Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Roadside Oasis for the Soul

I grew up in a car-trip loving family. All nine of us would pile into the family station wagon and drive all over the west. Back in my day, we didn’t have DVD players in the car. We didn’t have iPods or iPads or DS’s. But, we did have an in dash cassette player, and we sang. And sang. And sang.
My dad taught us old school folk & country songs, like “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road”, “Ole Slew Foot” and “Home Grown Tomatoes”. I learned a lot of great life lessons through those songs, like the fact that: But, he also taught us gospel songs, some obscure, like “Dropkick me Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life” and other, more well known songs.
On one of our trips through rural Oregon, in the middle of nowhere, several of us kids needed to make a pitstop. And there, like a desert oasis was a small shack, boasting a neon lighted “Open” sign. When we walked through the door, we realized this building served as the post office by day, and the local Tavern by night. We were there at night. This place was full of haggard, mangy bearded men, who wore bandanas atop their heads, and beat up leather vests. The ladies looked just as weathered – but without the beards.
They graciously let us use the facilities. And because we wouldn’t be purchasing anything from behind the bar…in a Partridge Family style moment, we thought the best payment to give them would be a song. So, my sisters, dad and I lined up in front of the bar, looked out at this tough crowd, and belted out Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot. As we finished our little rendition, that group rose to their boot-clad feet in one of the sweetest standing ovations I have ever witnessed. They clapped, they wiped tears from their eyes, and they hugged us as we left to get on with our trip.
I will never forget the sweet feeling of peace I had as I walked away that night. I left knowing that my Heavenly Father loves those bikers just as much as He loves me. I left knowing that I had listened to the whisperings of the Spirit, and in my teensy-tinsy little way, was able to share the Lord's light with a few of His precious children. And I left knowing that they had felt it, just as much as I did.
Thanks to a Dad who didn't just brush aside a little girl's whim to sing to a bar full of strangers, that was the most memorable car trip pit-stop I have ever made! Bless you, small town Oregon. Bless you.


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