Living Waters

Elijah had spent days getting ready for his trip to Heavenly Falls. He had been promised by his parents that on his thirteenth birthday. that he and his dog, Doug Fir, could hike and spend the night at a place of their choice; just so long as they would return the next day. They were to take a phone and GPS to use if they ran into any kind of trouble.

They both had taken many hikes before with friends an family, but never by himself. In a real way Eli thought it was his first move into manhood, and into freedom. He was yet to realize how true that really was.

That morning found him carefully packing his backpack with the necessities; jacket, sleeping bag. knife, dry food, canteen, and oh yes, matches. He was not going to rub two sticks together hoping something would happen. Dougie reminded him of his needs as he went to the cupboard. Well, Eli said to him  ; “You’are going to have to carry it yourself “, as he slipped it into Dougie’s pack along with a handful of treats.

By 9:00 the sun had come out and they headed for mom’s car that was going to take them to the camp. In twenty minutes they were are the trail head.With a hug from mom, and a “Call me and noon and 5:00”  they headed up

Eli had brought his harmonica and was  soon making music as they moved along, taking note of everything they saw: Beautiful wildflowers, movements and sounds of the birds…. and the rustling of the wind through the tall trees.

More than all of that…….. the smell of freedom!

At the halfway mark they removed their packs and rested on a big rock before taking on the steep climb. Several other hikers passed giving curious looks at the pair. One, nearly as old as Grandpa, asked Eli; “You up here by yourself?”

Eli reassured him that he was thirteen, and had full permission from his folks. He showed him his phone and GPS. The Grandpa replied: “Sure wish I could have gone on my own at your age, but those things weren’t around. You goin’ to the top?”

Eli assured him; “That’s where the falls are” He waved and took off again sounding his harmonica to “Row,row, row your boat”… Doug leading the way.

Within the hour they were making the turn where you could barely see the falls, but they could hear the sound of it crashing down upon the lower rocks…. then into the pool. Doug could not wait. With a bark he sprung forward, pack and all, into the cold water. He looked back at Eli with a “You better not! ” look, then splashed back on shore; the wet pack hanging under his belly..

Eli turned to setting up camp. Close enough to hear the wonderful sound but far enough not to get soaked by the mist. An earlier experience left that lesson.  Four branches were used to suspend a plastic tarp that mom had slipped into his pack.

That done, he called his mom;’ With “Thank you for the tarp and everything is super” assurance.

After a quick lunch of a sliced apple and some dried beef, ( also offered to Doug who was going to have to wait for his food to dry from the earlier episode)…… they decided to check out the falls. Someone had told him that you could actually walk behind them….Maybe later, they figured.

As the looked up at the falls, admiring the sound and power……suddenly;

Whoa! there were flickers of light coming from behind the sheets of foam and water.

“Oh, it couldn’t be!” burst from Eli’s lips.. Doug pushed his big body against his leg;  then retreated to the tent.

Yes, it was fire moving outward mixed with the water… like fingers reaching in Eli’s direction. They could not take their eyes off what had to be a miracle.

If that was not enough….suddenly the flames disappeared, and a figure dressed in white appeared , arms open in invitation.

Eli could not speak at first, but finally gasped; “Who are you, and how can you do this?”The figure said ; “Who do you say that I am?” Eli returned,”Oh no, You are not Him?          The response;  ” I am……that I am.”

Quickly,  Eli’s brain recalled what he had been taught in Sunday School.

‘YOU ARE GOD;      OR….. JESUS” ?

The answer: ‘Yes, I am….I am both. If you see me as Jesus, you see your God who has prepared a place for you in this world and the next. I have made you and your path in life.”

“It was no accident that you are here in this place and at this time. It was my plan for you to be here….. even before you were born. Come stand with me and I will show you your path to manhood.”

