Devotional: September 27th
Growing up in a home in a rural community had its benefits. We had our own Little League with plenty of local sponsors and boys to play in it. We had our own movie theatre that the Mitchell family owned and operated. Any enterprising boy could make a decent living mowing yards in the spring and summer, raking leaves in the fall and shoveling snow from sidewalks in the winter. The teenage boys could always find plenty of work on the many local farms in the area doing such things as milking cows, cutting ground and bailing hay.
Then there was Sugar Creek. It was our playground. Several area farmers owned land along the meandering creek. We knew all of them and they pretty much knew us. So they weren't worried when we chose to spend warm summer days snakin' along the banks. That's what we called spending the day catching snakes. Of course, to our young minds every snake we grabbed was a water moccasin or a copperhead. We'd catch the slithery critters and then give them a big tail swing and fling them on out into the grass. Whoever caught and flung the most snakes was the winner.
We also had our swimming hole. There was a place where the creek made a curve. On the town side of the creek was a very flat place where we'd enter the water. The opposite bank rose some five to six feet above the creek bed and served as a great place for jumping in. There would be as many as six or eight of us swimming there at one time. If we got bored with the swimming we would climb out and head just a few feet down stream to a fairly narrow stretch and see if the carp were running. The banks were close together, not much more than a couple of feet and we would straddle the creek at this point and try to grab carp as they would swing through the narrow and reasonably shallow water.
In the winters the temperature would drop enough that the creek would actually freeze over and become this winding frozen trail that we would race along on our sleds. We would race from the bridge near the school house to the train bridge a couple of miles away. Of course, there would be those times when the ice would break beneath us but then we'd just pull each other out and head to my house to get warm and drink hot chocolate. My home seemed to be centrally located to everybody else's houses. Yes, Sugar Creek afforded us a fascinating playground. But, we also fished there.
Rock bass, bluegill, catfish, smallmouth bass and carp were plenteous in the waters of Sugar Creek and we caught all we wanted pretty much whenever we wanted. Why we'd even catch crawdads and fry up the tails. Point is, in spite of all the other things that we did there, the fishing was the most satisfying. We had something to show for it at the end of the day. That creek has taught me a lot about life. You can do all the recreating you want. Someplace along the line you want to do something that means something. "And Jesus said to Simon, 'Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.' " Luke 5:10 At the end of the day of your life which do you think will bring the greatest satisfaction; your retirement income, your home, or the people you've influenced for Jesus?
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