Thursday, October 04, 2007

Pencils for Oscar—Another Good Day on the Prairie

My Dad loved horses; we grew up working and training horses. We used horses to move cattle to pastures our dad rented. I like horses, but not as well as my brother Jim. Jim has horses, makes buggies, and uses his buggy to provide rides in parades and at area functions.

A couple of weeks ago Jim used his horse and buggy at a wedding in a small west-central Minnesota town. He must haul his buggy, horse, harnesses and his driving clothes in order to provide transportation at this wedding.

Before the wedding, he “warmed up” his horse by driving it around the small town. As usual, kids come and ask for rides but he can’t give them a ride before the wedding since the inside of the buggy needs to remain spotless as not to damage very expensive wedding dresses. One of the children asking for a ride was Oscar, a young Hispanic boy who rode his bicycle along side the buggy as Jim headed toward the church to pick up the bride and groom.

After delivering the bridal couple to their destination at the reception, Jim needed to put everything back into his truck and trailer. Once again, Oscar was there, he had waited patiently on his bike for Jim to finish his work. Jim asked him if he wanted to make some money. Oscar flashed a big smile and said “yes”. Oscar was an enthusiastic helper; young and willing to learn. Jim taught, Oscar learned, and the buggy, the horse, and all the equipment were finally stowed away.

Jim rewarded Oscar with some money. Oscar flashed another big smile and said “thank you.” They visited awhile and Jim asked Oscar, “What are you going to do with the money?” Oscar proudly replied, “I’m going to buy pencils for school!” Jim fell silent. Pencils for school; just pencils for school. No ice cream cones, no candy bars, but pencils for school; all he wanted was pencils.

As Jim related the story to me, we both had tears in our eyes. Oh, how little we value pens and pencils. We have too many; we throw them away without thinking. There are more where they came from. We have more than enough pencils. Oscar had none. Sometimes we pass great opportunities without thinking or knowing. Oscar has his pencils. Jim got everything loaded to head back to Olivia.

As Jim pulled out of town, he noticed a yard full of people waving. It was Oscar and his family! The Old German horseman was reminded how good God has been to him. Oscar got his pencils and a new friend. God was good to Jim and Oscar. As Jim moved on home, he pulled down his hat, looked into the sunset, the sound of the diesel engine under the hood of his pickup reminded him of the completion of another good day on the prairie. Yes, this had been a good day. Oscar had taught Jim a valuable lesson and Jim taught Oscar a valuable lesson. May God be blessed.

"Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40.

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