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Ready’s Wild Cow–a riding shotgun story

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Same veterinarian, different truck

 

Mr. Robert Ready worked hard at a public job so it was often late afternoon when  he called Charles for veterinary help. Thus, I remember several times late in the evening going to his place off the Camilla highway, out Ready Road, then bumping down a winding trail of a road to the back side of a rolling pasture. Mrs. Ready worked “in town” also and was usually still not home or thoroughly busy cooking or canning or tending her roses. She didn’t come out to help round up cows. Mr. Ready, a tall thickly built man, always wore a dark gray uniform and a canvas hat both of which were not only wet with sweat, but showed signs they’d been that way many times before.

Charles never grumbled when he discovered a cow needing to deliver but still loose in a ten acre pasture. He’d speak cheerfully to Mr. Ready and begin hauling out rope and whatever was needed to catch the cow without tranquilizing her. If he shot her with the tranquilizer we’d have to wait fifteen minutes for the medicine to take effect, then deal with a cow unsteady on her feet whose contractions might have all but stopped.

On one occasion I particularly remember Mr. Ready pointed out the patient amongst sister cows, calf feet showing under her hiked tail. “She’s a gentle one, Doc. We should be able to get her easy.”

When Charles walked toward her she quickly suspected it was she he was after and, smelling trouble, she ran awkwardly down to a clump of tag alder near a swampy area.

“We’ve got to keep her out of that swamp,” said Charles. To me, innocently watching from the passenger seat, he said, “You’re going to have to drive down to the edge of those woods.”

I slid over obediently thinking, “That’s fine as long as I don’t get too near the swamp.”

Before I even reached the woods, the men had flushed the cow out of there and here she came up the sloping pasture again. Charles yelled, “Let me hop on the back of the truck. I’ll have to lasso her.”

He, of course, did not hear my groans.

Thus began a hair-raising journey around and around Mr. Ready’s pasture. Charles yelled, “To the right, the right, the RIGHT! No! the LEFT! Closer, speed up, STOP! To the left, the left I said, the LEFT! No, the right!”

We rocked wildly over terraces, spun through wet places, flew to the right, suddenly sped to the left. My heart was pounding and the fear of running over the cow or Mr. Ready made my palms slick on the wheel.

When it was all over, cow roped to the back end of the truck, calf delivered, a live one that time, I think, I hovered near hoping for some nice words about my skillful driving. But they never came. I think Charles was pretty well convinced I didn’t know right from left, slow from fast. When we left, Mr. Ready lifted his hat to me revealing dark hair drenched in sweat. He grinned and said, “Nice to see you, Mrs. Graham.” Was that all? I got that much just sitting idle in the truck.

Mr. Ready was the one who used to send me grapes which Charles brought home in a clean examation glove. Those gloves are about two feet long, hold a lot of grapes! I was much more successful making grape jelly than driving a cowboy truck!

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Peanuts, Cotton, and Goldenrods

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I went out yesterday to take pictures of peanut fields, a cotton field and goldenrods blooming by the old silo off Highway 112. I enjoyed the escapade much more than the pictures will show. They can’t convey the surprise I encountered when two different people stopped to see if I were having trouble. One was the owner, I guess, of the cotton field I was trying to capture in my camera. He offered to take me in his truck for a closer view but I declined. The other was a sheriff’s deputy who looked unconvinced when I told him I was fine. Maybe I shouldn’t have left the hazard blinker on when I parked beside the road. My pictures will certainly not give off the nutty, earthy scents I breathed in nor will they capture my fear when I realized I was wading calf deep in thick grass where a rattlesnake could be coiled.

My tour of Grady County’s peanut harvest included a view of large trailers piled high with peanuts, fields generously populated with huge bales of peanut hay looking deliciously like great loaves of bread, meeting a combine in the road and being glad he moved over to give me space. Overall, I felt energized myself from feeling the intensity of the farmers working to get their crops in ahead of the rain.

We had a real nice taste of the new crop earlier this week. I stepped out to get the mail one afternoon and waved to Ronnie Whitfield as he zoomed past. Then he backed up in his jeep and called out, “Do you like peanuts?” In the back of his jeep were three crates full of  peanuts already picked off the vines. He gave me about three gallons which we soaked overnight, then boiled, covered in water, with a cup of salt for five or six hours. Oh, my! did the house smell good that day! And the peanuts are wonderful, addictive, so good! How nice to have a neighbor like that!

