Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Grandfather's Bible - and a Promise Kept ; Originally Published in the Christian Science Sentinel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Grandfather's Bible - and a Promise Kept ; Originally Published in the Christian Science Sentinel

Article excerpt

Each summer when I was a boy, there was nothing I looked forward to more than spending a couple of weeks with my grandparents. They lived in what today is called "old Florida," and their house was at the end of a short dirt road, shaded by several fine oak trees. The Spanish moss hung so low from those great, old oaks that even a small boy could jump up and tug the long gray beards.

And then there was the river. My brother and I slept on the back screened porch where, just a few yards from the porch steps, the Alafia River ran toward Tampa Bay. At night we could hear all the river sounds, punctuated now and then by the rolling hum of long- distance 18-wheelers as the big trucks passed over the Highway 301 bridge just downstream. We fished in the river with cane poles, searched for arrowheads along its banks, skipped stones on its surface. It was just exactly what a 12-year-old boy would have dreamed of.

Yet more than all of this, what I remember most is the affection of my grandfather for the two boys who were his grandsons. The last time I saw my grandfather I was 15 or 16. One evening I went to his room to say goodnight. Our family were all Methodists, and every night before he fell asleep, Grandpa would read his Bible. Of course I knew it was the Bible in his hands that evening, but I asked him what he was reading anyhow, just to make conversation. He looked at me and said, "Son, can I ask you to do something for me?" I nodded.

Grandpa went on, "If there's just one thing I could have you do, it would be to make some time each day to read the Bible." I said, "Sure." But I didn't really feel a conviction about it. And I certainly didn't know this would be the last summer I would see my grandfather. He passed away the next year.

To be honest, I didn't keep my promise right away. The teenage years pulled me in different directions. …

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