My Father was a part-time farmer and a part-time preacher. In 1938, during the Dust Bowl days, and in the midst of depression, he left the farm and moved his family to Arizona. Conditions made the situation untenable. Land, that had once been prosperous, could no longer yield a crop. In Arizona, daddy became a day laborer in the citrus groves working hard to provide for his family, but he never refused an opportunity to preach when invited.
One of the things I remember and most appreciate about My Dad was his will to work. He grew up on a dry land farm in Tennessee. He was a real hillbilly. The only way to keep body and soul together was to work, without shirking, from daylight ‘til dark. Will Clark learned that work ethic early, and he passed it on to his children, even his girls.
When I was ten or twelve years old, daddy started taking me and my little sister to the cotton field on Saturdays. We were awakened and routed out of bed before sunup. We weren’t going along for the ride. Mama made cotton sacks for each of us, and daddy expected us to use them.
There were plenty of reasons why we might not like such a chore. It was Saturday – time to play. It was hard, hot, heavy work. By the time cotton is ready to be picked, the boll holding the cotton is dry and sharp and hurtful to tender little fingers.
However, I don’t remember any temper tantrums at the thought of picking cotton. We just went along. Daddy picked two rows with me on one side and June on the other. We picked off his rows, and he did try to make it fun. Often he would pick a big double handful of cotton and put it in June’s sack or mine.
By the middle of the morning, the sun was scorching hot. My little sister would sometimes sit down on the end of her cotton sack and say, “It’s hot! I’m hot! I wish the wind would blow.”
I can still hear my father’s voice as he said, “Look, honey, look right up there. There’s the end of the row. When we get to the end of the row, we are going to get a cold sodi (soda) pop, emphasizing the word cold.
In that instant hope was born. This hot, uncomfortable morning was not going to endure forever. There was something better to look forward to. At the end of the row we would not only be recompensed for our hard labor, but we were promised a refreshing. You can’t imagine the gladness that promise brought to two little girls who seldom had an extra nickel for a strawberry sodi pop – mm.
We tackled the cotton with renewed vigor and great anticipation making short work of the rest of the row.
The summer before my freshman year in high school, I picked my last boll of cotton.
“I’d rather starve to death,” I said, but sixty-five years later I am very far from having starved.
Did I like to pick cotton? NO! I did it because it pleased my father. Though I was not aware of it, he was teaching me a lesson that has served me a lifetime.
“Don’t quit because it’s hard. Don’t give up just because you can.”
I am not a politician nor am I a philosopher. I don’t know how to be politically correct nor do I want to be. I do want to be Biblically correct.
I have seen and read more news in the last year than in all my life combined. I don’t like what I see. Our world and our beloved America are in a mess. Life has become, difficult, uncertain, sordid, and dangerous.
A sense of helplessness hangs in the air.
I pray. I vote. Can I do anything else? Oh, Yes!
In I Corinthians 15:58, the Apostle Paul says, “…my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master…nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.”
In Revelation 22:12, Jesus says, “I’m on my way! I’ll be there soon! I’m bringing my payroll with me. I’ll pay all people in full for their work…” In verse 17, He invites us saying, “Is anyone thirsty? Come! All, who will, come and drink. Drink freely of the water of life!”
From seventy years past, I hear my father’s voice. “Look, there’s the end of the row. Don’t quit now. There’s reward at the end of the row. There’s cold sodi pop.”
Thank God for hope! This life is a vapor that vanishes. Eternity is forever. Don’t quit now!
I wonder! Will there be any strawberry soda pop in heaven?
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW