Bing Cherries

It was a beautiful day here in central Indiana. Great temperatures, clear skies, a little breeze and the start of another week. In fact, yesterday marked something of a milestone – I wrote my 150th post! It only seems like a few weeks ago that I started writing, and I wonder how long I will be able to keep coming up with new ideas. So far, it seems that the Holy Spirit always has something ready for me to write about, and to be honest, this morning I had an event that I thought would make the evening post for sure.

You see, as I was eating breakfast, I heard the unmistakable beep of the alarm on the back-up battery for the sump pump downstairs. I hurried down, and quickly determined that the battery needed to be replaced. Andrew came by to help load it in the back of the car, and then I headed off to buy the replacement. On the way to the store, I rounded a corner, quickly, to avoid another car, and I heard the battery shift. I pulled over, and when I went around the back of the car to open the rear hatch, the battery tumbled out on the street, hitting pretty hard from over 3′ up. I was preparing to get splashed by acid as the battery broke apart, but then I looked down and the battery was still in one piece. Thank God!

So I picked it up, put it back in the car, and completed the errand. I am pleased to report that the rest of the day went without incident, and I was very fortunate that I was not severely burned by battery acid. Andrew called me tonight to report that he suffered a small burn hole in his pair of old shorts; but he did not get hurt. I hate that job! Hopefully, it will be another three years before we have to replace it again.

As I was re-living the day, I thought about the last time I had to replace that battery – in October, 2009. And I got to thinking about the various times of year, and what things happen near the end of the summer. The Indiana State Fair ended yesterday, and now we are in the lull between the start of school and Labor Day, when I really start to think of the fall beginning. And then the funniest recollection crossed my mind. Because we always think of corn on the cob, and summer barbecues, but my mind raced back to my childhood on Claremont Avenue and the fact that we lived behind Van Laten’s Farm Stand. And while they had great corn, and many other items, the thing I loved most about the end of summer was when my mother would walk across the alley and buy a bag full of bing cherries. That’s right – those dark red, late summer cherries that have the small pit in the center – they always seemed to taste better when they came in a paper bag – not plastic like they do today. And Van Laten’s had the best cherries I have ever had.

They went fast in our home, and just like today, they weren’t cheap. I also love peaches, and am not too crazy about plums, but I just love bing cherries. Far more than either of my brothers. Mom would bring them home, wash them, and put them in a large stainless steel bowl in our fridge. We would reach in and get a handful, and then another, until we would get down to the bottom of the bowl in a day or two – then we had to ration them out, because we couldn’t afford to buy them all the time. I even got to the point where I could determine which ones tasted the best. The darker ones were the juiciest, and a little softer – the lighter ones were usually a little harder and not nearly as sweet. I tended to avoid the ones that had a little yellow or red in them – the deep burgundy ones were best.

Anyway, I was always sad when cherry season was over. We even had a cherry tree in our backyard, but those cherries were sour and my grandmother Lettie would like to use them to make cherry pies. Still, to this day, nothing is quite like a good bing cherry in my book.

Of course, this story reminds me of the seasons and the idea of a time for everything. I could easily go to Ecclesiastes this evening, and the famous verse we have all heard, but I thought of something different. Luke wrote an interesting story about Paul and his mentor, Barnabas, in the book of Acts. It seems that the people were trying to make sacrifices to the two men as a result of their teaching. Both Paul and Barnabas rejected this idea, affirming that they were just humans, and God should be the object of their sacrifices. The people were not to be swayed, and finally Paul reminded them about the great things God has done for them. In Acts. 14:17, we are told, referring to God, “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

In this country, most of us are really blessed. Rarely do we want for a meal, and to know the Lord is to live a life of joy. The rest of the world does not share the same availability of food as we do. My encouragement tonight is to remind you that God knows your needs and He has promised to give you whatever you need, in His name. And sure, there are many things that we want, and don’t necessarily need, but God does not promise that he will provide these things to us. My prayer is that you will be satisfied with what God does to provide for your true needs – and that you will know the joy of having a relationship with the living God.

Uh oh, I must be done for the evening – I just finished the bowl of cherries 😉


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