Echoes From the Campfire

He’d either get through or he wouldn’t.  He was a grown man, and a man has to walk in his own boots.”
              –Lou Bradshaw  (Spirit Valley)

    “And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts.”
              –Psalm 119:45 (NKJV)
Two weeks earlier I had graduated from college and taken my wife of one year back to live with her parents for a few weeks.  Then boarding a bus from Pittsburgh to Kansas City, I spent most of the day in a congested smoke-filled room, took my oath and was waiting.  It was moving on toward midnight, June 26, 1972, forty-seven years ago.  There was click-click-click on the pavement that sounded through the muggy night in San Antonio.  All eyes, around fifty of us, turned to look and were greeted with a yell, “What’d you lookin’ at–you queer?”  The first words out of the mouth of my T.I. (Technical Instructor as compared to the army’s D.I.)  Thus it began–basic training.
    It was not hard, keep your stuff together, do what your supposed to do, and don’t draw attention to yourself, unless it’s in a good way.  In fact, I was called up to lead PT (physical training) every morning for the complete basic training unit.  I stood on a platform with several TIs around me leading calisthenics.  The training wasn’t hard; I received two demerits while there.  One was for a drop of water in my razor and another time a piece of lint was found on my dress uniform in my locker.
    An infamous day–well, a day of new beginnings.   I served a few months shy of six years in the Air Force.  It was in my mind and plans to make the military a career, but with the war in Vietnam over my career field was closing down.  I looked to cross-train but there was nothing open that suited me.  I was up for E-6 when changes began to happen.  Providence was working.  I handed in my paper work on December 1, to get out of the service and by December 31, I was a civilian.  We were stationed at Griffiss AFB, NY and it was snowing and cold when they loaded the truck with our goods.
    For eight months I was without work.  Annie was sick, Shauna was sick, and Kimberly was a baby.  Granny and Pappy had graciously allowed us to live upstairs in their house.  It was a trying time.  I knew the Lord was involved in my being discharged, and we were ready to follow Him, but we weren’t going anywhere.  In June, 1973, I went down to enlist in the Army.  They were offering me a warrant position, the paperwork was filled out and I was to go to Pittsburgh and take the oath the next day.  Heaviness was on my shoulders–I didn’t go.  A week later I started a job with J.C. Penney (which didn’t amount to much, but at least I was working).  A week after that Annie was offered a teaching position at a small Christian school in Houston, and there probably would be a position for me, however, it wouldn’t start until mid-August.
    At least now–direction.  In August we would pack and head for Houston.  She was hired as a first grade teacher, and I became a reading teacher and teacher of physical education.  So much for the little biographical sketch.  There were many lessons I took from this time.  Patience for sure, but the most important lesson is that God is faithful and don’t try to hurry Him.  Let Him direct your life and allow Him to change your plans.  Be open and sensitive to His guiding hand.