The Saga of Miles Forrest

I looked at Charlie, but he didn’t continue, he got up and walked outside the door.  I didn’t want to push him for information, so figured I’d wait ’til the first water station and pull out something that Molly had packed for us to eat, then maybe prod him a little.
       He seemed to have quite a bit on his mind.  I realized there was the situation in Silverton, but now he mentioned Marta.  Could there be trouble because of Lucas?  If so, that was my fault.
       It was perhaps twenty minutes before he came back in the car.  I didn’t blame him for wanting to ride out in the fresh air and survey the river and the canyon that we were passing through.  He came and sat down and I asked, “Do you think Williams can handle the job?”
       He shrugged his shoulders, “Shy is a good man, but I have no idea how bad he is wounded.  You know how it is after being shot at; a person gets sorta gun-shy,” he shrugged again.  “I’ll just have to wait until I talk to him.  You know the game, I have no say in town matters.”
       “Yeah, but you can give advice and make suggestions,” I remarked.
       A sigh came from him, but no reply.
       “Mateo seems to be doin’ a good job.  His leg don’t seem to hold him back from doin’ his job,” I stated, then heard the blast of the whistle notifying that the first water station was coming up.  The train lurched as it began to slow to a stop.
       I reached in the burlap bag to pull out a couple of apricot hand pies that had been placed in there.  I continued to search and smiled as I saw two pork steak sandwiches which I imagine Molly had loaded with mustard.  I’d keep them until we reached the halfway point.
       “He’s doing great,” Charlie said in response to my question about Mateo.  “But,” he hesitated, “Luciana doesn’t like it when he’s gone so long.”  Then he took a bite of the pie and stared out the window.
       It had helped Charlie to have Mateo as his deputy.  They would each make rounds going in different directions.  If Mateo was in Silverton, Charlie would most likely be over near Telluride.  They would meet in Durango, compare notes, then head out again.  They had a good system and it was working.  Of course, there were always unusual situations like Mateo having to spend two weeks in Telluride, and now Charlie going up to Silverton.  A lawman can’t always depend upon a strict schedule, the outlaws and scum out there won’t allow it.
       Charlie finished his pie and was wiping the crumbs off his moustache.  I plopped the last piece of mine in my mouth and mumbled, “I’m goin’ to find us some coffee.”  I got up and ambled up toward the more refined cars.  I glanced where the stove used to be; where they used to keep a pot of coffee going.  If they wouldn’t allow me a couple of cups from the fancy cars I’d go back to the caboose.  The brakemen would surely share.
       They were generous up front and gave me two cups filled with hot coffee and I didn’t have to pay.  I took a big gulp and it burned all the way down to my stomach, then with the rocking of the train, I spilt half of Charlie’s on my hand.  There were plenty of sneers and hard looks and pleading eyes given to me as I walked through the car holding two cups of coffee.  Folks must have thought we were someone special.
       I handed him the cup, now only half full and received a questioning look until he saw that my hand was somewhat red and wet with coffee, then he laughed.  “At least yuh saved me two swallows,” he snorted, then drank it,  swirling the last in his mouth to clean the crumbs out.
       After finishing his coffee he held the cup in both hands, looking at the dregs, “Marta wants me to quit.”
       “Why?” I asked, knowing what was probably the reason.
       He shrugged with one shoulder, “Too dangerous and that I was gone too much.”
       Shrugging again, “Maybe some, he’s just added to her list of complaints.”
       “If you quit, what’ll you do?” I inquired.  
       “Vexler is always needing help down at the livery.  Maybe he could teach me to blacksmith.  Or I could work for Bert Crenshaw,” he said looking up at me.  “I always wanted to be a good carpenter.”
       Putting my cup on the floor, I then pulled at my moustache pondering what Charlie had told me.  “Charlie, you’re a lawman, and a good one,” I paused for several seconds.  “Durango, the west, we need good men to uphold justice.  Men to counter the lawless and low-lifes out there.”
       Then he pulled the final straw.  “Marta’s also going to have a baby.”
       My eyes widened, then I started nodding my head in understanding.  “What are you goin’ to do?”
       The shrug came again.  If it had been Lucas doing that I would have given him a little thump.  He looked over at me with a wry smile, “First, I’m going to take care of the situation in Silverton.

Echoes From the Campfire

I sat down on the rocker and for a while just gazed at the moon, pondering the blessings and workings of the Lord.”

