Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Bookends (01/30/14)
- TITLE: Reckoned Right
By PamFord Davis
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He surrendered to the call to preach at the age of fifteen. Reverend didn’t seem fittin’ fer’ a lanky lad with little learnin.’ In no time, he had settled into the role and handle of Preacher. He visited the sick and widows, hitched quite a few couples, did funerals and preached faithfully.
He filled pulpits of many remote country churches, so remote ya’ needed a bloodhound to lead the way. Only a remnant attended. John never depended on a preacher’s salary; instead, he did odd jobs and accepted love offerings only when persuaded.
A little arm-twistin’ doesn’t hurt anybody; occasionally his adamant parishioners dug in their heels until he cried uncle. He sheepishly accepted paltry offerings. Preacher loved his people unconditionally and they staunchly supported him as friend and man of the cloth.
Lookin’ back through the years, as he approached his perceived allotted time span, (Job 14:5) Preacher had a premonition. He reckoned it was time ta’ make out his will. He never married but came from a large family and had faithful friends. Feeling a twinge, he began his task.
With labored breathing, he shuffled his way to the kitchen cupboard. After pulling out a pencil and piece of tattered paper, he returned to the security of his rocker in front of a potbelly stove. He reached inside his red flannel shirt pocket for spectacles and slipped them on.
Looking below at the blank piece of paper, he prayed silently.
“Lawd, my life would be jus' like this empty paper without ya.”
He began writing the will in his own words....
I reckon that whoever finds this here will, found me dead and gone.
My friends would come a lookin’ if I missed a mornin’ in church.
I’m not much fer’ writin.’
The Good Lawd' gave me the gift of gab instead.
Not much ta’ jot down, anyhow.
I leave the house to my nephew John. He’s been keepin’ up the place for nigh unta’ ten years.
My bird dog Jake and huntin’ gun go ta’ my good neighbor Slim.
I know Charlie’s a-had his eye on my fishin’ pole. So, I’m givin’ that ta’ him.
Ain’t nothin’ else of much value. Parcel it off as seems fittin.’
My mind is failin’ me some.
I do have somethin’ else special ta’ leave bahind.
Look inside the kitchen cupboard fer’ my books.
Ya’ might git’ a chuckle outa’ my bookends.
After I put my faithful mule Moses outa’ his misery, I’s wanted somethin’ ta’ remember him by. So, I made bookends outa’ dem' horseshoes.
I give my books to ya’ new preacher.
Wippin’ tears outa’ his eyes, he paused briefly.
I’ve preached a lot-a sermons in my day. Glory came down a time er’ two.
Spooky a-thinkin bout' what a preacher might be-a sayin’ at mine.
Hopes he keeps it short but tells the mourners hows' ta’ repent and be saved.
Leads em’ down that old Roman road and gives em’ time to get right with the sweet Lawd.
I won’t be a sayin’ goodbye.
I’m a believin’ all that hears this will be comin' on soon to join me in Beulah Land.
The preacher reckoned right on his time being short. He suffered a massive coronary the next week. After attending the funeral and burial in the family plot, Young John entered the ram-shackled shack his beloved uncle called home.
He lit an oil lantern and opened a window to remove a repugnant musty odor. Unsure where to begin, he decided on the small kitchen with indoor hand water pump, wrought iron cook stove and ice box.
Preacher never cooked much; so, there were few dishes, cups, utensils, or pots and pans. The shelves held only needed staples. When seeing an opened bag of flour, he could almost smell Preachers baked biscuits and red eye gravy.
He grasped the thread spool doorknob and slowly opened the old cupboard.
Preacher had left his will folded neatly inside. John gasped for air as he read,
“Gone ta’ meet da’ Lawd' Jesus.”
Trembling, he read the will. Curious about the aforementioned books and bookends he again looked inside the cupboard. Preacher lived by what he read-the Bible and Farmer’s Almanac.
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