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by Leon Gile
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Arizona, Here We Come!
We were all so excited! Our family was going to visit our beloved Aunt Marion and Uncle George in Tucson, Arizona. It was 1951 and I was 11 years old. We had a black 4-door Pontiac with the Indian-head logo out on the hood of the car. And gasoline was cheap! Hit a gas war at 19 cents per gallon. A family of 6 would make traveling uncomfortable, but we managed. We had a little 2-wheel trailer behind us, which carried all our clothes and whatever. My dad and older brother Dwight did all the driving. Apparently, I did a lot of sleeping, squirming, and, yes, agitating. That relegated me to the middle of the back seat, where seeing the scenery was most difficult. This story concentrates on only one incident, with more to follow later.
It took us 2 whole days to drive across the state of Texas, making it not only the Longhorn state, but the Long-trip state, too. Finally heading toward New Mexico, the gigantic mountains loomed before us. Dad would say, "OK, how far away are the mountains?" We would say, "5 miles."
It turned out to be 50 miles! And driving up into the Rockies was an adventure. Steep climbs. Curvy bends. Few safety barricades along the road in those days. Fearful to look down over the sides of the mountains.
That must have been one of my bad-hair days. Disciplined for something, I was firmly entrenched in the mid-back seat. Sulking. Pouting. Everybody was mad at me. My sister Jean and Pinky Stacy would always sing, "Nobody loves me, everybody hates me. I'm gonna go eat worms." But I never could sing, so that didn't help me much.
My dad loved to take pictures. Spotting a sign saying "Pull-off, rest area," he pulled off on the left side of the road, away from the FEARFUL drop-off down the right side of the mountain. As soon as the car stopped, I was out and on my way for the other side of the road. When I got to the edge, I hollered back, "I'm gonna jump." The rest of the family went hysterical, crying, hollering, putting up a most disgusting fuss. I did. I jumped right off. There just happened to be a flat ledge about 5-feet below road level. Wasn't that convenient? I was a fullfledged rascal.
From there standpoint I had jumped over the side. Of course, they all came running over to look down. "Boo!" I stood up with an ear-to-ear grin (which wasn't going to last long...). Needless to say they didn't get the joke. And now I had upset them even more.
Well, you've heard stories of Wyatt Earp, Fastest Gun in the West. My dad was Mr. Fastest Belt in the East. From there on to Tucson was an even more uncomfortable ride---if you get my gist! Mid-back seat, permanently earned. Less squirming, though. No sense in agitating a sore place. Looking back, I suppose I would characterize my behavior as FOOLISH.

"A FOOL's lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. A FOOL's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul (and backside)." Prov 18:6,7.
"FOLLY is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." Prov 22:15. Or a belt!
Don't worry, I got over it. I was used to that by age 11.

The Bible teaches a lot about children, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives. And that is because God is family-oriented.
God flat out loves families. Eph 6:4a is a hard-hitter: "Fathers, do not exasperate your children..." Provoke. Rile. Annoy. Embitter. Well, that sounds tough---on the fathers. I saw this verse in a new light. Interchange the position of two words: CHILDREN, do not EXASPERATE your fathers. Don't provoke, rile, annoy, or embitter them. Powerful, eh? Profound.
"When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you ALIVE with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the CROSS. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the CROSS (Jesus)." Col 2:1315.
The power of the CROSS: "For what I received I passed on to you as of FIRST IMPORTANCE: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, that He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than FIVE HUNDRED of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born (on the road to Damascus)." 1 Cor 15:3-8. Contrary to much modern thought, Jesus Christ was/is a real, live historical person.
If you want the POWER of God in your life, personally, get to know His Son Jesus Christ, Who loves us dearly.
He forfeited His life for me and for you...
PS---I have done quite a number of foolish things since then.
[see "He fought the tree, and the tree won"]

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Member Comments
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Thomas Kittrell 22 Jun 2006
Leon, you've done it again. You have brightened my day with your writing. I got a good laugh from the story. Thanks. Thomas


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