                         –D. C. Adkisson (Redemption)
        “The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.”
                         –Proverbs 10:22 (NKJV)
My Aunt Bern had a real problem with insomnia.  She simply couldn’t sleep at night, but then during the sermon on Sunday mornings she would invariably start to nod off.  This embarrassed her to no end, and finally she went to the Pastor to apologize.  He was a gracious man, and taking her hand he said to her, “I’m so glad that my sermons are helping somebody.”
       There have been few times in my life when I couldn’t sleep.  It would be hard for me to remember them, therefore, it is hard for me to understand the reasons why sleep just doesn’t come to some people.  William J. Petersen gives this advice, “As you hit the pillow, don’t waste time fretting about your enemies or the various struggles in your life.  Meditate on the Lord through the night, and let him give your soul the rest it needs.”
       Psalm 63, shows that David was having a problem sleeping, but he took the right action.

               6 — When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches.
               7 — Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
               8 — My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.
               9 — But those who seek my life, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
              10 — They shall fall by the sword; they shall be a portion for jackals.
              11 — But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone who swears by Him shall glory; by the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. (NKJV)

I have mentioned before that I pray before going to bed that if I wake up I expect the Holy Spirit to bring to my mind a “Midnight Hymn.”  Troubles can keep us awake.  Why?  Isn’t the Lord our answer?  Worries about the virus, the vaccine, sickness, and death can keep a person awake.  Why?  Isn’t Jesus the Prince of Peace?  Worries about tomorrow, jobs, security, safety, finances, and on…why?  Jesus is our Rock and strong tower.
       Notice, David remembers God and all that He has done for Him in the past.  He remembers the times that God has helped him through situations in life.  God is always there; He is always faithful.  When sleep vanishes, begin to meditate on what the Lord has already accomplished for you.  Begin to do what the chorus of the old song says,

               “Count your blessings, Name them one by one;
                Count your blessings, See what God hath done;
                Count your blessings, Name them one by one;
                Count your many blessings, See what God hath done.”
                              –Johnson Oatman, Jr.

     Count your blessings, don’t dwell on your problems.  Count your blessings, don’t dwell on your failures.  Count your blessings, don’t focus on your regrets.  Count your blessings, put worries, fears, and doubts aside.  If we are awake at night the devil would like for us to lose sleep, become fatigued and dwell on failures, past sins, and regret our lives.  “The meditation of anything hath more sweetness than bare remembrance.  The memory is the chest in which to lay up a truth, but meditation is the palate to feed upon it.”  (John Wells).  Remember the greatness, goodness, and faithfulness of God.  Meditate upon His Word, and how He brought you through trials of the past.

               “Jesus, give the weary
                Calm and sweet repose;
                With Thy tend’rest blessing
                May mine eyelids close.”
                               –George Matheson

Coffee Percs

He poured himself a cup of coffee and sat down in the store-bought chair to read for a few minutes. His morning habit was to read the Bible first, pray, and then read a shorter dime novel.”

                    –L. C. Matthews (The Promise)
Fear, terror, war and rumors of war, pestilence, the virus, heat, drought, anger and hate, evil spirits and false teachers–my Pard, ain’t it delightful?  I mean, the comin’ of the Lord has to happen soon.  Common sense has left us and the voice has become the postmodern “whatever” now abounds.  But let me get to some downright simple and hopeful–here’s a cup of hot, black, strong coffee.  Ahhhh, it’ll tickle the tonsils as it slides down the gullet.  What? Yuh don’t have any tonsils?  Well, sorry, Pard, yuh just have for wait for it to it yur stomach fer it to energize yur gizzard.
       Pard, I found out why yuh lost yur step.  That tired feelin’ that comes over yuh, I have the answer.  It’s not old age, no siree.  It’s not even what ails yuh physically.  We’ve been misclued all along.  Some high falutin’ smart pyschologist says that “‘whiteness’ drains people’s ‘psychic energy.'”  I never realized before that because I was born “white” that my psychic energy was at stake.  No wonder I could only work all day, then go out and play a nightime double-header.  Anything more would have been too much.
       This ol’ world must be the proverbial nutcake.  But yuh would think with all the “woke”, more enlightened people out there common sense might be seen.  Shore does make me wonder about them, and the scariest part is that the schools are producin’ more and more of them.  I reckon they’re blind, because there’s a pit and they’re headin’ right toward it.  Ol’ Paul done told us that, “professin’ to be wise, they became fools.”  But I don’t relish the thought that we have fools in the place of leadership.  No wonder the snowflakes melt in the times of crisis.
       Yep, those youngsters cayn’t even handle real coffee.  Set a mug of that coffee yur drinkin’ this mornin’ in from of them and right off they’d frown at the type of cup.  They’d want somethin’ more dainty or what they’re used to, plastic or paper.  Then it’d be too hot, too strong, and on they would go.  Life is sorta the same way for them:  too hot, too strong, not pleasant enough.
       Pard, yuh just ride tall in the saddle.  Be watchful of the obstacles along the side of the trail, and the varmints that may be hidin’ in them.  Watch the skies for the Lord’s return, and don’t forget when yuh have to mount up and get somewhere not to forget to check yur cinch.
       Vaya con Dios.

