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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: Walking the Talk
By Virgil Youngblood


The hand-lettered sign was tied to a barbed-wire fence on a country road. Faded red writing on a dingy white background proclaimed Pecans For Sale.

“Stop!” my wife shrilled, swiveling her head to keep the retreating advertise- ment in sight.

I stomped the brake pedal, thinking we were in mortal danger of hitting, or being hit, by something unseen. Pleasant thoughts vanished into the squeal of rubber on asphalt.

“We need pecans,” she said, her arms braced against the dashboard as we slid to a halt.

“Woman, don’t do that,” I said, aggravated to my soul. “I’ve told you a thousand times. I almost ran us in the ditch.”

And, as always she apologized, but justified her actions. “Sid’s funeral is tomorrow. I’m baking a cake for the meal after the service. I really need some pecans.”

After backing up, we turned through an open gate and drove down a pecan tree shaded lane. The track led to a small, neat farm house surrounded by aging implements and outbuildings. A large black dog, alerted by our musical approach on the graveled drive, crawled from his shady spot beneath a hay baler. Stretching leisurely, his tail began thumping dust into the air with a rhythm accomplished drummers would admire. His dark liquid eyes questioned our exit from the car.

“Hi, folks,” came a cheery greeting. An elderly man with soft blue eyes and a tanned, leathery face walked toward us from a small barn, wiping his hands with a red rag. He was wearing bib-overalls and a John Deere cap. “Don’t mind Gaspar. He doesn’t bite. I’m George.”

“We saw your sign,” Mae said. “Do you still have pecans?”

He did, and they were reasonably priced. We decided on ten pounds.

Putting a paper bag on a scale, he took a scoop and deftly filled it from a large barrel of nuts.

“I put eleven pounds in there,” he said, handing me the bag, “just in case there are a few bad ones.”

There were very few, we discovered, after shelling the pecans. His price had been more than fair and the additional pound he gave us left a warm feeling. More than that, as we stood around talking before departing, a friendship had been kindled.

We know where we will purchase pecans next year.

Although George and I are about the same age, he reminded me of my grandfather who died when I was a teenager. He too, was a farmer/rancher. One of the things he sold was peaches.

I treasure what mother wrote, quoting him in her memoirs: “Another thing, when I sold peaches I didn’t fill the bottom of the basket with little-uns. I put in the best I had and filled her up. Never could stand a feller who wouldn’t give good measure.”

On his death bed he said, “I don’t know if the Lord would have any use for an old codger like me or not. I have never been a go-to-church-pray-on-Sunday feller. I’ve never amounted to much, never had much of a chance to be somebody.”

Oh, but I think he was!

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (NKJ)

Both George and my grandfather are good examples.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

Author’s note: Micah 6: 9-15 describe God’s abomination of the short measure, and the consequences for those that use wicked scales.

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This article has been read 540 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Hawbaker01/18/13
Excellent opening--it really caught my attention and kept me reading. I thought the line about knowing where you will buy pecans next year would have been a good place to stop. Althouh the last paragraphs were interesting, they didn't seem to be fit with the rest of the article.
Linda Goergen01/19/13
While it could have easily ended with the line of knowing where you’d buy pecans next year and still been a great story, I personally I enjoyed it all. It was like getting two stories but they intertwined well at the end.

Loved the imagery, I could easily visualize it all as I read, reminded me of summer’s on my grandparents farm and how my grandpa would act. And let me tell you, I could literally hear you in the words I read at the beginning when you were aggravated, because I have a tendency to yell out like that to my husband too when I see something and want to stop—and he gets aggravated at me too! LOL

The story fit the scriptures wonderfully and I thought it was a heart-warming, entertaining story with a great message that I
thoroughly enjoyed reading!
C D Swanson 01/22/13
Had me from the first to last paragraph. Wonderful job with this entry.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
This is so beautiful. You got your point across without sounding preachy. I loved it.
Myrna Noyes01/24/13
Hearty congratulations on your E.C. win for this excellent story! Your wonderful descriptive writing helped me see the whole event unfold before my mind's eye! I thoroughly enjoyed this and appreciated the lesson included! WAY TO WRITE! :)