Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)
By Angela King
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And then I met him, a kindly old man who carried a tattered copy of the Holy Bible in his right hand and a canteen of a similar condition in his left. He offered that “Gideon” was his name, as he nodded politely in my direction. He noticed the perspiration drenching my shirt and offered me his precious drink—and without hesitation, I graciously accepted the offer.
He was heading toward Savannah—as was I—and he asked if we could travel on together. “I’d be much obliged,” I answered, as we began our leisurely stroll toward town. He was a friendly grandfather-type of man and I longed for someone to talk with as I made my way to my destination.
Our conversation began immediately as he talked about his grandparents—former slaves on a rundown plantation not 2 miles away. “They was hard workers—God-fearin’ folk,” Gideon stated with pride as he gripped his bible firmly but gently. He later confided that his bible had been their prized possession, passed through the generations as each delicately scripted name testified.
As we continued our conversation, we drew closer to the outskirts of Savannah. I had almost wished we hadn’t reached our destination, as I could have listened to Gideon’s recollections for hours. But we had arrived. And as we strolled down the main street, we felt hundreds of eyes following our every move and saw mouths drop at the sight of us. We trudged on together—our destination the same.
The protest rally was set to begin at dusk and many people—mostly African-American—came in the name of peace. But in the distance, the smoke from a burning cross wafted in the sky and we knew that evil lingered in the background. If Gideon was affected by this revelation, it didn’t show on his weathered face. He introduced me—a young, white undergraduate—as his friend. And I knew he meant it.
Gideon spoke to the crowd, quoting scripture that called them to love their neighbor. He held up his most prized possession—in the midst of the social turmoil that encompassed them--and truly believed that good would one day triumph over evil. He rested in the truth of the words printed in that bible, much as his ancestors had in the years before him. Perhaps the pen was indeed mightier than the sword.
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