Little Jimmy looked up and noticed that the sun was not long for the sky. He had been out in the backwoods of Kirbyville, doing what little boys do and had not noticed that the day was almost at its end. He could hear the crickets begin their warm up exercises for tonights symphony. A loud sound broke the still night air. Jimmy’s mind tried to work out what it was. Was it a frog or something else? Jimmy noticed that his surroundings, so familiar an hour ago had taken on a sinister feeling. He could feel the soil under his bare feet rapidly giving up its heat from the days sun to the cold night air. He started to walk faster towards home. His house was about five miles down Cow Creek Road. An old dirt road that meandered along side Cow Crick – surrounded on both sides by woods and swamp. At one point, a plank bridge crosses Cow Creek when the dirt became too mushy to support a vehicle. In his little boy wanderings he had meandered all up and down cow creek road and now was was more than a country mile from his home territory. The pop of a twig under foot made him jump sideways. The scattering of grass and twigs gave a way something in the brush rushing away from him, or was it towards him. Jimmy could not tell. Could just be a varmint. But maybe it was a mama wild pig. Wild Pigs were dangerous in these parts.
Suddenly an unearthly scream cut through the night. Was it a painter? They were rumored to roam through the backwoods and swamps near the logging camp Little Jimmy earned extra money at from time to time. The painter was said to sound like a womans last scream as she is being tortured. Little Jim shook his head, it was just a rusty a chain that the local kids used to climb the tree and jump into a deep part of the crick swinging moving in the wind. He had to get ahold of his thoughts. He just about died of fright the next time the pop of a stick gave way under his foot.
Little Jimmy reached down and picked up a stick. He wasnt sure why, but somehow he felt better, stick in hand. A crunch of gravel and a growl in the distance made Jims stomach lurch with fear. What was that he heard in the distance. It was coming up the road behind him. Despite the cool night air, Jim began to sweat. The growl seemed to grow closer and then as the beast turned the corner of the old country road, two glowing eyes appeared. What sort of beast Little Jim wondered had glowing eyes. He began to run down the road. Slowly the moon light revealed the front end of an old Ford truck. As it approached, Little Jim turned to great who ever was driving it. He wasnt sure what was out in the swamps, but in a small town like this, he most likely knew the driver of the truck. Slowly Deacon Brown from the local Baptist church rolled to a stop.
“Jimmy Bishop, your out a bit late aint ya?” The old deacon asked.
“Yes Sir” Little Jimmy answered. “Well hop up on the running board and I will get ya on home son” the deacon said with a smile. As the boy held onto the door and the old Ford rolled on down Cow Creek Road, Deacon Brown noticed that Jimmy was holding a stick.
He said, “Oh, Jimmy, is that the rod and staff that gives you comfort? You can never be alone with God to guide you. D o you think that stick would help you against a mama wild pig??” Deacon Brown began to tell Little Jimmy of the help that the Lord gave to those that were His own. There, barefoot on the running board of that old Ford truck, Little Jimmy Bishop prayed that God might save him and guide him through the dangers and evils of the swamp and the rest of the world.
And that is the story my Grandpa James Bishop told me about a barefoot, ragged boy from the swamps of south-east Texas and how he became a child of the King.