Eli rose and joined him. He gazed into the pool….. now completely still, the flow having stopped, and reflecting not just  two of them, but there were four figures including himself. He knew what this was about from reading the bible when it spoke of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The waterfall began again. as did water from each of the eight outstretched hands.

“It is the living water that God promised!” Eli exclaimed as he leaped forward into the pool. I had become warm and he lingered there for a long time,  bathing in it’s remarkable comfort. As he returned his gaze upward, he saw only one figure, now suspended on a cross…..his blood trailing down into the pool.

A voice sounded; “Go tell this story to others” as Doug joined him there.

It is enough to say Eli did not spend the night. He gathered his things and set forth for home immediately.

He stood taller than ever before as he danced along with a “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” melody on his harmonica,

He had work to do! A story to tell . ” There will always be another waterfall,” he reasoned.

“Well maybe not……..of course not ”












Some of you may have wondered; “What’s this, with just stories about boys?” So, in the recognition of the off-times better half, you should know that I can do girls, as a matter of fact we have a couple of our own.

I submit the following story with the suggestion that; while each of their their behavior patterns are often very much different, as well as their objectives; they enjoy the very same  amazing vehicle to form their  life’s plan for getting there;

God’s grace.

The story is as follows;

The morning sun had begun to creep up the covers of Mindy’s bed, when she remembered this could not be a sleep-in Saturday, but that she had an important plan for both her and her pal Winkleman . She was soon to find that he had already sensed something was up, and his tail was thumping the night stand, and he had started to whine for her to dress.

“Hush Wink, You’ll wake everyone in the house” she cautioned.

Mindy pulled on her top and shorts as she glanced over to the top shelf in the closet, where she had placed it a weeks ago………Her secret box. She brought it to her bed and opened the lid, to make sure they were still there. Yep……they are are!

It was time to go, so Mindy tip-toed down the staircase to the foyer. Winkleman followed, seeming to recognize the need for silence, so he let out nary a sound.

She thought there will be time later for breakfast, but she nabbed a biscuit for Wink and an cookie for herself …….just in case. She could just hear her mother saying; “Don’t you dare go out without something in your stomach. She mused, “Mother would be so proud of me”.

Just as she made it out to the porch……there was Luke who had pulled up on his bike with his load of newspapers, ready to tease rather than deliver.

“Whatcha got in the box?” he said, reaching for it.

“None of your business!” Snapped Mindy placing it behind her.

Luke dropped the paper and rode wobbly back onto the sidewalk, shouting into the Saturday-quiet air: “See if I ever tell you anything, monkey face!”

For Mindy it was already way too much just seeing him a school recess. So, calling Wink to her side, she jogged off down the block to where the street ended at the woods, then onto the grassy path that led to her favorite tree.

She had been told as a very little girl by her mother, Alice; that “This was where God lived.” But, that He had no favorite tree. Just like no favorite people. Mindy had long begun to realize that He had made everything she found there; The glistening pond beyond, and the birds that fluttered about. She found her place upon the soft moss at the base of the huge Oak.

The chipmunk family were not thrilled at her disturbing their search for breakfast morsels that were scattered about the base of the tree.

Wink had seriously sniffed the whole area and had cork-screwed his big body to that it would lie heavy against Mindy’s bare leg.

“Well, it’s time”, sighed Mindy as she lifted the lid of the worn old box.

There they were; ballet shoes, same as always; simply beautiful, red and shiny ….just her size and with the gold laces tying them together.

Aunt Mary had said when she gave them to her two years ago for her birthday; “These were mine when I was very young. I pray that they will take you where you want to go. But first you need to know where that is. It may take time, so be patient.”

Mindy never missed a single day of ballet lessons in Mrs. Bouchet’s class while using her old shoes, saving the gift for the “right” time. Her dad, Frank, witnessed her dedication and gave her praise, though he thought soccer to be a better choice. Her mom was thrilled, as she watched her grow into a wonderful dancer.

