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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)

TITLE: Old Floyd
By Brenda Kern


The corpse said nothing.

At Floyd's funeral, the pastor had opened up the service to anybody who 'wanted to say something.'

First out of his seat was Gerry; most knew of his violent childhood. Gerry cleared his throat and began: "I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Old Floyd there. I'm ashamed to admit that I hit my oldest boy a time or two, and I feared what I was capable of. One evenin' Floyd came over and asked if he might talk with me, and he came right out and told me that he knew I was hittin' the kid sometimes, and he also knew I felt bad about it.

"Anyways," Gerry fumbled with his hat, but wanted to say his piece. "Anyways, Floyd said he knew about my pappy, and he told me I could break that cycle in my family--break it right now. He said, 'Gerry, what you need is the Good Lord Jesus. Ask Him to help you feel gentle when you feel like hittin', and test Him on it. See if He doesn't help you out, somethin' mighty.'"

The big man's voice cracked, but he pushed on. "I want to testify here and now, in front of God and you, that from that day 'til now, that's exactly what I've done, and I ain't never hit my kids or my wife or even kicked the dog since then, not once. Thank God for Old Floyd."

Next out of his seat was Pete. He had been in an out of institutions during his early adulthood, but had hit an even keel at some point. Most folks figured that they had finally found the right drug. Pete set them straight, though. "My life was a mess, and I was thinkin' that I should probably end it all, and who saw me at the store but Floyd. We talked for a while, then he said, 'Pete, what you need is the Good Lord Jesus. Ask Him to calm your soul and cleanse your mind, and He will!' This was quite a challenge to me, because I didn't believe in God, but I was desperate. I got on my knees, and God gave me peace. Yep, thank God for Old Floyd."

Pat, who had stuttered up into his teens, flawlessly spoke about the patience Floyd had while working with him hours upon hours after school to smooth out his speech, when everyone else had given up.

Cal Gooden talked next about how nervous he had been to move into the county, where his would be the first Black family in the area. He said, "Well, you know the story. Family after family stopped by with a casserole, or produce, or a load of firewood--it seemed the whole valley was welcoming us! We only found out last year that Floyd was the ringleader behind all this goodness. Thank God for Old Floyd."

Frank popped up and said "My turn!" He related a lesson in faithfulness that Floyd had taught him, then Jim and Janice shared how Floyd had quietly helped them adopt against all odds, and how little Darla had brought them so much joy.

When Kent rose to speak, everyone hushed. Decades ago Floyd had "stolen" Lois away, and Kent had held a grudge about it for a very long time. He had systematically tried to ruin Floyd's life, but couldn't make even a dent. "Floyd just went on killin' me with kindness until I finally had to give up, because my anger was tearin' me apart. Now, I love him like a brother, and I'm gonna miss him so much!"

While everybody sniffled, Sam, previously known as Sam the Drunk, rose. He was brief: "Floyd also told me, 'Sam, what you need is the Good Lord Jesus. He will help you, I promise you.' Well, he was right. 78 days."

The men offered a hearty "Praise the Lord!" and the women chimed in with "Amen!"

Sam sat, and Lois thought about the 60-some years of love she had shared with Floyd. She wondered if Floyd was listening, and what he thought about all this praise being heaped on him...

But Floyd wasn't paying one lick of attention. He was too busy whooping and hollering his own song of worship to the Good Lord Jesus, and dancing a little dance of praise.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23, NIV

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This article has been read 974 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dixie Phillips10/17/05
I loved this! With each character you introduced, I was seeing a kaleidoscope of faces in my mind's eye, knowing some of the same people. But best of all I knew an OLD FLOYD, too, who invested in my life. BEAUTIFUL STORY! Pulled at my heartstrings!
janet rubin10/17/05
I was "whoopin and hollerin" just readin' this story. So good!
Brenda Kern 10/17/05
I believe I found some hidden Fruit of the Spirit word play here: Gerry=G=Gentleness, Pete=P=Peace, etc.

B Brenton10/17/05
I love your witty fantastic writing... but... where's the fruit? I see no central portion of fruit with this. It would be a wonderful article, should be a published story... but, it ain't fruit, hon!
Suzanne R10/19/05
Your opening line drew me in properly! Lovely content.
Alexandra Wilkin10/20/05
You've got to love that opening line! Well, the fruit might have been hidden, but it was definately there. I loved the characters in this, their 'voices' were as clear as a bell. So well written. God bless.
Amy Michelle Wiley 10/20/05
ooo, I saw the fruit too! Great job!
Anita Neuman10/21/05
Wow! Great pictorial of the fruit of the Spirit! I found it odd that Cal was the only one with a last name, but then I realized that "Gooden" was the tie to his attribute. Well done!
Linda Watson Owen10/21/05
A very 'Spirited' funeral story! Oh, yes, I know many Old Floyd's. God bless 'em!
Garnet Miller 10/22/05
What will others say about us when we pass on? Will they talk about our possessions or what a hard worker we were or will they tell of how we made a difference in their lives because of the Christ in us? To God be the glory. Thanks for this wonderful article!
Melanie Kerr 10/22/05
I hope that my life will be as fruitful as Floyd's.
Jan Ackerson 10/24/05
Brenda, I loved the subtle way that you wove each fruit into this story. From the names of the people that were blessed at the funeral, to the fruits that Floyd brought to their lives, this piece was a beautiful example of unique use of the theme. Well-done!
Deborah Porter 10/24/05
Brenda, this was very well done and I just wanted to stop by and let you know that you ranked 9th in the Level 3 list, and 17th overall (out of 135 entries). So well done! There really wasn't much separating the entries in the top 30. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)