Echoes From the Campfire

Seasons come and go…each new season has its challenges and its beauty.  You can’t predict the exact dates and you can’t keep it from happenin’.  I guess I’ll just take what comes and look for the good parts.”
              –Stephen Bly (One Step Over the Border)

    “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
              –Revelation 3:21-22
I enjoy looking at photos and paintings of stagecoaches.  One of my favorite movie scenes is when the stage for Lordsburg goes around a curve and there in the middle of the road is the Ringo Kid (John Wayne), standing and waiting for the stage driven by Andy Devine.
    Until the railroad, stagecoaches were the means of travel across country.  Even after the railroad stages were used until spurs from mainlines could reach other communities.  I have several books about stagecoaches in the Old West, and I was glancing through one and came across the following story.  There was a holdup and the passengers were herded out of the coach where they were searched and were told to keep their hands up.  Here is an account of what happened by Ben Holladay:

         “‘Keep your hands up!’ was the reply, while a second robber took my watch and money.  Then a search was made for the express company’s box, but the double-barrel shotgun did not move.  Its muzzles were within a foot of my nose.  For my life, I did not dare to stir.  My nose began to itch.  The stiff hairs of my mustache got up and one after the other tickled it, until the sensation was intolerable.  I could stand it no longer.
          ‘Stranger,’ I said, ‘I must scratch my nose!  It itches so bad that I’m almost crazy.’  ‘Move your hands,’ he shouted, ‘and I’ll blow a hole through your head big enough for a jack rabbit to jump through!’
         I appealed to him once more.  ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘Keep your hands still and I’ll scratch it for you.’  ‘Did he scratch it?’ asked one of the man’s interested listeners.  ‘Sure, said the man.  ‘How?’ asked the breathless listener.  ‘With the muzzle of the loaded gun,’ said the great overlander.  ‘He rubbed the muzzle around my mustache and raked it over the end of my nose, until I thanked him and said that it itched no longer.'”

There is much more to the story, but needless to say there could be some unique and interesting experiences along the journey.
    There had to be protection and on most stages there were “shotgun messengers.”  They were to sit next to the driver and look for possible danger along the route.  Whenever the stage had to slow, or where there were places where ambushed could likely take place they were ready for any danger that might occur.  They carried “coach guns” or “messenger guns” and were usually short-barreled 10 or 12-gauge double-barrel shotguns.
    As we travel along our journey to our final destination we have a driver who knows where He is going.  He has traveled the journey before; He knows the perils along the way.  Alongside Him is the shotgun messenger, we’ll call Him the Holy Spirit.  He is watching out for our safety.  He is along with us for protection and to be ready to come to our aid in case of ambush.  Because of His diligence, loyalty, and love we will make it to our final destination.