Time and time again Mindy had visited the old tree with these red slippers laced up tight, and danced around and around, with Wink in tow, his tongue dragging from the effort, Again and again, she abandoned the effort to quietly read and remember Aunt Mary’s words “They will take you where you want to go.”

In her thoughts, as she tried to read, were about the wonderful things that could happen in the future. Far above all was the dream of dancing the Swan in the American Ballet.

She had been told that “There will be signs”. She supposed from God or something. Never had it happened…….until this  Saturday morning in June, and in her twelfth year; the sun burst through the shadows of that giant tree to rest solidly upon that old box.

Then, a soft voice, as it seemed born by the wind, encouraged: “Mindy.. …Mindy; close your eyes and dream upon my words…. see what I see in you.”

As Mindy did hat, she visioned all that she had struggled for come alive. She was the Swan. The music of it all filled her ears, her body was possessed by a power, grace, and beauty that could only be directed by God’s intention.

She jumped to her feet joyously shouting; “There is no magic in the shoes!” It has been given to me. My dream has come true!

Even on later Saturday visits to “her place”; she was settled…..she knew; “Soon I will be the Swan.”

Winkleman totally agreed, as his tail thumped repeatedly on the ground beside her; his head upon her lap,tongue licking her fingers as she stroked his long ears.

You see, he knew…….. He already had fulfilled his dream!




“Papa. Don’t touch that! ” Eli cautioned, as we made our way up to the fountain that played and gurgled innocently in front of the Creekside Senior Residence. “It’s poisoned!”

One could see the green stuff around the edges and conclude it might just be tainted; but Eli had an eye for danger. I chose not to drink from it. “Good,” He complimented me on my wisdom.

This stop was only part of a journey of discovery as we made our way through a maze of confrontations along tenth street, and into the dark recesses of Shutes Park, two blocks from where I lived.

We were fortunate that we secured our weapons on the way, disguised as fallen tree limbs, as if discarded by earlier bands of warriors. Mine was extremely crooked, but Eli thought it would do. He had a straight one with the bark peeled off. He tested it on a nearby tree.

After cruising the park, having dispensed with every bad guy in the bushes, found lounging around the swing sets, or charging down the slides. we stopped for a drink at the newly installed water fountain. I expected another warning from Eli, but he drank from it, assuring me that it was safe, but that ” not too much,  just in case.'” Yielding to his  five year old knowledge of such things, I drank only enough to take the edge off my dry mouth.

Noting that the park was free of it’s final intruder, we set forth to our imagined “Secret Village”; home of dangerously disgusting trolls, and most importantly the “bridge that no-one -had -ever-crossed…….Alive !”

It was approaching evening, and we began to see dark forms moving about on the upper decks of the fortress, gathering and dispersing during the cocktail hour, as if communicating the details of our movements as we stole toward the bridge.  I was a bit reluctant because a lady on a nearby bench was watching.

Sure enough. a covey… neigh an army of them, had formed on and around the entrance to the bridge that covered the raging creek below. Curiously, some ducks had been caught up in the current and were quacking away, making them extremely vulnerable.

Eli took the initiative…..Sword raised high, and with a blood curdling scream, began the assault. Surely, it troubled whomever it was on those balconies as they began pointing. He led our charge (I have to admit). I was feeling a bit conspicuous.

He caught three of the monsters head on, and severed them at the knees; only to do a 360 and do the same to four more. The remainder of the pack froze as if to wait upon me. As I moved forward raising my sword, copying Eli’s every move; the tip of it struck the bridge rail and fell into the water below. The ducks scattered.

Eli exclaimed disgustedly; “Papaa!’.

In the meantime, the remaining force, surely intimidated by Eli’s superior skill and aggressiveness, had faded into the woods.

Sweat pouring from every pore, Eli collapsed into a lounge chair on the patio. I never broke a sweat, but seconded his lemon aid motion. We left for our apartment, leaving the remaining stick at the outside door, ready for the next encounter.

