Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Making Ends Meet (01/16/14)
- TITLE: Rattlesnake Crossing
By Phillip Cimei
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You might ask yourself, “Why in the world would anyone, along with his wife and children, live in such a dangerous spot?” The answer, I had to do whatever I could to make it, to provide for my family. We were aware of the challenges and dangers. We did not want hand outs and we put our faith in God to protect us and to provide for us.
I worked for minimum wage at a local lumber company during the day. I was given the opportunity to live in an old 10x40 trailer, owned by my boss that was located in the middle of this snake infested pasture. My boss told me that he would give me a discount on the rent. I would have to mend fences after work and on the weekends, feed his cows and report any problems that might occur, like the time his rolled baled hay spontaneously combusted and lit up the sky.
Living among snakes was tough for my wife whose greatest phobia was snakes. She never complained even after finding snake skins behind the stove.. She worried about me walking the cow trails to mend fences. I had to wear aluminum shin guards to protect me from the snakes I would encounter. One time while walking along a cow trail near Edna's home, I walked upon a large diamond back that narrowly missed me with his lightning strike.
The sweltering, triple digit, summer heat along with the unshaded rays of the sun beating on that metal sided trailer drained all the energy we had. The one fan we had only moved around the stagnant air. But, we would always encourage our children not to complain. My wife would repeat a phrase her mother had drilled in her mind when she was discontented as a child, “ I complained I had no shoes, until I saw a man that had no feet.”
The winters were just as harsh and testing. We had an old wood stove that barely warmed the small living room where our oldest son slept on the couch at night. The other four stayed bundled in the two sets of bunk beds in the small six by eight bedroom. The winters tolerable until the pipes would freeze, even after wrapping them with old warn out cloths and rags. I would have to take a hair dryer and thaw them so we could have water that day. I reminded my children that this wasn't as bad as the time we lived in Davis, Oklahoma when we had galvanized pipes. I had to crawl under the house and lie in near freezing water and use an old dull hacksaw to cut the pipe in order to put a repair coupling on it. The children would giggle and stop their complaining. Then God's spirit would move their heart and they would jokingly remind me of the place we previously moved from that was a box house; a house that had wood planks on the outside and cardboard on the inside. It had no insulation at all. They chuckled as they talked about huddling around the old cast iron wood stove, and on those freezing nights seeing their breath as they lay in bed layered with clothes under stacks of blankets..
Through all of this we learned that happiness is not a warm house, but a warm spirit. My wife and I along with our church family tried to instill in our children that Godliness with contentment is great gain and to have the spirit of the psalmist who said, “Give me neither poverty nor riches: feed me with food convenient for me.” We had enough food, clothing, shelter and faith to ward of the snakes. And that included that serpent, the devil.
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