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.