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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Pastor (11/30/06)

TITLE: Our Pastor
By thadd presley


We are not a rich family; and being forced into this situation by a surprise layoff, I was forced to move to the country and leave the city behind. The move wasn’t as hard on me as it was my daughter, for the house we had moved into was a three room cabin, heated by a wood stove, and she did not have the luxuries she was used to. I understood her pain of leaving her friends and school behind, but I had no choice. Until I found a better job, this was our home. I told her that she would be back to her friends and school in no time, but I felt that it would be longer than either of us expected.

Since my daughter hadn’t made any friends, being miles from the neighbors house, I spent my afternoons playing with her, which I felt was a blessing for both of us. We’d spend most evenings riding our bicycles down the country roads to see the fields of wheat and watch them sway in the wind. She never got tired of this exercise and always wanted to do it everyday. I thanked God that my daughter did not complain about our situation. Of course being poor is embarrassing, but having her in my life made it bearable.

On a particular evening, as we rode our bikes, I decided to take a different road and show my daughter Mr. Rodgers’ cows. He had many fields that he had and I knew she would love it. She got excited when we turned down the road that wasn’t our usual path and asked questions about where we were going and what was down that way. I only told her it was a surprise.

I knew my daughter had seen cows before, but not up close and I felt it would be a treat for her.

Arriving at the field, my daughter’s eyes got really big. “What are those dad?”
She was only five years old, so I told her everything I could about them. “Those are cows sweetheart, that’s where milk comes from and where we get hamburgers.”
“Why does that cow have horns daddy?”
I looked into the field and sure enough, bare visible with my old eyes, I could see a bull standing amongst the cows. “That is a daddy cow,” I told her. “Those horns help it fight away anything that tries to hurt the other cows.”

I was so happy that she was enjoying our time here because being poor is not an easy thing. Children know when you are poor and they see other children in new clothes and with new shoes, but my daughter never asked questions about why she didn’t get a lot of Christmas presents of why the other kids always had extra milk money and she didn‘t. She was very understanding about our situation.

“Daddy,” she asked, feeling the barbed wire, “why do the cows have to live in this fence?”
I thought for a moment and took her hand into mine, so she wouldn’t prick herself on the barbs. “The farmer puts this fence here so that the cows will be safe.
“But, what about the daddy cow? He can keep them safe, can’t he?”
“Well, he can, but this fence keeps the cows from leaving the field?”
“You mean they can’t leave, ever?”
I sensed my daughter feeling sympathetic for the cows and I wanted to show her that the fence was necessary.
“The fence is important, sweetheart, because it shows the cows where they are supposed to eat. Without the fence they would get scattered and the farmer wouldn’t know where they were and he wouldn’t be able to feed them.”
I saw her eyes wander across the field back and forth. Slowly and quietly she looked, then she looked up at me.
“Daddy, where do the cows eat?”
I smiled at her and squeezed her hand lightly. “The cows eat at the pasture honey, that’s why the farmer has to know where they are.”
“So, he can fed them,” she asked
“Yes, so he can take them and so they can eat.”
She smiled up at me and stooped giving her a kiss on the cheek.

On the way home, she stopped her bike suddenly. “Daddy, is that why we call Brother Thomas our pastor, because he brings us food when we don’t have any? He is our pasture?”
I smiled, “Yes, he is, honey.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Ryan Tribble12/07/06
Good job! I can relate with little girl, only my situation is the opposite. I’m a hard core country guy, that’s been forced into the city. As a redneck, I really enjoyed your allegory with the cows! Your paragraphing was a little awkward, and spacing between speakers would help. Other than that, I really enjoyed this piece.
Sara Harricharan 12/13/06
Slightly weak on topic-but great tie in at the end. I loved the feel of the story and of the bond between the parent-daughter. Great job with this :)