Eli took his first big sip of Gigi’s cold lemon aid. burped, and quickly reminded me; “That’s how you do it!”!  To which I naturally replied; “Do what…. burp?”

“No,” he giggled….”Take care of the bad guys. And, I sure want more help from you next time!”

It was easy to reply; “What next time?”








Finding a really Good Book

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!”






THINKING out of the Box

There was a knock the door…..then another more insistent……then another.

Eli opened his door and called; “Mom, someone’s at the door. ” Then, hearing nothing, he came down and called’ “Who is it?”   Still nothing.

He opened the door with the chain still fastened, only to find that there was a box on the landing. Wondering if it might be his Amazon order, he reached out and brought it inside. Sure enough, it had his name on it, but no address, no last name. Not very Amazon. He could not wait to see what was inside this big box, as he waded though the old newspapers… Some, he noticed, were from years ago; headlines of one disaster after another…hurricanes, forest fires and accidents.

This is a great way to start the day, he said to himself, as he finally got to the contents; It was an enameled sign that read “BE STRONG”.

He immediately thought; “Surely this can’t be for me”.  He was very strong for his age; his Dad and Grandpa had wrestled and played ball with him, and they encouraged him to do sports. He even crooked his arm to display a sizable bump. Huge…..he figured, for his age.

Who could be telling him to “BE STRONG”? He did, however, like the sign, and figured it could just mean everybody should be. It went on the wall at the head of his bed.

When his mom came home, he told her about it and showed her the sign. She felt the same way.

Time passed, and  the same thing happened; box, first name only,  old paper wrappings and another matching sign. This one said ” IN ME” One thing for sure; It did not mean him. He hung it on the wall just the same.

In honor of the first message, he continued to work out, knowing that it was up to him to reach the level he thought people expected. His series of achievements were amazing. He had won medals in track and basketball, finished second in his class in tennis, and proved to be very hard to deal with on the wrestling mat.

It seemed odd to continue to leave the “IN ME” sign on the wall, so he put it away. He knew that he had done extremely well on his own……which is, of course, a big part of being strong; “Standing on your own two feet”…. as many of the books advised.

Time passed again, and we find him in his second year of Junior High . During the first week, he saw a fight break out in the gym. It was big Bobby Ray and a new freshman  kid. Bobby had pushed him into the wall and was about to smash him in the face. The kid was already bleeding from the nose.

Eli did not like what he saw,  and was pretty sure that things would have to be stopped. He was also pretty sure that he could whip Bobby if he had to. There was no question that everyone around watching would cheer him on.

He threw his backpack on the ground, and grabbed a surprised Bobby by the collar; whirling him around face to face. Bobby raised his arm to throw a punch, and Eli was ready to counter with his best Karate move.

Suddenly, a voice popped out of Eli; “Wait………think about it!”

The crowd went silent.

He followed with; “Bobby, what are we trying to prove…..That you can beat up a little new guy, or that we could give them a good fight over nothing…..where we could show off our muscles, and lose teeth?”

“What do you say we walk away and just leave it to sports where there are rules and things are fair?”

A surprised Bobby reluctantly dropped his hands in agreement with an; “O.K. see you on the field.”

Eli replied; “Yah, which one, the corn field?” Everybody laughed, as Eli handed the new boy a handkerchief.

“Welcome to the club man” he said to the new boy, as they walked to the lunch room. “The ice cube is on me!”

Later, Eli was barely home, and the whole thing happened again…..except this time, the sign inside was a big purple one with a white image…..A single clenched hand with a “THUMBS UP!”

Now……..Who do you think?…….He knew full well.

Eli called to his Mom; “Where did we put the “IN ME” sign?”

It really  works !……..”Ask Bobby….. he REALLY got lucky……..

and, maybe even me too……..You’ll have to ask the ONE who sent it”

“He totally thinks out of the box!”






