June 1, 2017
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BJ 'n Cindy

Poetry

September 1960

September 1960


In September 1960, I woke up one
morning with six hungry babies and
just 75 cents in my pocket. Their
father was gone. The boys ranged
from three months to seven years;
their sister was two. Their Dad had
never been much more than a presence
they feared. Whenever they heard
his tires crunch on the gravel
driveway they would scramble to hide
under their beds. He did manage to
leave $15 a week to buy
groceries. Now that he had decided
to
leave, there would be no more
beatings, but no food either. If
there was a welfare system in effect
in southern Indiana at that time, I
certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they
looked
brand new and then put on my
best homemade dress. I loaded them
into the rusty old 51 Chevy and
drove
off to find a job. The seven of us
went to every factory, store
and restaurant in our small town. No
luck.
The kids stayed, crammed into the
car
and tried to be quiet while
I tried to convince whomever would
listen that I was willing to learn
or do anything. I had to have a job.
Still no luck.
The last place we went to, just a
few
miles out of town, was an old
Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had
been converted to a truck stop. It
was called the Big Wheel.
An old lady named Granny owned the
place and she peeked out of
the window from time to time at all
those kids.

She needed someone on the graveyard
shift, 11 at night until seven
in the morning. She paid 65 cents an
hour and I could start that
night.

I raced home and called the teenager
down the street that baby-sat
for people. I bargained with her to
come and sleep on my sofa for a
dollar a night. She could arrive
with
her pajamas on and the kids
would
already be asleep. This seemed like
a
good arrangement to her, so we
made a deal.

That night when the little ones and
I
knelt to say our prayers we
all thanked God for finding Mommy a
job. And so I started at the Big
Wheel.
When I got home in the mornings I
woke the baby-sitter up and sent
her home with one dollar of my tip
money-fully half of what I
averaged
every night.
As the weeks went by, heating bills
added another strain to my
meager wage.
The tires on the old Chevy had the
consistency of penny balloons
and began to leak. I had to fill
them
with air on the way to work and
again every morning before I could
go
home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged
myself to the car to go home and
found four tires in the back seat.
New tires! There was no note, no
nothing, just those beautiful brand
new tires. Had angels taken up
residence in Indiana? I wondered.
I made a deal with the owner of the
local service station. In
exchange for his mounting the new
tires, I would clean up his office.
I
remember it took me a lot longer to
scrub his floor than it did for
him
to do the tires.

I was now working six nights instead
of five and it still wasn't
enough. Christmas was coming and I
knew there would be no money for
toys for the kids.

I found a can of red paint and
started repairing and painting some
old toys. Then I hid them in the
basement so there would be something
for Santa to deliver on Christmas
morning. Clothes were a worry too.
I
was sewing patches on top of patches
on the boys pants and soon they
would be too far gone to repair. On
Christmas Eve the usual customers
were drinking coffee in the Big
Wheel. These were the truckers, Les,
Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper
named Joe. A few musicians were
hanging around after a gig at the
Legion and were dropping nickels in
the pinball machine. The regulars
all
just sat around and talked
through
the wee hours of the morning and
then
left to get home before the sun
came up.

When it was time for me to go home
at
seven o'clock on Christmas
morning I hurried to the car. I was
hoping the kids wouldn't wake up
before I managed to get home and get
the presents from the basement
and
place them under the tree. (We had
cut down a small cedar tree by the
side of the road down by the dump.)
It was still dark and I couldn't see
much, but there appeared to be
some dark shadows in the car-or was
that just a trick of the
night? Something certainly looked
different, but it was hard to tell
what. When I reached the car I
peered
warily into one of the side
windows. Then my jaw dropped in
amazement. My old battered Chevy was
filled full to the top with boxes of
all shapes and sizes. I quickly
opened the driver's side door,
scrambled inside and kneeled in the
front
facing the back seat. Reaching back,
I pulled off the lid of the
top box. Inside was a whole case of
little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I
looked inside another box: It was
full of shirts to go with the
jeans. Then I peeked inside some of
the other boxes: There were candy
and nuts and bananas and bags of
groceries. There was an enormous ham
for baking, and canned vegetables
and
potatoes. There was pudding and
Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and
flour. There was a whole bag of
laundry supplies and cleaning items.
And there were five toy trucks
and
one beautiful little doll.

As I drove back through empty
streets
as the sun slowly rose on the
most amazing Christmas Day of my
life, I was sobbing with gratitude.
And
I will never forget the joy on the
faces of my little ones that
precious morning. Yes, there were
angels in Indiana that
long-ago December. And they all hung
out at the Big Wheel truck stop.
THE POWER OF PRAYER When you receive
this, say a prayer. This
prayer will do. That's all you have
to do. There is nothing attached.

This is powerful. Just send this to
four people and Do not break
this,
please. Prayer is one of the best
free gifts we receive. There is no
cost but a lot of rewards.

Let's continue praying for one
another. Father, I ask you to bless my
friends reading this right now.
Lord,
show them a new revelation of
Your
love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask
You to minister to their spirit at
this very moment. Where there is
pain, give them Your peace
&mercy. Where there is self
doubting, release a renewed confidence
in
Your ability to work through them.
Where there is tiredness, or
exhaustion, I ask You to give them
understanding, patience, &
strength
as they learn submission to Your
leading. Where there is spiritual
stagnation, I ask You to renew them
by revealing Your nearness, and
by
drawing them into greater intimacy
with You. Where there is fear,
reveal Your love, and release to
them
Your courage. Where there is a
sin blocking them, reveal it, and
break its hold over my friend's
life. Bless their finances, give
them
greater vision, and raise up
leaders, and friends to support, and
encourage them. Give each of
them discernment to recognize the
demonic forces around them, and
reveal
to them the power they have in You
to
defeat it. I ask You to do
these
things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Passing this on to anyone you
consider a friend will bless you both.
Passing this on to one not
considered
a friend is something I
know Christ would do.

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