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"I write what I see, and it comes from the heart." .....Jon C. Randall
Kneeling before the altar of the wood-burning heater, I offered to it the sacrifice of my sweat and labor in the form of cut and split red oak logs that I fed into it. It was still dark that early Sunday morning, and I purposed in my heart to make that day memorable to Josh, my only grandson, who was now soundly sleeping in "Papaws" bed. I wondered to myself why southerners used Papaw instead of Grandpa as I watched the fire slowly grow, listening to the crackling of the dancing flames, its heat soon overcoming the chill of that cold Arkansas morning in the house. Closing the cast iron doors of the heater, I slowly rose, and then went to the room that was my refuge, and
Sitting in the worn oak chair that matched the cluttered oak desk, my thoughts flashed back to the many times Josh would stand beside me, wanting to know about the various objects on that desk that fascinated his three-year-old mind. I expanded his horizon of knowledge by always introducing Josh to something new to use each time, taking of my time from my study or writing to explain in
detail the purpose of that object. One time it would be a calculator, another time a self-inking stamp. After carefully letting Josh use each item, Josh would then run off to play.
But what fascinated Josh the most was "Papaws" electric typewriter, and the speed that I typed. I let Josh use that typewriter once, just to show him something new. Many times Josh would come in there and want to touch the keys, and I would have to say, "No, Josh, you can't do that, because I'm
Laboring hard that Sunday morning to complete the grueling assignment given to me by the merciless taskmasters of the writer's group, Josh sleepily came into the study and gave me a hug. I pushed away the typewriter, looked at him, and said, "Josh, Papaw is going to do something special for you today after breakfast."
"What?" he asked.
"Papaw is going to get you your very own desk, and your very own typewriter, where you can work while I'm working. That will be your own desk and typewriter, and this is Papaws' desk and typewriter. Do you understand?"
All of a sudden an explosion of happiness erupted as Josh clapped his hands, jumped up and down, with joy beaming from his yes. You could feel the excitement from him as he smiled so grandly. I can't begin to describe what I felt in my heart at that moment, as the silent communications between our eyes told me a lot, then watched him hold his stomach as if he could contain those feelings within himself. Nothing but pure, unadulterated joy came through him.
Josh didn't eat much of his breakfast, and several times he asked me, "Are you through?"
"No, Josh, you'll have to wait awhile until Papaw is finished with breakfast." "I'm not through yet."
After breakfast, he followed me out to my old Bronco II where I had an old refinished makeup table that I carried around for many weeks, meaning to put it into storage. Josh "helped" me carry it in, and I set it alongside my desk. After finding a chair, I reached under another desk and pulled out an old manual typewriter I have had for many years. Taking it out of its case, I set it on his "desk," and Josh immediately wanted to use it. "Wait, Josh," I stated, and put some paper in one drawer, and pencil and self-inking stamp in another. I showed him how to put a sheet of paper in that typewriter,
and made him repeat my moves. Then he proceeded to type as one would play the piano, banging away on the keys. "One letter at a time," I showed him, but he insisted on emulating my speed that he had seen me do.
It didn't phase him that no letters were printed on the paper as the ribbon had long gone dry, and I promised him that I would get him a new one the next day as I reached over to again un-jam the keys. He would at times reach into a drawer and pull out a sheet of paper, then get a pencil out of the other, and scribble. "I'm working," Josh exclaimed; then he'd get the stamp, remove its cover, and stamp all over the paper. "Only on the paper, Josh, not on your desk," I told him. He'd put the cover back on, carefully put it into its drawer, and then continue to bang on the keys.
After watching him for awhile, I turned back to my typewriter to continue with my assignment. After awhile, I felt a kiss on my left arm which greatly surprised and touched me. I turned and saw the hesitant look in his eyes, and I smiled and said "Thank you," then gave him a big hug, which he
returned so deeply. Throughout that morning, and part of that afternoon, we continued with the tasks before us. Then it was time for Josh to go, and the noise turned into quietness.
In the solitude of my room I reflected upon that kiss I had received from my grandson, who gave it freely from the depths of his heart, out of love for what I had provided and done for him by my love for him. It was a simple and beautiful act of love.
In the quietness of my thoughts, I was reminded by His Spirit of how God created and provided all things for us out of His love for us. Many of those who claim that God doesn't exist need only to look around to see His handiwork in the world around us. As I did with Josh, God provided everything,
inclusive of the sacrifice of His Son, so that we can learn and grow as He teaches and guides us, as we develop our relationship with Him. But what really touches the heart of God is the act of our free will offering of love to Him because of what He has done and provided for us. Make no mistake about it, for you will find that God is very active in our day-to-day lives. And if you listen quietly for His still small voice, you may possibly hear Him say, "I'm working."
© Copyright Jon C. Randall 1994
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