A loud moan came from Eli’s mouth as he rolled over on his back. He had felt the rock’s sharp edges dig in, as he tried to open his eyes. They had nearly sealed shut from the dried blood coming from the wound in his forehead. He caught a sliver of bright sun come through as he blinked and began to check his ability to move….. not sure that anything worked.

First, his hand found the wound, finding it completely dry and crusty,,,,Then to his right leg that throbbed with pain as he gently moved it.

Then………How long had he been there? He remembered instantly what happened…..but quickly reminded himself;  I must help help or I might die! He laid there, getting his head together, as the whole memory of what led up to this disaster sped by. He was reminded;

It had been three long years since he started the project of building his own airplane in the last year of engineering school. The object of his final course was to create something that used all those hard-earned skills.

So it was; from the drawing board to the fabrication, welding, to the finishing and final testing, the process continued until two years after graduation. His job at Swift Engineering provided the money and spare time to complete the project. His new boss and owner of the firm, Tom Swift, followed the progress of his newly adopted protege with amazement.

There had never been a private aircraft quite like it. The two passenger fiberglass pod was placed on a titanium tube frame that was super light and strong. While not fully tested, it was believed capable of breaking the sound barrier. Both conventional wheels and pontoons could be snapped into place. It was the wings that were so revolutionary. They were designed to operate exactly like a birds; the pitch and incline were motorized and would adapt to all flying requirements.

The engine was converted from a four cylinder supercharged Porsche that would also power the pod when it was placed on a four-wheeled racing frame, that stood ready in the garage for the next competition.

Eli’s mind spun back to his present situation: Forget all that……….. What now?

Slowly he brought himself to his knees… the pain still persisting; then to his feet. His hand rested on a piece of the smashed wing; now just a skeleton of rods and torn metal. The pod lay broken in half. The severed motor had exploded and was still smoldering in a pile of debris fed by fuel. All the remaining elements were scattered on the mountain top.

Eli looked over the edge of the cliff. It offered little hope for a conventional exit across it’s jagged face.

While to many, the situation would seem hopeless, but Eli’s mind was churning to assess the options. He did not have a rope, so that was not one that he could use.

The engineering part of his brain began to buzz….What if? Or how about this? and so on…. He knew he had to take inventory of what remained that he could use.

In that process he found his briefcase, some tools, and emergency food (which he thoughtlessly devoured) A quick summary of his aches and pains assured him that if he still had a brain… he had a way. But, in the end, it did look like there was no way.

It would seem that his may have been the first time that he had identified a problem with no apparent solution. He remained braced upright against the wing in total frustration.

Suddenly, he felt something skitter quickly over his shoes, then to see it duck behind the shell….. Then a tiny squeaky sound….then a small furry head. It was a Marmot. He could tell from his yellow belly.  Eli wondered….Just how did he get way up here?

Then, as if to tease him, the little fellow stepped forward, then back twenty feet.

Eli was used to working at problems in an entirely different way, but he knew he was confronted by the possibility of his own bad decisions. First, he realized that the crash may have been due to an error on his part; the engine should not have overheated and blown up. His life was at stake and he had not thoroughly tested it…….but he could not just look back.

In that moment, he knew that his focus should not have been just on the face of the cliff as his engineering mind lead him, but on the simple option of ; Is there another way down? It was a sad thing to think; “If a marmot can find it, surely I can.”

With that the creature moved forward in the same way, squeak-run-stop…again and again. Then at the back end of the towering monument, he saw an outcropping of vegetation. The marmot stood, making a sideways motion with his upper body as if to say “You coming?”

Eli’s nature and years at the drafting table absolutely called for some scientific explanation as to why he should enter a now recognized hole in the rocky surface that could dangerously lead to nowhere.

Only the appearance now of first one, then another…. and another little creatures that popped up before him; mimicking the same motions, brought him to consider their offer.

As Eli’s brain spun into reasoning all this, and he noted one thing that absolutely floored him …..the last one out of the hole had three (and he counted them) large daisies in his mouth. It immediately registered; “Daisies do not come out of holes in the ground… they come from a field. “This, whatever it is, goes somewhere!”

