Turkeys and the Expensive Fork

Posted by Missouri Rev on Feb 24th, 2006

While driving home from Richmond today I took my usual meandering backwoods route. I enjoy studying the land — the farms, forests, creeks, and hollers that make up my county. The dirt roads are nearly always empty, leaving me room to cruise along at about 15 mph, which is very useful in turkey counting, a pastime my daughter and I took up some years ago. Today I counted 104 turkeys between 3 separate flocks that were moving through some soybean and corn fields about 2 miles from home. The record thus far is 144 turkeys. No matter how many or how often I see these beautiful birds, I am always blessed to behold the bountiful creation of God. What’s unknown by most, however, is the fact that all turkeys wear a calendar watch and, thus, disappear during the hunting season, as if it was planned. I sometimes wonder if they are off attending turkey survival school during these times. Last year on the last day of the fall turkey season I set up a camouflaged blind in a field where the turkeys are known to frequent in the evening before roosting in the large trees nearby. I never so much as saw a turkey, though I did hear some tittering in the bushes on the other side of the field, well out of range of course. Exactly 24 hours later I drove by the same field and wouldn’t you know it, a flock of 12 plump turkeys was casually meandering towards the exact spot where my blind had been set and had come within 15 yards of it with the sun in their feathered faces. It must be a conspiracy . . . I can still hear them tittering.

I am the reacquainted and humbled owner of a rather expensive fork. Not that it started out expensive, as it is one of those cheap bimetal forks from China that most “financially challenged” pastors are quite familiar with. It became very expensive, however, upon the discovery of a journey it mysteriously took . . . into the inner sanctum of the primary “porcelain pony” of our household. You know how the routine goes; it backs up and you get out the plunger and bingo, it’s back to normal. Only in this case “back to normal” lasted just a few days, whereupon Mount Vesuvius gave us another unpopular announcement. With our muscles aching from plunging the problem to death, we sought a more aggressive remedy . . . the toilet snake. After a thorough and vigorous use, our pony relented briefly to normality, only to announce further problems a day or two later, but now the problem was reoccurring faster. Thank God, we have two more toilets in the church sanctuary, even if the heat is turned way down during the winter, except on the Lord’s Day. The brisk temperatures make for quick visits . . . hmmm, maybe if I left the heat down during the service more people would be apt to return quickly to one of my “short sermons” following a visit to the facilities. After applying the big guns — our community roto-rooter — to no avail, I began to wonder if something else was amiss, so I removed the stool from its base, cleaned it, and then tested it in the bathtub, which was semi-conclusive and just enough to lead me – Inspector Porcelain – in the wrong direction. I then tested the drain pipe with large quantities of water and it appeared normal. With the mystery intensifying, a suggestion was made that the drain vent was somehow blocked. To check this out one of the brethren from our church put on his coveralls and descended through a narrow opening (for which I do not fit) into the pit below the bathroom. He soon sorted out the myriad of pipes that converge there and found the correct vent stack. After testing it briefly it was determined that it was, after all, the wayward pony. I soon procured a suitable replacement (tall enough for the tall man I am) and installed it. Of course, the old tank had a different bolt pattern than the new base, so a new tank was needed as well. So after $100 dollars and plenty of poor investigative work on my part, our porcelain pony was back to perfect working condition, a real relief to my family! I’ll never take for granted how great a working toilet really is. Now, with my curiosity peeked and having a real desire to commence a rapid and glorious departure of the failed pony, I took a hammer to it and soon discovered the battered fork firmly lodged within it. How it got there I’ll never know. The only clues I have thus far point to the mysterious household troublemaker all of us know by the name of “I don’t know.” With all I have in this ugly fork I suppose I ought to mount it somewhere as a reminder.

A Wonderful Day!

Posted by Missouri Rev on Feb 14th, 2006

Today was a wonderfully warm day and perfect for taking a hike, which I did with my wife and youngest daughter. We headed over to a favorite area of ours in the Crooked River valley (about 3 miles) and hiked around a heavily wooded hill bordered almost entirely on the eastside by a long pond shaped a like a bony finger. During the summer the glorious cacophony of frogs and insects that make it their community is nearly deafening, though now the quite breezes blowing through its many water logged stumps are a melodious prelude to the concerto which will burst forth in about seven weeks. In the fields across from it were thousands of blackbirds feeding on the corn and flying rapidly about in stunning unison, as the unseen hand of God directed this swirling cloud of feathered acrobats to His praise and glory. I can’t say how much we enjoyed filling our lungs with the rich rural air, hearing all the birds singing praises to their Creator in simple melodious sonnets, feeling the oak leaves crunching under our feet, and seeing the many grasses swaying to the gentle breezes.

On the west side near a small pond where we harvest bullfrogs during the summer, we stopped at a recently plowed field to break up a handful of the black soil between our fingers while smelling its wonderfully sweet bouquet, something all of us have come to particularly enjoy and appreciate. All along the way we sought out certain grand trees to examine them up close – the stately oak, the shag bark hickory, the walnut – which are but a few of the dozens of varieties that fill the hillsides. We gathered various size acorns, along with chestnuts, walnuts, and hickory nuts. My daughter gathered a few bird’s nests to add to her collection.

It was the perfect environment for a great discussion on the technology and scale of the Lord’s creation. To see firsthand the various systems of creation at work with each other—all for which man is to steward—is exhilarating. I long for the day, if the Lord is willing, where the Lord’s people, in covenant with each other, can steward these abundant forests and rich farmlands to the praise of His glory. Just walking through them as we did encourages and strengthens me to press into the Lord’s Kingdom. Thank you Lord!! His mercies are renewed daily.