“Billy, you quit that! Quit beatin’ on Freddie! Why do you have to be so mean! I’m gonna tell Granny B – she can see you!”
“Aw, what’s she gonna do? She’s old as dirt! I’ll bet she’s a hundred years old.”
“She knows your dad and you know what that means! I heard him tell you he’d better not catch you fightin’ again – Granny B! Granny B, call Billy’s dad, he’s beatin’ up on Freddie!”
Granny B motions for them all to come to her.
“Come on, Billy, she means business!” Violet spits out.
“Aw . . . okay” he groans as he stomps to Granny B’s front yard. He sure does not want his dad to hear that he has broken the “No Fighting” rule again.
Putting her arm around little Freddie, pretty, dark eyed Violet helps him to limp into Granny B’s yard, following a few feet behind Billy.
“Now you children sit down here and tell me what this is all about.”
“Well, he wouldn’t move . . . then he made a face at me.”
“Was that a reason to beat up Freddie?”
“Well . . . I guess not . . . but . . . . I just get so mad.”
“You felt disrespected, didn’t you? Did it hurt you inside when he made that face?”
“Huh? Well . . . I guess so.” He is processing the big word.
“How old do you think I am, Billy? I heard you say ‘as old as dirt,’ but really -- what is that in years do you think?”
“Uh . . . I . . . I guess I really don’t know.”
“I am ninety-eight years old.”
“Wow! Gosh! That is old as dirt . . . I mean . . . .”
“It’s okay, I know what you mean, but the point is that I’ve been around a whole lot longer than you have. I have lived nearly a whole century. I’ve seen many things. I’ve experienced hurt, disrespect and pain that I hope you will never see. That is what each generation dreams for the next one – a world with peace and love and not war, killing or fighting.
“I was born in 1895 in a covered wagon coming west. I am told that we were in the middle of a rain-storm with only the wagon for protection. I was eight-years-old when my mother died of an abscessed tooth. There were no doctors around to help her.
“I have seen the stress of the Great Depression and experienced the pain of losing a son to World War II. Two other wars also took their toll on my family. I have seen man’s inhumanity to man.
“I have also seen many wonderful inventions come about. I saw the big Iron Horse (that’s what the Indians called the railroad). We went from the Pony Express for mail to Air Mail. I saw cars and horses, together on the same road. That could be really funny. My dear, Benjamin, courted me in a beautiful new surrey drawn by two magnificent white horses -- now that was nifty.”
Violet’s eyes get big, but Billy jumps in with “Did you see Indians?”
“Oh my, yes. Some were good others were bad just like us.”
“Tell us about it!”
“I can do that, the stories are all tucked away safe in my memories.”
“When will you tell us?”
“Well . . . it may take some time to tell. Remember, a whole century is a long time and there was a lot of living in it. I will tell you the stories, but you must promise to not fight anymore. Is it a deal? Billy, Freddie . . . .”
Freddie’s head begins to bob up and down enthusiastically. Billy is a bit slower at making his commitment, but he truly wants to hear Granny B’s real-life stories. Of course Violet will not be left out either.
“Okay, it’s a date. Come by on Saturday and I will begin to tell you about the past century if you will promise to be thinking about what you will do for the century that is your future. You have a great responsibility before you and I want you to be able to learn from our past mistakes as well as what we contributed. You will need the knowledge to be able to walk into God’s assignment for your time.”
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