Growing up in the southern U.S. during the 70s, you generally had to have a car to be cool.  Cars were part of the whole masculine thing, knowing how to work on them and knowing how to drive very fast.  And, of course, they were indispensable if you wanted to get to a job, so you’d have money for girls and other forms of entertainment, as well as being critical for getting to friends’ houses and to parties.  On Friday nights, one game me and my friends played a few times with our cars was a game of “hot pursuit” in which one car would be chased, with the pursuing car flashing a blue light that one of the boys had ordered from J. C. Whitney or some other car parts company.  It was a fairly harmless game, and we didn’t go very fast, but it was worth the looks on people’s faces for our general amusement as we passed through their neighborhoods.  I guess it was better than some of the other things that growing southern boys would get into like fighting, which I did a fair number of times in junior high and high school.  It was probably less harmful than doing drugs, which some of us also did, most often smoking marijuana when we had it.  It was probably less harmful than getting stinking drunk which we also did a number of times.  Yes, we did all those things, but remember, it was the wild and wooly 70’s when we were growing up, so this behavior was not unusual.  But our mischief didn’t end with these things.  We also occasionally pulled pranks on various people that we did not like, such as rolling their yards. 

Rolling yards, if you are unfamiliar with this custom, was a veritable rite of passage for youth of my generation.  It would prove that you were cool, and that you had nerves of steel, risking getting caught and whatever trouble you might get in as a result of that.  To roll a yard, you would get dozens of rolls of toilet paper and a group of ill-mannered friends together.  Then you would pick a suitable target, preferably an adult that no one liked, like perhaps an assistant principle at your school, whose job usually entailed disciplining unruly students; hence, they would be an ideal target for a good rolling of the yard.  Once you picked your target, then you would need to wait until a very late hour to ensure that the residents were in bed and deep in sleep.  Then, you would park the car or cars that transported you to the target house a few houses away to avoid alerting the inhabitants of the target house.   Moreover, even if you did get caught or almost get caught, most likely you would be easily able to outrun the adult in the house who tried to nab you and get to your car and escape before he could get there and take down your license plate. 

Once arriving at the yard, you would post lookouts watching the most likely exits from the house, and you would then pull off a long tail of toilet paper from the roll and subsequently toss the rest of the roll up into the branches of the various trees in the yard of the chosen target’s house.  This process would continue until every bit of the toilet paper from the roll was unraveled and hanging nicely from the branches of the trees.  Then you would grab another roll and repeat the process until all the rolls that you brought with you were now up in the trees of the target’s yard.  This process created a quite impressive visual effect once daylight came.  Moreover, the paper would remain in the trees for quite some time since it was very difficult, if not impossible, to get all the paper out of the trees, thus giving all the surrounding neighbors and the passing cars endless visual enjoyment.  Additionally, once it eventually rained, the paper would stick to the branches even worse so that you would have to wait for nature to eventually wash it away weeks down the road. 

When I look back on these things that I did, I have to thank God that I survived those years.  I know that He must have been watching over me constantly and trying to keep me from serious harm to myself or others from my antics.  I’m amazed that I stayed out of jail, but then that was probably the Protective Hand of the Lord as well, keeping me safe until I would grow out of these things and eventually turn to Him.  As with many other things that I got into or pursued after in my youthful ignorance, they fell one by one in my life until there was only One Thing left standing in my life, and that was God.  I had finally arrived at the same place that Peter did in John 6:68, when Jesus watched other disciples depart from Him when His Words of Truth were too heavy to bear; they apparently did not want to give up control and submit to His Lordship as many in life do when confronted with His Truth.  When Peter and the other disciples were questioned as to why they did not also depart, Peter answered:  “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”  When we get to the end of all the gods that we chase and find that they are false, and we turn once again to the Master for Answers, for Peace, for Meaning in Life, and for Real Truth, we also find out as Peter and the other disciples did that there is no one else in life that holds these things except for our Loving Father, His Majestic Son, Jesus, and His Holy Spirit. 

I pray today that you will all know Him personally and find your Only Truth in Him.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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