of your life, holiday or not. Even though you were a pauper in the eyes of the world, you were rich in God’s eyes beyond human imagination. And to think that you chose a life of pouring that wealth all over a bunch of unruly farm boys and girls, just humbles my heart and soul today.

In fact, I woke up in the pre-dawn hours of this Thanksgiving morning with a song in my heart. I can’t carry a tune in a water bucket, but one of the memory verses you made me memorize was Psalm 98:1, ‘Sing to the Lord a new song for He has done great and marvelous things.’ You also taught us that the devil likes to make us think about what we don’t have, and there was a lot that we didn’t have back there at Route 4. But what we did have was a grandmother who loved the Lord and lived that ‘attitude of gratitude’ way of life, thankful for the air we breathed, the water we drank, and, even those maters and taters we ate.

Your thanks-living way of life became your witness, always telling others how good God had been to you throughout your life. Grandma, that’s a lesson that’s taken me many, many years to learn, but one that I promise to remember in whatever books God allows me to write. Like you always taught us, ‘Whatever you love, you’ll tell others about.’ Yes, even cornbread and milk, but especially the Lord who provides it!

So, as I close this long overdue thank you note on this Thanksgiving Day, so many decades removed from your front porch, I’m so thankful that I can still see you leaning back in your rocking chair with your eyes closed and a mega-watt smile lighting up the place as I read to you one of your favorite passages from the Greatest Book ever written:
Psalm 100
King James Version (KJV)
1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Thank you, Lord, for my Grandma.
Emily Henrietta Compton Martin
1884 – 1970

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