To extol the peanut for only a line or two–how could I have raised my children without PBJ sandwiches? How could we have a party without salted peanuts? How would the South have recovered from the boll weevil without alternative crops like peanuts and soy beans? Thanks for your part, Mr. George Washington Carver!

And then there’s the cotton crop. Because we did recover from the boll weevil and learn how to make sure he leaves the beautiful bolls alone. For years there were fields of tobacco, corn, soy beans but no cotton. Now the beautiful white fields stretch towards the tree line. The cotton is not delicious like peanuts, but so soft in flannel, sturdy in jeans, so adaptable a fabric. And so beautiful growing. After defoliation the fields are really “white unto harvest.” I saw a field yet untouched, one in progress of harvesting, and one where the fantastic huge bales of cotton as big as a house stood ready for transport. How do they make those bales so neat and tight?

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Charles remembers picking cotton, neighbors helping each other out during harvest. My mother talked about what it was like when she was a girl growing up in North Georgia, how hard they worked during cotton picking time. She said the rows stretched forever and she thought she’d never get the required pounds in her bag. Yet, she said, there was the fun of singing, telling tall tales, teasing and laughing with her brothers. That man I saw in the combine was all alone. I guess he had a radio for entertainment. I did wave to him after I took his picture, in case he needed a little encouragement!

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All along the fence rows and in forgotten patches goldenrods bloom profusely with some morning glories and asters mixed in. The sky was, in itself, reflecting glory to God the day I was cruising the harvest. Now as I write a gentle rain is pattering down and the sky is a mixture of puffy grays. I wonder if the crops are safe.

Peanuts, cotton and goldenrods–food, fabric, and beauty. And neighbors who come by to share peanuts! And folks who are concerned when they see a silver-haired woman out tramping around in the weeds!

This is a wonderful place to live.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.” Psalms 98:4 (KJV)

 

 

 

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West Goose Creek

We’d driven to St. Marks to watch shore birds. It was a lovely day in every way, a day free of cares with Charles and I exploring the area on no particular time table. A good sea breeze was up and sunshine disappeared as clouds moved in. A light rain encouraged us to climb back in our car. Charles wondered out loud where West Goose Creek might be. He knew it was somewhere nearby. We tried with no luck to find it on our car’s GPS.

It was about 2:00 when we ordered grilled shrimp in a folksy restaurant right on the St. Marks River. Dogs were allowed on one side of the restaurant and not the other, an interesting feature to me. Charles asked the waitress why the difference in sides, both seeming equally open. She guessed it was because one side was nearer the kitchen so it might be a health issue. Then Charles asked his real question. Did she know where we might  find West Goose Creek. She had never heard of it. She asked another fellow but he didn’t know either. We needed someone with some age on them. All those folks were too young.

It was delightful eating by the river with raindrops freckling the water. As we nibbled we remembered times at West Goose Creek.

Charles’ family, consisting of him, his parents and his siblings, as well as Uncle Lewis and almost the whole clan of Morrises, made an annual trek down from Thomas County in the fall to buy fresh fish from seiners at the seinyard and then cook them right there. His memory is of cool air, a long wait for fish to “come in,” resulting in plenty of time for cousins to chase and play on the beach before the fish fry started.

“It was always Uncle Lewis’s idea,” Charles said, sipping iced tea. “Mama and her sisters brought side dishes–potato salad, baked beans, pimiento sandwiches, chocolate cake, all that stuff. We’d get so hungry waiting for the fish, we kids tried to slip bits of food from under the covers but someone nearly always caught us.”

I remembered going myself with the family once after Charles and I married, probably about 1966. It was great fun. I enjoyed the adventure, seeing the stretch of Gulf beach, the warmth of the fire as the sun went down. I thought we might do that every year, but that was the last time, I think because Uncle Lewis moved away.

We really wanted to see if we could find that place after all these years. “Let me see if my phone GPS can locate West Goose Creek,” I said.

And there it was on my screen. The directions indicated it was only nine miles away.

It wasn’t an easy nine miles. The last three or four were lonely narrow mud and sand roads with only an occasional mailbox and even fewer visible houses. It was beautiful but not a place you’d want to be when you ran out of gas or had a heart attack. Finally we drove clear of the tangled forest and found ourselves in an opening onto a small cove. There was an old ruins, a very well kept informational sign about West Goose Creek and Wakulla Beach, and several big water birds shopped for tiny crabs and fed among grasses in a stretch of wetland. We saw a limpet (I think!), a couple of ibis, a willet maybe. There were, of course, big brown pelicans diving into the sea, and I saw at a distance some little ducklike birds swimming and then disappearing for whole minutes in the waves. I was thrilled to see all the birds and compare them to pictures in our guide book.

