Eight-year-old Cody Brandon sat at the smooth, rock table pouring over his schoolbook. His feet swung a foot from the dining room floor. Teacher had started his class in History, and today she told them about the days of their ancestors, the Above-The-Waters.
Five pages of Cody’s schoolbook were devoted to the Above-The-Waters. A few washed-out, grainy photos showed what was supposed to be the Above-The-Waters’ home. Cody’s imagination made the pictures come to life. The blue of Mama’s Sunday dress painted the sky, and herbs in Papa’s kitchen garden provided the green of the grasses and trees. The ever-present flow of air from the wall vents was the wind, and the grass swayed and the trees danced as it blew.
“Cody, my boy, are you reading or wool gathering?”
“Grandad!” Cody leapt from his chair and flew into the old man’s open arms.
“Whoa, whoa! You’re getting big enough to bowl me over, boy.” Earnest Brandon’s deep chuckle shook his belly. No one in Farlow had weight to spare, but Grandad Earnest was well loved. The Aunts and Cousins and Meeting ladies made sure Grandad didn’t go hungry.
“Grandad, what’s wool gathering?”
“Always wanting to learn, you are. Speaking of that, what are you pretending to be studying there?”
“The Above-The-Waters. Look at these pictures. And here, on the next page, pictures of the first tunnels.” Before Cody could turn the page, his Grandad reached down and stopped him.
“Cody, I’m old. I’ve seen those pictures and lots more.”
Cody’s eyes grew wide. “Were you there? When they dug the tunnels under the waters and carved our homes?”
Another chuckle rumbled from deep within his Grandad. “No, boy, I’m not that old. I did hear from my Grandad the ancient tales of the escape through the waters after the destruction. It’s our tradition to pass down history through the generations.” He tread softly to the bookcase beside the fireplace. After a lifetime of pulling it from the shelf, his hand found the worn, leather volume by instinct.
“Grandad, that’s the Meeting Book. Today’s only Tuesday.” Cody’s face was scrunched in confusion. “And what about the Above-The-Waters?”
“This isn’t the first time you’ve heard about the Above-The-Waters. You’ve been hearing some of their stories all your life,” his Grandad said as he gently tapped the Meeting Book.
“The people in the Bible? And Israel was … Wow!” Cody’s wheels were turning. “But, Teacher said they didn’t know much about the Above-The-Waters. That most of the History was lost. If the Bible is about the Above-The-Waters, why would she say everything they knew was in my schoolbook?”
“Because, sadly, not everyone believes that the Bible is true history. Some think it’s full of made up stories, and think us foolish for calling it truth.” Grandad Earnest’s creased face was filled with sorrow, but his voice grew angry as he went on. “Because of those children whose parents don’t believe, the School isn’t allowed to speak about God or the Bible.”
“That’s not fair! How will those kids know then?” Cody was catching his Grandad’s irritation.
“Nothing is stopping you from telling them, Cody. That’s what Jesus meant when He said to spread the good news about Him. But only after School, or on weekends.”
Carefully, he opened the Meeting book. “You have a gift for memorizing Scripture – the best in your group at Meeting. Come, to read me from Genesis of the Creation. I want you to memorize it, so you can tell your school friends about some REAL ancient history.”
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