Bud and his mom had just moved into the town of Dinglewood. They loved the town because it was small, yet it had so many things to offer; a park and library, theater, small schools and riding paths. But most of all; Amy’s Ice Cream Shop where they had Kid-Kones for $1.00 (2 for $1.50 with I.D.).
The house was an oldie, but had (as mom described) “good bones”; creaky floors, a smokey fireplace, and big porch and a swing where you could sit and eat ice creme and watch traffic on Saturdays.
The stairs from the living room went straight up to Bud’s bedroom and study/play area.
What was weird was that it had a drop-down ladder in the closet that led to a small attic…..which was a no-no according to his mom. Only briefly, had Bud sneaked a peek to find that it was totally full of dirty old boxes and spider webs. He set further exploration aside for now; thinking maybe later.
They had been there for a week and Bud had already found a friend….Luke , and his Retriever, Teddy… who incidentally would never bring anything back; but would allow you to scratch his butt for days as a reward.
Well, back to the story…. It rained hard this Saturday. Bud was bored to death, so he asked his mom if he could check out the attic. She agreed reluctantly, and warned “O.K……. but wear old clothes, and don’t stay to long” (Secretly, she wanted a full report, but she was too chicken to check it out herself).
Bud puled the ladder down, dodged a cloud of dust, and climbed on up with his flashlight sweeping every which way. He could see cobwebs all over and a rustle of little legs, coming from behind the boxes. And, that smell of you know what! As he stood, he realized that he would have to watch his step because there was space between some of the rafters.
Figuring that it might not be right for him to be the only one to enjoy the experience; he decided to call Luke and his flashlight to join him. And, he responded, having been advised that he might wear old clothes………,maybe gloves…….and bring two clothespins.
He showed up, fully equipped, and they began sorting through the boxes. There where pictures with no color, letters in cursive, fancy cards, and, wait a minute; an old rolled-up map, drawn by hand, showing in detail; you got it…..the location of “THE TREASURE”. located on the hill behind the city dump. The thought of it ate upon them for the rest of the week.
Monday turned nice and Bud called Luke; “You ready to go up” he asked. “Does a duck have lips? he responded with a favorite local expression. Bud laughed for he had never heard that one. He took it as a yes.
By 9:00 they had taken the obvious route through and behind the dump, as the map indicated and had hacked their way through the brush to the top. Sure enough there was a pile of big rocks that revealed an opening……..That also checked with the map,
Just outside there was a fire pit….looking like someone had recently used it.
They entered the dark cave, waiting for their eyes to adjust. Then came a the greeting “So you have finally come, have you?” It was the big base voice of a huge black guy dressed in a suit and tie, and with a book in his hand. He smiled from ear to ear; his white teeth flashing.
“Are you kidding?” Bud sounded, as he turned to Luke.
He followed, “I don’t know about “finally”. We were just hiking and got lost”; not wanting to reveal their real purpose. In response, came a head shake and a really doubtful look, so they added “Actually, a map that we found says there is a buried treasure in here.
The man came back, “The chest with the Bible in it’
“A bible? Look, the map clearly says a “TREASURE” the boys said in unison, and in a very disappointed tone.
The man said “Please sit down. You may not think it is a treasure, but I’ll tell you a story”
“I got big time cancer and I was told at the hospital to “get my things together, And I had only a week to live. That week I said goodbye to my family, and they prayed with me most of the day. I closed my eyes for the last time.
That was ten years ago, and I am still here……..preaching at the church just down from the hardware store. The cave is not my home… it is my sanctuary.” ……”I have a nice home in the valley, a wonderful wife and two children. I come here just to read this book, the Bible, hoping someone will drop by. That someone, finally, is you. Now tell me what to pray for and you will have it.”
Bud, still worried as to the truth of the whole situation said; ” First tell me how you get up this hill all dressed up”
The Preacher answered: “Yes……. There is also a rear entrance and a beautiful walking path all the way up. lined with wildflowers. It is called “The Narrow Road”. You must take it next time.
While the boys thought this all was very weird, to humor him they each gave an answer; Luke imagined, knowing it would be absolutely impossible: “I have always wanted my own horse; a baby Pinto to train and ride.”
Bud took more time; “My Grandma Sylvia is sick and can’t get well, and we don’t know what to do. I want her cured. We all do.”
The man that we now know as David Faithwell, prayed long and hard….then with a grand smile, said “I am told you will have what you want, but you will have to be patient.
The boys returned home using the mentioned “narrow road” agreeing; “Never trust an old map …..and what’s with that Preacher?”
They went about the business of being boys, and really didn’t think much about it; except for brief visits there to check things out. No preacher, the bible was still there turned to the passage about the” Wide gate and the Narrow one” underlined.
This went on for at least a year, and wonder of wonders, Grandma got well and in five years later she moved into Bud’s house and was in charge of baking pies at the age of 90.
And, get this; Luke not only got his Pinto, but 10 years later he had a huge horse ranch with thoroughbred race horses. And now, as pastor of Victory church he tells the story of the two paths , the need for patience, and the wonders of prayer
Pastor David has long since died, but there is a weekly flow of visitors to his grave, up the narrow path to bring flowers; many, they pick along the way . Their purpose is to share stories of how God has worked in their lives, each then to read aloud a passage from the now Legendary bible.
If any one should ask any the seniors in the group “What makes your life work?” the answer always is………
“Patience and a Good Book to read!”