It was Friday before Labor Day 1948. We went to Kresge’s Five and Dime. Tuesday I was going to first grade and I needed a pencil box. Every scholar needed a pencil box. We found one with a wooden ruler, an eraser, a little square pencil sharpener and of course, two (not one, but two) pencils. I was so proud because we also got a Roy Roger’s lunch bucket with a picture of Trigger on one side.
It was when we were headed for the cash register that I saw it. I had never seen anything so wonderful. At home I had a box of eight crayons but this beauty was beyond all dreams. It had 48 crayons. I could never have imagined there were so many different colors in all the world. This was the Holy Grail of coloring. If I could go to school with that box of crayons I would be the king of art. (Today you can get a box with 150 colors. What child could have known?)
All the “pleases” in the world were not enough. My mom told me my box of eight was more than sufficient. She assured me I would never use the other 40. She was right because in all my years in elementary school I never did get a picture on the wall. It was always a picture by some girl who could stay inside the lines.
When I was a pastor I used to beg God for the power to heal people. I used lots of “pleases” in my prayers. God was like my mother. I guess He knew I would never use it properly and safely. I would never have stayed inside the lines of propriety and humility and unselfishness. I would have wanted my picture on the cover of Time magazine.
Written by Roger Bothwell on August 26, 2016
PO Box 124, St Helena, CA 94574