Keep a rope in the back of your truck . . .

My first stop on today’s journey was to be Mandolin Valley, so i chose the scenic route up Highway 22, through the country.

Most days i drive either two or four hours, and prefer to stay off the Interstates, though i get little to no cell service when i do so. Most days, that’s ok with me, especially the drive home when it’s after business hours anyway. Nobody much expects to reach me or to hear from me after around 6 p.m.

Some days i go straight from home to Bass Lake, in Salisbury, and take 24/27 out of Carthage over through Biscoe and Troy. i love the drive across Tillery and through the Uwharrie Mountains and the National Forest. i stopped at the lake, just before the bridge to take in the scenery one morning this week, and updated my Facebook status. Julia responded that she was at Tillery, but i missed her.

So, today i came up through the woods. Just before the High Falls town limits, the highway crosses Deep River. i always think of it as the Tall Bridge over the Deep River at High Falls. The bridge is certainly much higher than the river is deep there, but from the bridge you can see the spillway up-river where there’s a little dam. The river really is shallow right there, and the water mostly rambles downstream through all the rocks and boulders. Windy would say it’s a nice setting for a picnic.

Several miles up the road from the Tall Bridge over Deep River at High Falls, is Coleridge. This is a small, quiet community with a beautiful, fairly new, elementary school and a little gas station/convenience store. North of Coleridge, along Hwy. 22, there are several farms, and somebody’s cows had gotten out just south of Parks Crossing. Some fellas were out there discussing what to do, and it provided some awesome entertainment for me.

That reminded me that a woman came into the office at Bass Lake on Monday to say that there was a cow loose just down the road at the river crossing, and asked if it was ours. “Not ours,” i said, wishing it were, though. We have some pasture already fenced that could support maybe as many as four.

Note to self: get a good length of rope for the next time you encounter cows on the loose, and always keep that rope in the back of the truck!

Further up the highway i was a bit offended by the Brahman bull in one of the pastures over there. i mumbled something like “you ain’t from around here, are ya boy?” i’m just accustomed to seeing those big, Black Angus bulls around here. The Brahman did make me remember, for some reason, that Grace is in India, and i smiled about that and forgave the bull for being there.

Jesse brought 60 watermelons and his wife Virginia to Banjo yesterday. 4th of July, you know. We have fresh corn, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, squash, onions, cantaloupes, and some other stuff in the store up there now. Garden fresh, you know. Marion says the Banjo Garden will yield some good stuff soon, and we can’t wait.

Monday night i got home around eight. i dumped my two computers and assorted other junk i carry around all the time, and went straight to the garden. There were a couple of squash ready to pull, and i took them inside to wash them. Sliced, salted and peppered, i put them in a pan with some butter, and was eating them along with my steak within half an hour after they were pulled. That was sort of my vision for the garden; eating fresh food from it often. i did tell Windy i’d love to have a squash casserole on Christmas Day with squash we’d put up from our own garden. It’s in the freezer now.

My friend Murf was always fond of talking to the boys about “green-housing” their souls. i like that idea. It speaks to me of taking in the right food (for the soul) and sinking deep roots, and paying more attention to the private life than to the public life. Gordon MacDonald says many of us are so “out there” that much of what we are is mostly public, to the neglect of our “private worlds.”

Eating fresh from the garden made me think some about staying close to the Source, and keeping the cows inside the fence, so-to-speak. i pray for all of us that this season in our lives will find us in the greenhouse, close to the Source, and keeping the cows eating the home-grown hay instead of that ever-enticing green grass by the road side. Jesus is the lover of our souls.

Peace, friends. Prayers for you always,


About Mike Pratt

Husband, father, entrepreneur, follower of Jesus, sometimes church planter . . .
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