That Sacred Time…
…Of fried-egg sandwiches, Dad’s relationship with his maker, and other treasured memories of childhood.
It’s funny how different people and events influence our lives. One of my earliest memories is going fishing with my dad when I was about six years old and being exposed to the grandeur and glory of God.
I remember that Dad would wake me early on a Saturday morning, and while I got dressed he would cook fried-egg sandwiches to take along for lunch. We didn’t have a car, so, carrying two cane poles, the sandwiches and a jug of water, we would walk down a rock road to a lake about thirty minutes from our house. As we walked, Dad would sing a little song to the tune of “Yes, Jesus Loves Me,” only he changed the words: “Jesus, Savior of my soul, hang me on your fishing pole. If that pole begins to bend, hang me on the other end.”
At the lake, Dad had a favorite spot where we always headed. I can still see the sun glancing off the water; a red-and-white cork bobbing against the gentle waves, and the peaceful stillness of the early morning. The only sounds came from the birds and an occasional fish fluttering in the water—the silence was complete, and even as a young boy I realized this was a special time. Certainly Dad liked to fish, but that’s not why we went to the lake on those sunny summer mornings. This was Dad’s time to put himself before God, a retreat with our Lord. And he brought me along to experience that holy presence. While I played around the lake, Dad sat quietly in the bright sunshine. There’s no doubt in my mind that he was communicating with his maker. That’s how Dad referred to God, as his “maker,” and in the quiet, he not only prayed but listened. It was a sacred moment, like being in a magnificent church; the birds gaily gave praise to God and the beautiful surroundings served as an altar. The colors of the trees, the wildflowers, the cloudless sky surpassed any stained-glass window or other work of human hands.
Although Dad possessed little formal education and even less religious training, he recognized the goodness of God in all creation, especially in nature and the seasonal cycles. When he said: “Thank the good Lord for the rain last night,” it was with sincere and personal gratitude—more than just a passing empty remark. His religion was one of acceptance and trust and not limited to congregating with others on Sunday morning.