My dad Hal is sharing one of my favorite stories from his childhood that I heard over and over as I grew up. I remember him telling it many times as a sermon illustration. Thanks so much Dad for writing this story! Enjoy:
Our family lived on a ranch in western Oklahoma. I was number nine of twelve children. We did not go to church, nor did we read or study the Bible in our home. I remember the first time in my life that I really believed in God. I was six years old that summer, and had just graduated from the first grade.
One afternoon my dad, my brothers and I, and several hired hands were working on the southern part of our ranch. I heard Dad tell one of the hired hands to take the truck and go buy something we needed in town, which was five miles away. I rushed to ask that worker as he got into the truck if he would buy me a plug of Old Mule chewing tobacco. He asked me if I had a nickel, and I assured him I did, so he agreed. In about an hour and a half I saw him arriving back and went rushing to the truck to get my chewing tobacco. He pulled it out of his shirt pocket and held it up for me to look at as he asked, “Where is the nickel?” I quickly took it out of my pocket and handed it to him. He grabbed it, and I thought he was going to hand me my plug of chewing tobacco.
But he said, “Wait a minute. Does your dad know that you chew?”
I looked at him carefully and answered, “No, he doesn’t.”
He said, “That’s what I thought.” He took out his pocket knife and cut my plug of chewing tobacco half in two. He stuck one half in his mouth! He handed me the half plug that was left. Then he just stared at me. I knew what I had to do. One plug ordinarily lasted me a month, but I knew he was waiting for me to put it in my mouth, so I did it. It tasted good! But I soon had to spit.