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The birds were amazingly unafraid. These two ibis let me follow them at a distance.

 

We both learned a lot more about West Goose Creek, Wakulla Beach, and East Goose Creek.

In the 1880’s, according to the historical marker, folks from north Florida and South Georgia traveled to Wakulla Beach/West Goose Creek to seine for mullet. They went in wagon trains (the wagons made into covered ones with stretches of tarp) at the end of the harvest season, as described by William Warren Rogers in “Thomas County 1865-1900.” Many groups would stay as long as a week. When the schools of mullet “ran,” the men would pull them in with great seining nets, then everyone pitched in salting the fish down in barrels to take home. At night the harmonicas and fiddles were brought out. A bonfire glowed brightly by the shore. The singing and storytelling, sometimes even dancing, went on for hours.

The marker indicates that West Goose Creek Seinyard was the last to close down and that was when Hurricane Kate, in 1985, destroyed all the sheds.

The ruins we saw were of a pretty sophisticated tourist hotel having had columns, a concrete foundation and plumbing. Seems it was the dream, actually the third of three dreams, of Daisy Walker, wife of Senator Henry N. Walker, Sr.  Daisy dreamed of a town, East Goose Creek, and even laid it out in streets. But today it’s only a ghost town covered by vines, palms and scrub oaks or live oaks. The first hotel, built in 1915, became the Walkers’ home after a few seasons of welcoming guests. They built another hotel which seems to have been destroyed in a tropical flood in September, 1928. Then they built the hotel, remains of which are still there. It was a two story building with kitchen and dining room on the ground level, sleeping rooms above.

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Ruins of an old hotel at West Goose Creek. (Don’t miss that foraging bird in the background.)

 

I was telling a friend about our adventurous day and he became quite interested in the actual creek of West Goose Creek. I had to admit I didn’t see a creek. Maybe he will discover it and, if there’s a trail to it, I’d like to see that. On some other adventurous day!

 

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I’ve Got the Joy!

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Some cousinly joy

 

Remember the song called “Joy In My Heart”?

“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart…”

What has brought you joy lately?

There are plenty of things that have splashed pain and suffering, caused disillusionment and disappointment, spurred anger or brought on bewilderment, horror and grief. Hurricanes, earthquakes, threats of war and more war, heartaches, surgeries, accidents, deaths….

But stop right now and consider what has caused you joy.

Here are a “couple” of joy moments I’ve experienced lately.

Six-year-old Charli, my granddaughter’s daughter, asked Jesus to be her Savior a few weeks ago. I was privileged to be the one to talk to her and pray with her the night she announced she wanted to give her heart to Jesus. We all rejoiced with her and her big sister the day they were baptized. Last Sunday was her first opportunity to participate in taking the elements as our church gathered for what we call “The Lord’s Supper.” Charli sat beside me and I explained to her the meaning of this symbolic meal and manners for same, stressing that it is a time to remember what Jesus did for us. It was a joy to receive unleavened bread and grape juice with this little girl for her very first time. She was filled with awe and was very careful to hold her tiny glass steady until the very right moment to drink.

Another joyful moment occurred this week when I made my weekly visit to a nearby assisted living facility. We talked about fears. We all have them, some worse than others. Following our discussion about how we need so much to trust in Jesus when we are afraid, we sang “He Keeps Me Singing.” These folks usually enjoy the singing but not all of them open their mouths and actually sing. That day everyone, even Jack, sang the words: “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know. Fills my every longing, Keeps me singing as I go.” Some of their voices were weak and quavery, but their faces were full of light.

One morning recently Charles called me to see something out the breakfast room window. I didn’t get there in time. He described the bird, said it had been swinging on the hummingbird feeder. A few minutes later I saw the bird myself, and incredibly beautiful black headed bird with orange breast, similar to an orchard oriole or a black headed grosbeak but not matching either one. The sight of that beautiful bird brought me joy as did the sharing of that special moment with my soulmate.

The phone rang. My friend had called to tell me our mutual friend’s son had just died in Washington State. As Sue and I prayed and cried together, the word joy didn’t come to mind. But later, as I thought about the sorrow we shared, I realized what a joyful thing it is to have a Savior Who understands our deepest griefs–and to have human friends, too, with whom to cry.

I turned 75 last Sunday. I have received such thoughtful gifts, cards, phone calls, and Facebook messages. What a joy to have dear caring friends and family! Charles even took me on a jaunt to the sea coast which brought us both joy, mystery, and adventure. More about that another time.

