From Jeremy: I want you to meet Ernie Battershell. His story was submitted by his nephew Cole Bradburn. I love how Cole told his uncle’s story through a different format. Living better stories often means not living by the rules. It means avoiding normal and doing something better.
I hope Cole’s poem about his uncle reminds you of someone that has made a difference in your own life. Perhaps someone that you have lost. A figure that is always there. Strong. Certain. Faithful. Committed.
My Uncle Ernie was that rare man who spent a lifetime in hard, manual work and finished strong. I would spend much of my summers at his house when I was young, learning to ride a horse, how to play checkers, and how to overcome challenges.
He was a self-sufficient farmer whose life taught me patience, devotion, discipline, kindness, and rest. I do not recall talking about these things, but observing them by his actions. I never heard him speak in anger, in fact he had few words, but those he chose to speak carried great weight and wisdom. I wouldn’t come to understand that wisdom until years after his passing.
He saw a great deal in his lifetime. The Great Depression, World War II, many droughts. But he never seemed to falter in his faith or even perceive himself a victim.
All I knew as I child was that I enjoyed his presence. I looked up to him, physically and metaphorically.
I still look up to him.
I see him.
Tall, old, and wrinkled.
The gentle gaze in his eyes
as he is staring off into oblivion
deeply engrossed in his thoughts,
wondering how he will conquer the day.
His callused, pruned hands
dangling by his sides,
weathered by a lifetime of tending his fields.
I hear him coming closer to me…
Coming ever closer.
His raspy voice cuts through the air
but hits my ears like a warm ocean breeze.
There is a slight whistle as he draws a breath.
Suddenly he is beside me,
I feel dwarfed by him.
His giantlike hand comes down softly on my shoulder.
He pats me on the back.
I look up and see the love in his eyes
and the warmth in his smile.
He is still smiling down on me.
Have you seen love in the eyes of someone you know? Have you experienced an unconditional love?
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