The swirling wind created mounds of colorful fall leaves across the sidewalk. Oliver shuffled through and then circled around to do it again. He laughed as a bushy squirrel scolded him for coming too close. From the window, Laura watched him make his way toward her house. He’s such a ray of sunshine. Life without Vance is lonely, but Oliver always brightens my day.
Happily he skipped up the driveway, towards the open door where Laura waited for him. With a grin he called out “Hi, Grammy!”, then wrapped his arms around her with an enthusiastic hug.
“Welcome, Little One, you got here just in time.” Laura took his backpack and jacket while she talked. “The last batch of peanut butter cookies just came out of the oven. Let’s have some.”
“Yea, my favorite!” Oliver helped himself to a warm cookie, then settled himself at the table, while Laura poured two glasses of milk. “Mmm... this is yummy good. You’re the best cookie maker ever, next to Mommy.”
“That’s pretty high praise from a cookie fiend. Thank you!”
“No homework today, Grammy!” Oliver jumped up and raised his arms in celebration.
“Well now, that is nice. What will you do this afternoon?”
With hope shining from his eyes, Oliver looked up at Laura. “Well, tonight is CHAMPS at church and Mommy said you would take me.”
“Yes, I told your Mommy I would drop you off.”
“Drop me off? Umm, all right. Will you help me study, too?”
“Study? Why do you have to study? Isn’t CHAMPS a kid’s club?”
“Yeah, it’s neat. We do fun things, but the best part is we get to learn God’s Word. If we do a good job, we earn awards, and I want to earn all the awards!” Dancing about the kitchen with a big grin, Oliver spread his arms wide in a circle, pulling in all his “earned awards”.
“Well okay, then. Let’s go study,” laughed Laura. Bible verses can’t hurt him. Vance sure got a lot of comfort from them in his last days.
“The first one is Romans 3:10. As it is written, there is none righteous...”
“Grammy, I passed my test last week! I’ll get another star for my badge now and this week I start the next book.”
“Oh, are there more books?”
“Sure! There’s lots of verses in the Bible and I didn’t learn all of them yet. I have to keep studying. And you’ll keep helping me, right?”
“Sure, honey, if that’s what you want.” As much “helping” as I’ve done, I could probably qualify for those awards. Vance used to quote some of those same verses. If I could only believe what they say.
“Thanks, Grammy. I’ll go get the book.” Hesitating for just a moment, Oliver casually asked, “Do you want to come tonight?”
Laura only shook her head no, and turned away.
“... and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:9.”
“Oliver, you amaze me every week. You learn these verses so easily – it’s almost as if you have them memorized before you get here. You must really like this club!
“Yeah, Grammy. And do you want to know why?” It’s because Gramps told me getting saved made him real happy. When he got sick, he said it was okay because God was going to take him to His house. Gramps said that’s in the Bible and a lot more good stuff. So I figure everyone should read the Bible and get saved. Then if they’re sad, they can get happy, and one day, God will take them to His house, too.”
Stunned, Laura wondered at the words she had just heard. In a primitive sort of way, they echoed the very sentiment her dear husband had told her on more than one occasion. That little Oliver has always been just like his Gramps. I can’t deny that Vance was a happier man after he got saved and he treasured his Bible. Somehow, as young as he is, little Oliver heard the message I refused to hear.
Blinking away the tears from her eyes, Laura leaned over and gave Oliver a long hug. As they headed out to go to CHAMPS, she said, “Maybe I'll just stay for the service tonight.”
As they backed out of the driveway, a bushy squirrel scolded them from the bare branches of the oak tree, but Oliver didn’t notice. In the back seat, he smiled and quietly whispered, “Did you hear that Gramps? She’s coming!”
Holy Bible; King James Version
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