One of the strongest and most lasting lessons I learned as a child was the one of reaping what we sow.
Our old Queen Anne style house had a porch that wrapped half way around it and we sat out there a lot because there was no air conditioning in the house and the porch was usually the coolest place to be in the summertime. We shelled peas, capped strawberries, strung beans, husked corn or did whatever chore could be done while sitting on the porch.
As we sat on the porch, neighbors would be passing by going to or coming from the store or post office and would often stop to visit. It was 1948 when someone stopped to tell us that Mrs. Bickerstaff (not her real name) had gone to her final reward. She had passed away the night before. Then, of course, the whole story had to be told.
There used to be a fine old couple who lived In a house down the hill from us. They owned their home and made a truck garden to feed themselves and to sell or trade to get other things they needed like flour, butter, or other staples. Their only child was good about helping them all he could but had a family of his own to care for and times were very difficult in the 1930’s.
One day Mrs. Bickerstaff, a very large woman, came to visit the old couple who were sitting on their front porch shelling peas. When Mrs. Bickerstaff stomped up onto the porch a rotten board gave way and she fell through the porch floor. She was stuck with one leg dangling below the porch and the rest of her on the porch and unable to get up because she was so large she couldn’t lift her own weight.
The ambulance finally got there from 25 miles away but the doctor had already arrived and stated that the leg hanging below the porch had a compound fracture and had to be splinted before the woman could be moved. It was a terrible accident.
Before Mrs. Bickerstaff got out of the hospital, there was a lawyer came to see the old couple to say he had been engaged to take them to court to pay Mrs. Bickerstaff for her injuries.
The old couple was stunned. They had no money nor any way to get some. Long story shortened, they lost their home and had to move to the poor farm because their son’s four room house was barely big enough for him, his wife, and their two children.
Now it is 1948 and we are hearing that Mrs. Bickerstaff passed away last night and none of us had any idea there was anything wrong with the woman other than greed. We said so and marveled that she had passed away and of course, it had to be asked because it was on everyone’s mind, how did she die?
“Well, that was the thing about it,” said our neighbor, “She fell through the front porch, couldn’t get out, was there all night before she was found, and she had torn her side open and bled to death before she was found.”
We all studiously looked at the peas we were shelling and tried not to let our faces register satisfaction over such a horrible event. But the lesson stayed with us all for the rest of our lives. It is true, what goes around comes around. Or as someone said long before that phrase became popular, Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Galatians 6:7-9 (KJV)