He gathered himself, as the last Marmot darted into the hole and disappeared… and he jumped in, sliding downward on a surface of loose gravel with no control whatsoever… pitch dark and foul smelling, feeling his arms banging into the sides through twists and turns.

What seemed like and hour, was only minutes before he could see light coming from below. He tumbled out head over heals into a field of white sunlit daisies… bees buzzing as if it was the first human they had ever seen.

Well, you could probably figure out the rest……. A search party led by Tom Swift arrived in their ATV’s and he was rushed to emergency where he was stitched up and fed a huge dish of macaroni and cheese… his favorite!

While some might wonder, in Eli’s long career, what his most important and life-changing experience might be. He knew this was it. Everyone thought he was hallucinating about this marmot business, but they went along with it, knowing he would find his right mind at some point.

Very little was said about the accident itself, for Eli just didn’t want to talk about it. It was a real lesson learned about nature and the surprising way things work.

As he now speaks to Sunday school classes:” The bible says we have “dominion” over God’s creatures” He explains dominion as “We got to respect and take care of them” and, “Let me tell you about the little Marmots that saved my life”. They laugh as though it is just some little cute story, but Eli knows the truth….. and so will they one way or another.

God works in strange ways, even when He has to turn the tables on things.

You know…….. He’s done that before: Right Daniel ?

He doesn’t always have to use a Lion when a little Marmot will do fine.






Some Buddy

While the 30’s tune “I only want a buddy not a sweetheart” may have sprung from the vocal cords of a young boy somewhere….. sometime; it certainly was not going to escape from Eli’s 12 year old mouth this Tuesday.

His mom had shared with him that her friend, Ruth, was visiting for the first time with her 11 year old daughter; Missy Mae.

Eli had only viewed her from 10 pews away,  but just enough to know that she was really tall for her age and that she wore a pink dress with lace all over it. Yuk!

They arrived in a tiny red car and stood out in the driveway looking for some assurance that this was the right place. His mom raced out to meet them and Eli came to the window. What in the world is this? he wondered. Her mom looked just like he remembered but……..Dressed in a ragged, numbered  jersey and faded denim shorts…. no socks; this was no Missy and little, if any, Mae.

She could well have been a boy from the vacant lot where he played ball. There was absolutely no curtsy with a shy look…. but rather an introductory hand shake that made his eyes water. He returned it gingerly to his pocket, and murmured  defensively ; “Where’d you get that handshake? Her reply was; “From my Karate instructor” as she struck the primary defensive pose and uttered the customary yell; “Yeeee…ahh!”

What we know is this;

She could throw a baseball from center field to home plate and leave the catcher with two broken fingers. She could jump higher than a Kangaroo. she could run faster than a Giselle. And, beyond that, she invented bad words for which only God knew the meaning.

After welcoming hugs and an invitation to come inside for refreshments, her eyes quickly rejected the proposal as they fell upon Eli’s tree house way up in “the perfect Elm”. She politely excused herself with an “I’m outa here” move, and vaulted up to the lowest branch. Then, was halfway up the tree before Eli could work up a good spit for his hands

Well……… How do you spell stunned? With two nn’s?  I’m gonna use four….he was, really.

We might continue the story, briefly… least to the degree that you might understand that it was not a slow process. He was pretty sure that first impressions can be really deceiving. That some buddies are not just guys…… maybe even the other side of the coin. The words admire, respect, and love come to mind.

They did become  sweethearts in the end. In 10 years Missy cleaned up her language (by the grace of God) and is having her first baby in June (same grace), having decided not to deliver him herself, and calling him Eli Thomas Jr. And yes of course, they are married and they both wrote the vows.

Eli quotes Forrest Gump,  as Grandpa often does;…….. “Life is like a box of chocolates; You never know what you’re gonna get!”