He worked hard but when he arrived home it would still be a few hours before sunset. He got an apple and his pocket knife and sat on the edge of the porch in the sun. The simple pleasures of the warm sun on his head and the sweet taste of the apple took him back in time 50 years to his boyhood in the little village of Logansville.
In his memory he is eating a small apple, a tart Jonathan. He is wearing his Levis and a pull-over tee-shirt with stripes. A red felt ball cap is sitting back on this head, a shock of white-blond hair jutting out from under the bill of the cap. Birds are singing and school is out for the summer. Bright sun is taking the chill off of the morning.
His dad is the pastor of the little white church on the edge of the village. Their home is the modest parsonage across the road. He always has his chores in the morning, but by late morning or early afternoon on those summer days he rides his bike along country roads around the little village where they live. He picks up empty bottles and cashes them in for a cold orange pop and drinks it on the steps of the Sinclair station. He has a red bike with 24 inch balloon-style tires and coaster brakes. (Think Opie Taylor and you will have the picture clearly in mind).
For a dollar a week he push-mowes the church lawn. Pop is fifteen cents and a candy bar is a nickel. They take a trip every week out River Road to the dump and bring along the BB-gun to take turns “plinking” cans. Dad makes 80.00 a week. Every Friday the boy rides up the hill to the treasurer’s house to get the check and a dozen brown eggs. The church provides the parsonage. There always seems to be enough.
One afternoon his Dad built him a small “tree-fort” up in the branches of a Maple. He spent hours there that summer. They have a garden. They even have a chicken for a while. They have a mutt dog, the boy’s companion.
Funny what you think about when you are sitting in the sun munching an apple on a summer evening. What he didn’t know as a boy was that the feeling of warm sun on his head, the tart sweetness of the apple, the sound of the birds, the quietness and sense of well-being in his heart, the thoughtfulness and the thankfulness behind them… each of these were acts of worship to His God and they would follow him through his life and overtake him time and again when driving down a long country road, or hearing the strains of organ music, or singing an old hymn that reminded him of Prayer Meeting night in the little white church across the road in the village of his boyhood.
Now he is grown and has grandchildren. He is a pastor himself, has been for 40 years. On Sundays he stands in the front row and throws back his head and sings along with the praise team with his whole heart…
“Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.”