OPINION

Who Will Interpret This?

Paul Richardson

I was at that tough age of nine years old and we were living on the ranch in Maysville, Arkansas. As you may know, I was the only child in the fifth grade and attended a two-room school with three grades in each room. In addition, this school still had recess that was enjoyed by all the students there. The weather conditions did not detour any of the students from leaving the classroom and heading out doors. The only stop condition was if the weather was determined to be unsuitable by the teachers. That would only happen under the direst conditions, as the teachers were probably as ready for the break as the students were.

So, on this cold winter day I went out and participated in the activity enjoyed by all the young boys in the school. Touch football was a constant as were the fights that erupted solely on the right to be identified as the Razorbacks. With no professional teams in Arkansas, extreme loyalty was given to their college teams.

During the morning and afternoon recess break, I went out and participated in this strenuous activity. At the end of the day, I was not tired, but thoroughly exercised and quite comfortable. This particular day was Wednesday. On Sundays, my family attended the local Baptist Church, but occasionally on Wednesday evenings we would attend a small family church located at the south edge of Maysville. I can’t recall their specific denomination, but the congregation consisted of a few local families of like thought.

These good folks assembled in a small building that was heated by a single pot-belly stove in the center of the room. There were several teenage boys belonging to the families that attended and they, on cold winter nights, would assemble around the pot-belly stove, resting their feet on the foot rails. At some point during that evening, the foot rail dislodged itself from the brackets and fell to the floor, resulting in a huge crash. I, in the meantime, weary from my day of exercise in the crisp temperatures, had drifted off into a wonderfully comfortable place. Safely propped next to one of my parents, I had been able to avoid detection and travel my own road to peace and joy.

The crash of the foot rail surely resulted in whoops and hollers from the teenage boys, looks of disapproval from their parents, and likely a consoling response from the pastor, a gentle, jovial man as I recall, who probably just shook it off and flowed with it. However, I began to speak in tongues. Not something that anyone could understand, but the babble that my parents heard when I talked in my sleep, which was really the situation at that point. Unable to get me to stop, my dad eventually had to take me outside and awaken me in the cold air.

I am sure that the teenage boys moved to second place on the attention list. If we had only possessed the recording capabilities of today’s cellphone technology.

-Paul Richardson is the proprietor of In Sane Marketing. He also writes a weekly column, The Horse I Rode In On, for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser.