By Charles Towne

If we knew how many times that our lives have been spared, not by anything we did or didn’t do, but by providence, we would have to shout, “Thank you, Lord!”

I must have started life as a little cave boy. The reason I say that is because I have a penchant for caves.  I like to explore cool, dark, dank, damp places.

Maybe this is a calling back, a yearning for the womb?  Nah, I reckon not, I just like to explore cool, dark, dank, damp places and if I couldn’t find a really cool, dark, dank, damp cave, I would dig one.

I was 10 or 11 at the time I decided to dig a cave. 

Engineering was never one of my strong gifts so I went down along the river bank and found the ideal location for a cave, I mean, there really should have been a cave in that location, but there wasn’t, so I began to dig in a vertical bank.  I dug, and dug, and dug straight back into that riverbank.

Did I mention the fact that I liked caves?

I dug a tunnel back about a mile. A mile is about ten feet long, isn’t it?  And then I dug a huge room. My huge room was big enough for me to sit up in. 

Yeah, it was really big!

Now if somebody had asked me to dig that cave, like most boys I would have considered it work, but because I was digging my very own cool, dark, dank, damp cave it wasn’t work, it was fun.

When my cave was finished I decided I needed a watchdog to keep intruders away so I went down on  the river and I caught the biggest, meanest, nastiest, most vicious, bite your head off, ripping, tearing, roaring, snarling, not nice at all, growling, tooth gnashing snapping turtle in the world.  Then I drilled a little hole in the rear edge of his shell and wired a short chain to him and staked him there, and would you believe it, I had my very own watchdog… watch turtle.

Enter daddy at stage right.

We had two fields of corn on the old home place and my dear old daddy had decided to cultivate the lower field.  He cranked up the old, Farmall F-14 tractor, jumped in the seat, engaged the gear shift, let out the clutch, and humming to himself, happy as a clam, he was on his way down the island. 

He was lickity splitting down the road that bordered the field not realizing that disaster was beckoning him forward and ever onward with its sinister fickle finger of fate.

Did I mention that boys shouldn’t be allowed to dig caves? Did I also mention that the room that I had dug at the end of my tunnel was located directly under the center of the road that my dear old daddy was lickity splitting down?

As luck, or providence, would have it, the old Farmall F-14 tractor would only travel about six miles an hour at top speed which in the eventuality of a collision was enough to do little more than to bring it to an abrupt halt. 

Now I would like you to visualize what happened next.

The tractor arrived at ground zero, which is to say it arrived directly over the room at the end of my cave, and due to certain laws of nature and physics, the roof to the room I had dug at the end of my cave, not being structurally capable of holding the weight of the tractor, surely and quite suddenly collapsed, doing three things at once.  The front wheels of the tractor plunged down to the floor of my cave/room, which was providentially lacking the presence of yours truly, and the tractor came to an abrupt halt, and if my dear old daddy hadn’t maintained a death grip on the steering wheel he would have been catapulted over the front end of the tractor to who knows what dire results.

We were, with much digging, able to extricate the tractor from my cave/tractor trap, and my daddy and I had a most meaningful and heartfelt father and son talk which led me to the conviction that digging caves any time soon was definitely out of the question.

I have always been under the conviction as I look back in retrospect that Papa God was definitely watching over me that day, otherwise I would have ended up giving new meaning to the term, “Roadkill.”

And did I mention that we ate my watchdog for dinner that night?

Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.


  1. What do you mean my poor Papa NH? He destroyed my cool, dark, damp, dank cave and then fed me my very own biggest, meanest, nastiest, most vicious, bite your head off, ripping, tearing, roaring, snarling, tearing, not nice at all, growling, tooth gnashing, watch turtle! I get no sympathy at all! Bless you guys, Chaz

  2. It brought tears to my eyes, due
    to laughing of course. I bet it brought tears to your eyes
    also, but for a very different reason I can just imagine
    what must have been going through your dad’s mind when
    his happy-go-lucky day came
    to an abrupt halt!! Somehow,
    I feel like his first thoughts,
    after he regained his composure, were of you! What I’d like to
    know is…when did you realize
    it was time for you to flee from
    your new basement bedroom,
    just before losing your life?
    God has spared you more times than you can imagine.
    Love the stories, Chuck!!

  3. It has been my experience that there has been much more laughter than tears in this wierd and wonderful life, most of the laughter has occurred in retrospect of course. Bless you csg, Chaz

  4. Yes Herb, my mama prayed for a little boy just like Huck Finn. Shows that one needs to be careful what you pray for, it also shows that Papa God has a wonderful sense of humor doesn’t it? Blessings on you and yours pal, Chaz

  5. You were fortunate the cave didn’t fall in with YOU in it! And, you ate your faithful watchdog? That sure was poor pay for being faithful!

  6. Well Don, if he was faithful as you say he should have been on the road with a red flag to stop my daddy so he deserved what he got! Bless his vicious misbegotten hide! You take care, Chaz

  7. EJ, I think the bigger question is how intent He is to see us AS HIS own! How much does He love us, cherish us, yearn for us to love Him and crave a close relationship with HIM. What a friend He is!. Blessings my friend, Chaz

  8. It is said that we all have a guardian angel that watches over us but in your case there must have been a squad of them working overtime to keep up with your escapades. Keep the stories coming.

  9. Yes mike, and as much as i hate to admit it my angels were the only ones that had to go for frequent consulting sessions. You take care my friend and may Papa God bless you and yours, Chaz

  10. Seems to confirm an explanation I remember that little girls come from heaven but boys pop into view from down below in the dark places of the underworld! May the light always shine on you my friend!

  11. Richard my friend, if there is any truth to that supposition, though I hate to believe that might be so, it could explain an awful lot about my misbegotten life? Bless you pal, Chaz

  12. I think you were older than ten – because I remember this event. I was old enough to crawl into the cave opening (faced the west bank of the river) that extended under a lane on the side side of the corn field. It seemed that you and Steve dug out an opening, laid boards over it, and then covered the boards with dirt. You also put hay on the floor of the cave. I remember Papa becoming VERY upset. What I also remember about the event is that the adventure of making a cavelike dwelling dominated all thought. The fact that it was being built under the lane where Papa drove the tractor wasn’t even considered – lesson in unforeseen consequences.

  13. Ahh Judy, when the cave,s roof collapsed my entire collection of comic books were buried. Looking back on it all … oh well, lets not look back on it all. Chaz


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