What has been your most recent moment of joy? Think about it.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10d

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Reflections on Irma

 

Please send help to Hurricane Irma victims–through Samaritan’s Purse, Georgia Baptists, or your chosen organization, one that will give ALL of your gift where it is needed and use none for administration costs. We who were blessed have the sweet responsibility of sharing with those who were ravaged.

Was it about three weeks ago we began to hear about Irma–maybe even a month! A hurricane developing off the coast of Africa. Who would have imagined how big an impact she would make on all of us? Well, the skilled hurricane scholars could imagine, actually. They began early on predicting dire possibilities, many of which came true, many of which did not come true for which we are so grateful. The largest hurricane and holding strength the longest of any unless one back in the forties.

News of Irma became a regular on the evening broadcast. It became a common topic of conversation wherever one went. Harvey had just decimated Houston, after all, so we were well aware of what could happen. Everyone was trying to figure out what each one could do to help folks in Houston–and now this thing came looming up through the Caribbean.

Was it going to hit the east coast and go up through east Georgia and Carolinas? Or was it going to hit the west coast and maybe hit us when it went up through the Panhandle elbow? Or–as it began to appear–was it going straight head-on up through the middle of Florida? Or even maybe it was going to weaken from a horrible FIVE to a two or three. Maybe it was going to turn and go out into the Atlantic–and please, Lord, be with the ships at sea!

We listened. We prepared. We prayed.

My niece and her family in Ft. Lauderdale were coming here to get away from Irma. Then they weren’t because they dared not get on the road with all the others inching along. People didn’t know where to evacuate to, some went west and then scrambled when Irma came that way. My sister in Habersham County had relatives come there from St. Mary’s Georgia and that was a good thing because that coastline really suffered.

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As of Sunday morning, we thought it was going to be a Cat #2 when it reached Grady County. Schools closed, our church cancelled evening services. We all went home to brace for it. It was almost a wintery day. The skies were dark and the temperature dropped to a very cool 60. Then the storm weakened, but it would still be fierce.

I lay in bed Sunday night (yes, bed, because the real hurricane was predicted to hit us about noon on Monday) listening to the howling gusts and spurts of torrential rain. God has given me a love of storms, not that I want anyone to be hurt or that I want to be out in one. But I do love to listen to the wind and feel the safety of a good snug house. That storm went on all night but the power didn’t go off until dawn.

Gradually the wind died down. It wasn’t raining over much, just a steady patter. Were we in the eye now? When was Irma going to hit us? Looking out, we discovered a large pine splintering at its base and leaning at about a 45 degree angle. And, as far as we knew, the real storm hadn’t hit yet. We read, played piano, talked, and of course ate cold cereal, bananas, and furtively looked at weather reports on cell phones or made quick calls, not wanting to run the charges down.

The power came back on about 11:30 and we hurried to have a hot lunch before it went off.

Next thing we knew we were hearing of Irma causing damage north of us! She’d passed us by.

It was still dark and dreary and cold but the wind was gone. Charles and Charles D went to work picking up debris. It took them two hours to pick up all the twigs and limbs. We had a hot supper and, television being restored by that time, watched the horrible devastation up both Florida coasts and later here and there all over Georgia, flooding in Savannah and Charleston. Millions in Florida and Georgia were without power. We wished we could share ours!

My family reports that Habersham County in northeast Georgia has been without power since Monday night and they don’t know when they will have it again. In Birmingham where our son lives there was rain and wind but they, like us, did not lose power.

We were in a pocket of safety and we are grateful. The candles sit strategically around the house, a generator sits ready to run, a nice thick comfy air mattress is ready for use in the hall. We have water stored, a ton of breakfast bars, and porch furniture stashed.

And that large splintered pine angled across our driveway is a strong reminder of what Irma could do.

The sun shines today and all is peaceful. We could have had an oak tree on our house as so many thousands did. We could have had to be rescued by boat or helicopter.

We can only be thankful and send help to those so hard hit. We’ll send a gift through Samaritan’s Purse or GeorgiaBaptists.org and pray it will really make a difference to someone who’s lost their home and everything they owned.

 

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Gone Fishing

Every family has them, the family fish tales. Ours is no exception. Whether good, bad, or crazy, these stories are part of the fabric of our relationships.

