A crystal-clear mountain creek trickled down the mossy side of the mountain. Gently flowing under the log, it observed a small red-headed boy sitting on the log, dangling his feet over the creek. His freckled face scrunched up in the deepest stages of thought, he idly tugged his home-made fishing pole up out of the creek whenever the cork would drift too far out. One may wonder what caused this immense train of thought.
Billy had been up and dressed at the crack of dawn this morning. The first day of summer vacation always proved adventurous to this tanned red-headed little freckle-faced boy. He bounded down the steps to find his dad. See, Billy had special plans today. He wanted ever so much to run into town and play with Jimmy. After church yesterday, Jimmy whispered into Billy’s ear that he had a secret, and Billy could not wait to find out what it was, for he loves secrets. Making sure to slam the screen door, he stepped out on the front porch. It took him only a second to decide where he might find Dad. Billy jumped off the front porch and scampered into the barn. Dad leaned over the edge of the loft.
“Good morning, Billy! Where’re you off to in such a hurry?”
“I was kinda hopin’ I could go play with Jimmy. He has a secret!”
“A secret, huh? Promise you’ll be home for supper?”
“Yes sir!” and with an Indian whoop, Billy was gone.
The rest of the day did not go quite like Billy had planned. He ran all the way into town and found Jimmy helping his dad load boxes into the Ford truck. “Jimmy, where ya goin’?”
“We’re goin’ to the beach, all summer too!”
“What about your secret?”
“This was my secret, Billy.”
“I’ll be back ‘afore school, don’t worry.”
Just then, Jimmy’s dad walked over to the fence, where the boys had been talking.
“Hello, Mr. Taylor.”
“Hello, Billy. You two had better say goodbye, we’ll be leaving soon.” With that, Billy lowered his head.
“Cheer up Billy. Isn’t your family going somewhere for the summer?”
“No, sir.” Billy waved goodbye to Jimmy and slowly started his trek back home. He was leaving not nearly as happy as he had came. He looked up at the sun, squinting his hazel eyes. Why did Jimmy always get to do stuff and go places and get new toys? he wondered. Hmm... he would have to ponder on that one, and every boy knows the perfect time to do some thinking is when your fishing. Picking up his pace, Billy headed for the barn. Grabbing his pole and tackle box, he started for the trail down to the creek. Then, he thought he might need some sandwiches to sort of prod his thinking along. Dropping pole and box, he skipped to the back door thinking Mother must have gone into town for it was awful quiet. Billy pulled his chair over to the cabinet, then climbed up on it to reach the bread. After succeeding in that, he decided on bologna and preceded to make him two sandwiches which he promptly stuck in his pocket. Retrieving his
pole and box, Billy began to make his way to his favorite fishing spot, his loyal old hound dog, Duke, trailing behind.
Billy sat down on his log and started to bait his hook. That finished, he threw his line into the water. As he watched his cork bob up and down, his mind began to wander. Sure, Jimmy’s my best friend. Me ‘n him’s known each other since ‘afore I can remember. And even then Jimmy always had new toys or clothes. Him an’ his parents are always goin’ somewheres. Maybe God loves Jimmy more n’ me ‘cuz He’s always givin’ Jimmy real nice things. Wonder why God loves him more. I try an’ behave in church, but it’s real hard. An’ I say my prayers ever night, well, sometimes ever night, but I try real hard to ‘member and not fall asleep.
Billy started feeling gloomy or hungry one, so he decided to eat one sandwich and save the other for Duke. Slowly, Billy chewed one bite after another. Then, wiping his hands on his blue jeans, he grabbed his pole and his box and started home. As he approached the house, Billy could see Dad working on the new fence. Billy rambled over to where his dad was working and sat down. Dad, seeing the rejected look on his face, sat down beside Billy.
“You’re home awful early.”
“Jimmy couldn’t play.”
“‘Cuz God loves Jimmy more ‘an He does me!”
“Why, Billy, you know that’s not true. God loves each of us the same.”
“Then why does Jimmy and his family get to go to the beach, ‘an all summer too?”
“Billy, God created lots of people in this world, rich, poor, little, big. Just because Jimmy has nicer things than you doesn’t mean God loves him more. Jimmy doesn’t go fishin’ or make mud pies, or have a dog named Duke, now does he?”
“No, I reckon not. And he don’t go campin’ nor squirrel huntin’ either. An’ he don’t behave in church when Mrs. Taylor tells him too, or eat his vegetables.”
“See, Billy, Jimmy might have things you don’t, but you have things he doesn’t have either. And God loves you both the same, and that’s a whole lot.”
“Enough to fill up the ocean?”
“More than that, all the way up to heaven and back.”
“Well’n I guess I’m kinda happy for Jimmy, now that I know God doesn’t like him better ‘an me. Dad, can we go campin’ tomorrow?”
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