Fall has lingered on this year as long as I have ever seen it do, like an old friend who hates to leave. We hate to see him go and keep coaxing him to stay one more night. There was still brilliant color in many trees on my birthday the third of November and I never remember seeing that before. I just considered it a personal birthday present from the Lord. Reluctantly we will have to say goodbye to fall this week and watch him go out of sight around the bend of the road. At night if you listen closely you can hear winter coming on his heels.
Saturday I made my way across Michigan on a blustery late autumn day. I was on the way to tell stories of God’s goodness at a church in the palm of the mitten. The boys rode with me. In Chesaning we stopped and took a stroll. We stood on an old iron railroad bridge and watched leaves carried North on the Shiawassee River toward Saginaw Bay and Like Huron. There the river tumbles over a waterfall.
All day long the wind blew the trees bald. The sky was gray in an inviting way. In villages and along the highway, smoldering fires took be back to my boyhood when people burned leaves on the street in Grand Rapids. Leaves blew down across the road. We listened to football scores on the radio some but mostly talked.
The little white church where I was to tell was the heart of the village of Entrican. When we arrived we got acquainted with Pastor Gene Kooey and his family and the good people there. When it was time to eat I waited while everyone shuffled down into the basement. At the foot of the stairs were two eight-foot tables filled with food. Toward the end of the tables I spotted the dish I was looking for. Scalloped corn. I tried not to be too eager hoping there would still be some left when I got there. I scooped up a nice helping stopped at the dessert table to secure a piece of pumpkin pie and settled in at my table.
I love scalloped corn. You can’t buy scalloped corn at a restaurant. The only way to get scalloped corn is in a church basement or fellowship hall. There are a few women in every church that still know how to make scalloped corn. They are a dying generation like World War II veterans. When they are gone it will be a day to morn in America. When I’m asked to tell stories in church basements I always go if I can. Without being too noticeable I get down and look for scalloped corn and deviled eggs. I like to consider myself sort of a one-man scalloped corn preservation society. And people wonder why I look so happy all the time. If I could live on scalloped corn, deviled eggs, Jello with carrots and bad coffee, I could make a career of telling stories in country churches.
By the end of the evening we had laughed and cried together. I like to think I have some new friends. I drove away with my heart and my stomach full. Sometimes on autumn nights like this I get to musing about the goodness of God. He is good, even when life is bad. He gives us good things to eat and fills our lives with good things.
The whole earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Psalm 33:5)
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:10)
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psa 84:11)
The goodness of the Lord leads to repentance according to Paul. (Romans 2)
Jeremiah said; “…your sins have withheld good things from you…” (5:25)
The devout pour fourth the memory of God’s great goodness… (Psalm 145:7)
I have a suggestion for cool autumn evenings by the fire. Get your Bible, brew some tea and spend a few minutes in meditation on Psalm 145, then maybe call around for a scalloped corn recipe. Try it out. If it’s good e-mail it to me. (The recipe, that is).
Riverfront Character Inn
November 6, 2005