In a veterinarian’s family quite often pleasure and business are mixed. That means that an afternoon of fishing might occur at a farm pond after the calf delivery or the relief for a bloated hog had been successful. Something like that was the setting one Saturday afternoon when William was about ten and Julie nine. It was a planned occasion because we had folding chairs with us, not usual equipment for a veterinary truck. The chairs became part of the adventure. Julie wanted to sit in a chair and fish. The bank was steep. She couldn’t get her cork far enough into the water to suit her without moving the chair. Her dad warned her repeatedly that the chair would fold if she kept moving it. She continued to edge it closer and closer until–Julie and the chair splashed into the pond. True to her spunky nature, Julie surfaced spluttering and laughing. It was a chilly afternoon and we weren’t ready to leave so our resourceful vet pulled a pair of coveralls from behind his truck seat and we set Julie into them. Even with the legs rolled up as far as they would go, she could hardly walk. The crotch was dragging the ground. I don’t remember whether we caught any fish that day!

One day when she was visiting us, my sister Jackie went fishing with the kids and me. We thought she should experience some South Georgia pond fishing. William and I baited everyone’s hook and I sighed happily. It was always so good to be on a nice grassy bank with the sound of crows cawing high in the pines and a cork floating ready to disappear any minute. Jackie was happy to be outdoors but not so pleased to be holding a fishing pole. She held it dutifully, somewhat as if she were prepared to attack a monster. After five minutes she said carefully, “I believe I’ll just lie down in this nice grass and take a nap.” I insisted she had to fish. “Fish will start biting just any minute,” I encouraged her. She held on as if the pole were holding her up. In a moment I heard a soft cry. Jackie had caught a fish. It took William and me both to pull it in and flop it in front of poor Jackie who looked ready to faint. It was a big sleek yellow belly. While Jackie, now thoroughly exhausted, lay down for her much desired nap, William put the fish in a bucket. Turns out, that was our only keeper that day. And it was the last fish, to my knowledge, that Jackie has ever caught.

William (later to be called Will) as a teenager, used to go river fishing with Mitch Kemp. He would tell wild stories about the dangers of the Ochlocknee River–alligators, snakes, and such. His main catch was gar which he never brought home. Now it gives me pleasure to hear him tell of occasional fishing escapades with his boys on Alabama rivers.

Our favorite family fishing memory is not a fish tale but a crab tale. Charles asked an employee of his, David Lee, to go with us one day to Panacea and show us how to crab on the salt flats. We took a roll of nylon cord, a five gallon bucket and a sturdy fish net. In Panacea we purchased the grossest, most unsightly, smelliest fish heads the fish market had. David helped us find the “perfect” crabbing spot, a salty pond surrounded by sea grass but with trails to the water. Following instructions of our dark skinned friend we pulled in and netted forty blue crabs that day. There were high squeals of glee, some of dismay, lots of laughter and mud. At home, even after sharing with David, we had all the crabs we could eat. We boiled them and sat around our kitchen table cracking claws, digging out the sweet morsels, and jabbering about the fun we’d had.

Charles Douglas acquired a love of fishing at a very young age. He loved to fish before he could either put bait on or take fish off. I remember well because I was the one who threaded those yucky worms on and then extricated the fish, one slickery one after another. I was glad when he became an “independent” fisherman. Even then, though, help was needed sometimes. I think he was about ten when he accompanied my sister and me to our niece Joan’s apartment in Jacksonville. Joan was awaiting a liver transplant at Mayo Clinic and we were her designated companions for that night. Her apartment was right beside a nice picturesque canal. Charles D went out to investigate, and we were having a quiet chat when he came in with a wispy willow branch asking for thread and a safety pin. Joan, always an encourager to the young, found these items and we laughed as he went back out. A sign plainly warned, “No Fishing” but who would worry about a little boy and that flimsy stick? Well, he caught a fish all right, a seven or eight inch one. And he couldn’t get it loose from that pin. There we were by moonlight beside the “No Fishing” sign struggling to get that poor fish loose and back into the canal. I expected to be caught in a big search light’s beam any time.

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Proof of the catch by Charles D. Reeves, April, 2011

 

Charles D made a much bigger catch a few years later at a Grady County pond. He caught a few small ones that afternoon but what he wanted was a big wide-mouthed bass. He’d reported to Grandaddy there was a bass cruising near the shore. Grandaddy was sitting in his truck studying his Sunday school lesson when he heard a great shout from across the pond. Charles D says that fish kept nibbling and nibbling on his bait and then suddenly the line went to whining as the fish realized he’d been snagged. He tried to pull Charles D but he’d met his match. Charles D tugged and pulled and wrestled until he finally piled him up on the shore. Grandaddy agreed that was one for the taxidermist so he still presides in Charles D’s room, along with a long snake skin.

Will enjoys beach activities with his kids–throwing Frisbee, building sandcastles, swimming–but if he gets a chance he really likes to fish too. On one occasion he decided to fish far out in the waves away from all swimmers but the trip back and forth for bait became annoying. So he packed his pockets full of bait and prepared to have a care-free time. He’d no sooner begun than he noticed ominous fins which quickly surrounded him. He managed to get back to shore without being attacked and decided fish bait in the pockets was not a good idea.

My brother Charlie likes to tell about the time our quiet, very proper little mother visited him and his bride in Alaska. They took her camping on the Seward Peninsula. Mamma went for a walk on the seashore. By and by Charlie and Elaine saw her approaching carrying something. With a perfectly straight face she held out a very dead fish and said, “I found supper for us.”

I’m sure you have much bigger, funnier, more adventurous fish tales. Claim them, enjoy them, spin them eloquently around a campfire or your kitchen table. Even if you tell them truthfully and accurately, they will still be entertaining.

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An Eclipse and a Hurricane

The rain is sluicing down, inches every hour, in Texas. Hurricane Harvey is one that will go down in history. Like Camille and Andrew and Katrina. Stories of devastation fill our television news. A mother in her car caught in the flood and drowned but her baby saved. A woman going into labor and birthing her baby in a rescue shelter. Family after family escaping by boat, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Dismal scenes of houses under water, automobiles floating, boats carrying huddled groups of people down streets they once drove.

But just last week the news was all about the sun, the eclipse of the sun viewable by folks from Oregon to South Carolina.

What a spectacular show of God’s handiwork it was, last Monday, August 21. We don’t live where we could see the total eclipse but we donned our solar glasses and watched what we could see. In a few minutes’ time (which had been precisely predicted) the moon went from a sliver on the face of the sun to a fat sideways dark smiley. The sun, that wonderful, powerful light of our days, was tremendously bright even when only maybe 15 percent of the disc was showing. We’d been told the maximum coverage would be visible at 2:42, I think, and that it would be hazy around us. We watched and shared our glasses with others, the timing exactly as expected. And the sunlight did get slightly less bright taking on a sepia kind of glow like old photographs. But we didn’t experience the darkness as our folks in North Georgia did.

My family in North Georgia gave me their reports. There, in Habersham County, the total eclipse could be seen. Charlie said about forty people came to Stone Gables to have lunch and then view the wonder from the lawn. There were a lot of children there who’d been excused from school for the occasion. He said for a minute and a half it became dark as night. He saw the stars, Mars and the Milky Way. He said the crickets began chirping. In a nearby pasture cows who had been peacefully grazing were observed lying down.

People traveled long distances to see this celestial show. Habersham County was one of the many good places in the corridor of viewing from the northeast USA to the southeast. Days before the event huge numbers descended on the area. My sister Suzanne told me how amazing it was to see the usually fairly quiet roads lined with cars, “like during leaf time in the fall.” She also was amazed at the empty shelves in the grocery stores.

The weather news prepared us days ahead for the big day. There was no rain expected in our area so we should have a good view, they said. As we did. My thanks to all those in news media, newspapers, and individuals who gave us a heads up about this phenomenal event. I would have been so sorry to miss it. And how easy that would have been! No bells rang to say “Look up!” There was no thunderous roar. We don’t go about watching the sun. If I’d been one of those cows I’d have thought it was night too!

It was noted on the national newscasts the night after as something that drew people of all races, ages, and political views, a real equalizer. We saw a picture of hundreds of people wearing the solar glasses and looking up.

Yes, the eclipse was amazing. It made me consider our amazing God, the One Who set the sun and moon and planets in place so precisely their orbits can be perfectly predicted by scientists. He’s also the God Who forms rainbows, plate-size hibiscus blooms, and babies who coo. He’s the same God Who made the funny platypus, Niagara Falls, and melons with those perfect seam-like grooves and peculiar skin patterns.

He is our God Who is a “very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). And we call on Him now for the thousands in trouble in Texas, devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Oh God of power and might, thank You for the sun and the wind and the rain. In your unconditional mercy intervene, we pray, for the people in the line of Hurricane Harvey. Show us how we can help. Please, Lord. Amen.

If you would like to contribute to help the people in Hurricane Harvey you can click on samaritanspurse.org-Samaritan’s Purse- Hurricane Harvey Relief.

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