I grew up in a small community where your neighbors looked out for each other. Mom and dad had four children two boys and two girls. I was the youngest. Old Mr. Farnsworth, a widower, lived on one side and the Stevens lived on the other. They had a daughter called Maxine who was my age. We were inseparable and did everything together. When we were 14, we made confessions of faith accepting Christ as our Savior. Our parents laughingly said we were two peas in a pod.
Mr. Farnsworth came over on Saturday’s when dad was off. They sat on our patio and talked. Maxine and I were by our pool talking about starting high school and we heard bit and pieces of what they were discussing. Mr. Farnsworth was saying something about time marching on as well as hindsight always being 20/20 and to us that sounded so strange.
Marie my older sister who was 17 talked to me about high school. She told me that some of the sophomores loved to lead freshmen astray if they could. Maxine and I talked about what Marie said but she shrugged her shoulders rolled her eyes and sighed.
When school started, Maxine signed up for the basketball team and I joined the track team. We made new friends and started to expand our horizons. Some sophomores on the basketball team befriended Maxine and she thought that was great. It wasn’t long before they convinced her drinking beer was ok. They started calling her Max because it sounded better then Maxine. She started calling me TJ instead of Terry.
Max invited me to join them for a beer but I said I wasn’t interested. Her friends snorted and said I was Miss Prissy and started walking away. Max shook her head giving me a disgusted look and joined them. I rarely saw Max after that.
A month before summer ended the community always held a covered dish social in the park and everybody came. Max feigned sickness so her friends could gather at her house for an evening of drinking beer and having fun. Mrs. Stevens had an allergic reaction to something she had eaten and the Stevens left early. They caught Max and her friends drinking beer. Max was grounded for the remainder of the summer and had no contact with anybody including me. Her parents never let her out of their sight. I felt sorry for Max.
About a week before school, mom and I went to the mall to buy me new running shoes when I heard Max call my name. I couldn’t believe Mrs. Stevens was actually cutting Max some slack.
“Hello Mrs. Stevens how are you? Thank you for letting Max talk to me. Could Max spend the night Mrs. Stevens?” I asked.
Mrs. Stevens and mom looked at each other and smiled. Mrs. Stevens finally shook her head yes, as Max and I hugged each other. I saw Max coming up our drive and had the door opened before Max reached the porch and we ran to my room.
“Oh Max I am so happy we can talk to each other again. Seeing you in church and not being able to talk or even sit next to you was horrible. I can only imagine what you were going through. Mom won’t disturb us because she knows we need to talk among ourselves. I’m thankful to God for having such an understanding mom. She’s pretty cool for someone as old as she is.” I said and we both chuckled.
“Oh TJ I feel like an idiot. I thought I was able to handle my first year in high school but I messed up big time. I learned a very bitter lesson. You tried to warn me but I didn’t listen. I am so sorry I hurt you.” Max said between sobs.
I held Max as she cried and said. “Remember the conversation Mr. Farnsworth and dad had last summer? We heard Mr. Farnsworth say that hindsight is always 20/20 and time marches on. Now I understand what he meant. We learn lessons when we mess up, which is hindsight. Our community is changing people no longer look out for each other. That’s sad Max. I think we’ve both learned an invaluable lesson. Max in Daniel 10:19 God says, “Do not fear, greatly beloved, you are safe. Be strong and courageous!” We’re going to be ok Max.” I said.
*Scripture from MLB.
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