The Daily Paine

But a man in any station can do his duty…and, in doing it, can earn his own respect, even if his case should be so very unfortunate and so very rare that he can earn no other man’s.”
–Charles Dickens

“He would do his duty up until his last hour in uniform, whether that was days or decades away.”
–Ed Ruggero

Well, this is it, that day has come. It is understood that every day has its own meaning and events. Jesus said, “Don’t worry at all then about tomorrow. Tomorrow can take care of itself! One day’s trouble is enough for one day.” (Matthew 6:34, Phillips) So then, every day has its own challenges.
However, the day has come for two other events. First, the last of the Daily Paines. This happens every summer. I write sporadically in the summer, but now I’m not sure if I’ll continue the Daily Paine in the fall. I will continue to write a morning devotion, though it might not be every morning. Right now I’m not sure what I will call it. I’m thinking of “Echoes From the Campfire”, but it might end up something else.  The plan is to keep writing the Saga of Miles Forrest and the Coffee Percs on Saturday.
Secondly, this is my last day working at Cornerstone and my last day teaching. It has been a fond time. There have been some of those “days” mentioned above, but for the most part I have greatly enjoyed my life as a teacher. I enjoyed studying and then giving what I have found to my students. Perhaps the thing I enjoyed the most was the rapport I developed. The thing I will miss the most will be giving students a “bad time” in classroom and hallways.
I have noticed that we are living in dangerous times. The “thief” is among us and is walking to and fro to slash and slice at us. If you do not think so just watch the news. Whatever your view of the President, the current one has faced more slashing and slicing than any I can remember. Where is the common respect? Times are upon us that if you do not have a firm grasp of the Word of God, there may be troubles. Dark days may loom ahead, and no, I’m not speaking that we need to prep for the tribulation. But we need to be prepared for the darkness. As believers we have the light, so there should be no fear.
Many have asked what I plan on doing. I mentioned that the first plan is to move to Coldspring and do some traveling. After that I’m not sure. I have a sequel to “The True and Unbiased Life of Elias Butler” in the works. There is a plan for another devotional, and floating around in my gray matter are a few other stories of Elias plus some with Miles Forrest.
I have kept over the years on my podium the following Scripture from James, “Not many [of you] should become teachers [serving in an official teaching capacity], my brothers and sisters, for you know that we [who are teachers] will be judged by a higher standard [because we have assumed greater accountability and more condemnation if we teach incorrectly].” (3:1) I have taken this to heart and tried my best to practice it. I am concerned that the bar/standards have been greatly lowered and if so, the fault lies with the teachers and the parents. If teachers allow students to slide, that includes not only academia, but emotionally and spiritually as well, how will they be judged? Do not get caught up the postmodern thoughts of the day. Stay true to the calling that God placed upon you, not man, not an administrator, not a school, but God.
This is especially true for my colleagues. “We define ourselves by our actions, and we do that every single day, in a hundred tiny choices made by thousands of people at every moment. Tell the truth. Work hard. Don’t be discouraged. Help your buddy. Tend your duty. Believe. Obey.” (Ed Ruggero)

Echoes from the Campfire

Providence…sure thought about man’s comforts when it created night an’ shadows.  Me, I like shadows.  It’s all the same as takin’ a bath after a hard day’s work.”
–Ernest Haycox (Night Raid)

“God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”
–Psalm 36:7 (HCSB)

The Saga of Miles Forrest

Dave went down to the station with us, both as a friend and to sort of keep guard as well.  I told him I didn’t need a nursemaid to help me along.  And what did I get from him?  Just a smile.
“Molly, it’s always good to see you,” he said as he helped her up the step to the train.  “Try and keep better control of your clumsy husband.”
She leaned down and hugged him.  “You’re a good friend, Dave Cook.”
“Looks like someone else came down to escort you off,” he remarked to me.  Over to the side was the chief of the Denver police and two of his officers. 
I waved and smiled at them.  They didn’t wave back.
“Dave, what’s wrong?  You’d think I was the criminal, not the person that was shot at,” I said shaking my head.  Then I reached out my hand.  “Hope our trails cross again.”
He didn’t say anything; just took my hand.  When he released it, he waved up at Molly.
The coach was crowded so we couldn’t grab a seat where we could look in both directions.  Hopefully when we reached Pueblo and had to change trains the new one wouldn’t be so crowded.  We would grab a bite to eat there and then board the train that would take us to Durango.  Most of that trip would be during the night.
Sitting next to me, she sort of cuddled and rested her head on my shoulder.  Looking up she said, “One thing for sure.  Being the wife of Miles Forrest sure hasn’t been boring.”  Then she buried her head back on my shoulder.
Being my nature I looked over the passengers.  Mostly there were business-types going down Texas or other places.  I didn’t see one questionable person on board except for some squirrely-looking guys, the type I would take for shysters.  There were a couple of other women on board besides Molly.
It has come to my attention that the clickety-clack of the train on the rails and the rocking motion can rock a person to sleep.  I wasn’t trying to stay awake so I succumbed to slumber.  Finally at the second water stop, just outside Colorado Spring I decided to take a walk.  Molly was awake so I asked her, “Want to walk with me?”  She declined.  “I’m goin’ to try and find a cup of coffee; be back shortly.”
The trains were more and more luxurious and this one had a dining car.  I ordered two cups of coffee and my mercy, for the two of them it cost $.16.  When I tasted it, well, words cannot rightly express.  It was dark, sort of, but they must have just rinsed the beans in the water.  Sixteen cents for flavored water.  Guess that’s the way life was becoming.
I took it back to Molly.  She took a sip and grimaced.  “What is this?” 
“Finest coffee on the Denver, Santa Fe, and Rio Grande.  Tasty, ain’t it?”
At least it gave us something to drink, bad as it was.  “Miles, I don’t want to live in Denver.”
I looked at her.  “Me neither.  I reckon I can still ride the stage as shotgun.  They’re not owned by Wells Fargo, just do some shippin’ for them.  The marshalin’ job don’t make much money unless I would take up huntin’ outlaws full time, and that would take me from home.”
She was trying to drink the coffee.  “Do you think it was Murker who shot at you?”
“It wouldn’t be him, he would have one of his flunkies do it.  But no, he has no reason to kill me,” I paused and took a sip.  “Ferguson had been seen on the Front Range the past few months.  Could’ve been him.”
“Strange sort of events.  I don’t reckon he’s around,” pausing and looking at her.  “But you never know.”
“When we get to Pueblo, let’s not go find a place to eat.  Let’s just find a place to buy a sandwich and find our train.  I don’t have a good feeling.”
Patting her arm and then taking her hand, I just nodded.