Savage rifle to hunt deer. On my first deer hunt, seeing a buck...  I vacantly pumped all the shells from that rifle without firing once. Afterward, Uncle Bud cut the tail off my shirt as the accepted sign of a hunting green horn.

On the cold day of my garage visit, Bud was yet teaching me. He said, “While I’m finishing the timing gear, would you put points and plugs in?” Nodding to him that I would, he changed the 3/8 drive ratchet to a plug socket. By the time I was finished, I had relearned how to not break the porcelain spark plug material, to adjust the firing gap, and torque a new plug in until my finger clicked. As well, for the first time... I installed a new set of points in an A/C Delco distributor... ready for engine startup and adjustment. Yes, I fear that younger readers now miss the feeling of having a Chevy V-8 smooth out as you adjust the point dwell and two-barrel Rochester carburetor idle jets. I can yet remember Uncle Bud’s instructions about the carburetor screws... “For a rough start, adjust in until they gently seat, then back out two and half turns. Then for economy, after starting the engine turn one at a time inward until the engine runs rough... then back out one full turn. After finishing one, do the other.”

As a pastor today, I thank God for those examples taught by my whole family, especially the men gifted in my life. The lessons taught by my Uncle Bud, Uncle Curt, Uncle Joe and my father yet stream across the years to me more clearly than if they were enshrined on YouTube. For this reason, the recent governmental decision to restrict family gatherings during the Corona virus pandemic rubs raw upon my shoulders. You see, one of the things that stand out about my relationship with my Uncle Bud is that I seldom saw him in church. Yet, one which comes to mind is when I, being the tallest boy in the Christmas pageant was lamenting that I had to stand way in

the back... because I was nearly too tall… and had to be a very tall “shepherd”. Uncle Bud, attending that special event held in the Blackford Memorial Church in Edgely, PA, warned me that night... to be careful... that God hears the muttered words of those who stand in the back... and quite certainly hears those who lay upon the top of ammunition trucks. So indeed... thanks be to God! He does.

Thankful… (cont’d)

It was such statements that sound like a finely tuned Chevy V-8, that ran from the lips of that quiet hero. They came from a family sage... one that we shall miss and remember again this year. As now a member of the clergy, I ponder whether through this plague the demonic powers of the world haven’t taken the carving knife from the hands of such men. In faith, however, I think they are still with us. We shall endure, for it was by the love of God that they were present at our table to say grace.



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