In addition to all the people who normally attend the Saturday night get-togethers at the Barnwell’s farm, there were quite a few visitors there last week. The Jackson family was there as guests of the Angus McKenzie family. Their daughter Penny asked Freddie Barnwell if he would tell a story. Penny said how much she enjoyed his stories the last time the Jacksons were there. Farmer Barnwell didn’t need much coaxing; he is always more than willing to tell us a story, almost as eager as everyone is for him to tell a story. Emma Downs was in her normal jovial mood as she suggested he tell us the story about the outhouse.
Farmer Barnwell said it was the night they had the big Fall Harvest dance at the community center when he was a teenager. The harvest moon lit up the sky that Saturday night, except for an occasional cloud passing over. What a beautiful crisp fall evening it was!
On their way home, Freddie Barnwell and his buddy, Doug Auspelmyer, decided to pull a prank on their schoolmaster. They snuck out beyond his house, and quietly made their way out to his outhouse on the brow of the hill, taking advantage of one of those occasional clouds passing by overhead, so as not to be seen. Freddie and Doug gave the outhouse a big shove; the outhouse went rolling down the hill, Freddie and Doug ran as fast as they could and didn’t stop running until they got home.
The following Monday their schoolmaster took the boys aside and asked if they knew who pushed his outhouse down the hill. The boys were quite vocal in announcing their lack of knowledge in this area. They assured the schoolmaster they knew nothing about the outhouse being pushed down the hill.
Their schoolmaster told them the story about George Washington and the cherry tree. He told them when George Washington’s father asked him if he knew who chopped down the cherry tree, George replied, Sir, I cannot tell a lie, it was I. I chopped down the cherry tree.
The boys asked “what did George Washington’s father do to his son?” The schoolmaster told the boys George Washington’s father told his son how proud he was of him for his honesty and didn’t punish him at all because of his honesty.
The schoolmaster, still upset about his outhouse having been pushed down the hill Saturday night, told the boys he was going to give them one more chance to tell the truth. Sheepishly the boys (looking down at the floor) said “yes, sir, we know who did it, it was us.”
Their schoolmaster grabbed both boys by their collars, took them out behind the schoolhouse woodshed, picked up a paddle and gave both boys a good ole fashioned spanking on their seats of understanding.
Freddie Barnwell and his friend, Doug, could hardly talk they were crying so hard. After a few minutes they were able to get out the words – “you told us when George Washington’s father asked him if he chopped down the cherry tree and George confessed, his father didn’t whip him because of his honesty.”
Their schoolmaster, still upset about his outhouse having been pushed down the hill Saturday night, responded to the boys with these words “George Washington’s father wasn’t IN the cherry tree!”
Everyone had a good laugh and then Freddie Barnwell asked if that isn’t exactly the way we are. Just like the schoolmaster, how forgiving we are towards others, is usually in direct relationship to how much we feel we were offended.
However, Jesus said “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one other, just as God in Jesus Christ also forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32-33.
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