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Hartselle Enquirer
A. Ray Lee ss

Faith focused: Walking in the old paths

A. Ray Lee 

Columnist  

I asked my friend Dan to restore a small cabin on Lee Acres which had for decades been used as sleeping quarters at the Hartselle Tabernacle by those attending annual revival services, retreats and conferences. I got the cabin after the carpenter involved in the renovation of the buildings and grounds at the Tabernacle completed his work.   

He moved the cabin out to where he was building Effie’s and my retirement home and used it to store his tools. When he moved on to another project, he left the cabin behind. Eventually, we placed it upon a concrete block foundation out of the way. Over the years we had used it as a convenient storage shed for items that had once been important to us but were no longer important to our lives. 

There it had sat for years while neglect was gradually causing its destruction. Birds had found it a safe place in which to nest. Squirrels had gnawed the rafters. A broken limb from a large tree had fallen and punctured the tin roof. Once, to her dismay, our daughter Laura found an occupied rodent bed as she was checking the contents of an old cedar chest. 

When Dan had agreed to restore it, I went inside to check its contents which had accumulated over twenty years. I took a sentimental journey as I opened two trunks both of which were at least one hundred years old; one belonging to my mother and the other to my father.  

They had been married over 50 years when after suffering five years with the effects of a stroke, mother died. Some of those years of their marriage were difficult ones both financially and physically. They had a love not marked by sentimental words nor a show of affection but with care for the needs of each other. She worked alongside him as he tilled the soil of a small farm to provide a living for the family. He in turn helped her with household chores. He was the first to rise in the morning to build a fire in the cook stove over which he cooked the biscuits and bacon. Wash day found him at her side by an old antique machine and hanging the clothes on the line. 

When mother was confined to a healthcare facility for the last five years of her life, he was the first to see her each morning as he carefully fed her breakfast. 

Now on some days late in the afternoon, my dog Sophie and I sit upon a porch added to the cabin and think of a slower-paced life while watching the world go by as traffic races down a blacktop road that had long ago replaced the single-lane dirt trail travelled by Model T Fords and farm wagons. Many of the mores of my parents’ generation have become passé. What they believed in and the values they espoused have been replaced and seem irretrievable. Jeremiah wrote of a similar situation: “Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the old ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for yours.” (Jeremiah 6:16) 

 

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