Echoes From the Campfire

The recent rain had scented the air with the heavy aroma of grass which cleared the head and made a soul fee good about life.”
                    –Mike Stotter  (McKinney’s Law)

       “Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor.”

                   –Ecclesiastes 10:1 (NKJV)
I was sitting the other day in my rocker doing some reading, when an aroma from the kitchen floated in my direction.  Annie was making broth from the left over bones from the prime rib we had for Emmalee’s birthday.  Then, the day before yesterday, I was sitting on the sofa, just laying there, pondering and praying, when the smell of her baking cake wafted out from the kitchen.  Ahhh, sweet smells.
       When I was a kid seldom was there a time, especially when I was in elementary school, that I didn’t enter the backdoor of the house and get hit immediately with the smell of Grandma’s baking.  It might be cookies, or cinnamon rolls, or bread.  I recall the wonderful smell of entering a bakery or a coffee shop.  I remember one in Pennsylvania where they roast the beans in the shop.  Plus, I can’t forget the numerous times I have smelled the frying of bacon in the morning, at home or around a campfire.
       Now there is even a pseudo-science dealing with aroma therapy.  Essential oils are used to bring a mood to a home, or a person.  They are used to create an effect upon one’s physic and emotions.  Certain oils mean certain things.  They are to be therapeutic, comforting, and satisfying.  Certain aromas are used for certain ailments.  I do like to put a drop of two of eucalyptus or lavender on my pillow if my nose is clogged up.
       Those are sweet smells, but I’ve also had some not so savory aromas come to my nostrils.  I remember when we first moved to Panama City, Florida.  There was an atrocious smell that was sickening.  I found out later it was a place where paper was made.  And who can forget a time when you stepped in dog-poo and carried it around on your shoe?  Death has an aroma, a putrid smell.  I have smelled animals that have been dead for days.  I remember when rats would die in the air conditioning vents and the putridity of their remains floated through the auditorium.   I’ve gone into candle stores and passed through perfume sections of stores where the aromas, which are supposed to be fragrant, are so strong that they clog up the sinuses.
       God speaks of aromas.  

               “And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma.  Then the LORD said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.'”
                              –Genesis 8:21(NKJV)

This aroma was given by Noah’s sacrifice after the flood waters had subsided and he and his family walked out of the ark.  It was in thanksgiving, praise, and worship to the Lord for His safe-keeping and deliverance.  In Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers we read of several different sacrifices that will give to the Lord a sweet, soothing aroma.  However, the prophets speak of a stench that goes to the Lord from people who no longer observe the sacrifices and the law of the Lord (I am speaking of the law written upon the heart).  It is a stench that is sickening.  It is vital to understand that the soothing aroma comes from a proper sacrifice.
       As believers we are to carry a soothing aroma with us.  We are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, therefore the sacrifices of our heart should be pleasant unto the Lord.

               “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.  To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.  And who is sufficient for these things?”
                              –2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NKJV)

We are to be as the “essentials oils” because we carry the oil of the Holy Spirit with us.  When we serve in love there is a sweet aroma that goes to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:2).  Paul said that he received a gift from the church and it was a sweet-smelling aroma because of the sacrifice. ((Philippians 4:18)  When we serve the Lord, when we offer the sacrifice of praise and do all things as unto Him, we send up a sweet aroma.  When we serve others in love there is a wonderful smell that arises.
       So, I ask, what kind of smell are you giving off?  Do you have BO (body odor) or the did you put on your Old Spice or whatever deodorant you use?  What comes out of your mouth?  Does it make people want to shy away from you?  Because of your lifestyle, your actions, your words and deeds, do people smell the essential oil of the Holy Spirit?