The Carpenter - Johnny lee Hall

Luke was real tired of the big city life and all of the hassle that goes along with it. His dad had just retired as a union carpenter. The family had been saving back money to move into the country. The problem was finding a place. It seems not too many people move from the country to the city these days. Everyone wants to move to the country from the big cities. 

Luke had been praying for a place real hard since his dad retired a couple weeks ago. Twice in the last week, and in less than a block from his house. Luke was beat up and robbed. Once when his dad sent him to the Newspaper stand on the corner to get the Sunday paper. Luke sat on the ground after the three other boys took the fifty cents for the paper and left. He was holding his nose, to get it to stop bleeding. He looked up and said, God you see why I want you to help us find a place in the country.

Luke’s Aunt still lived out in the country in another state. He told his dad lets try there. It was a long drive, so his dad called. He asked her to check around and let him know. She called back later on that night and said, There is a place that maybe for rent on a old 80 acre farm . It’s been empty for years. Thats all I could find, and I don’t know if I can track down the owner or not.

She called again and said, She found the owner and if they wanted to move in and fix it up to live in, they could live there rent free. The Aunt had told the owner Luke’s dad was a carpenter. She also told Luke’s dad it’s in bad shape, you better come look at it first. He said, It doesn’t matter, just tell me how to get there. She gave him the directions and he wrote them down. Luke went to bed and gave thanks in prayer for the house in the country. He fell asleep thinking of how nice it must be.

The next day they rented a U-haul truck and started loading stuff up. Luke worked harder than anyone else packing boxes out to the truck. Sometimes he would have to wait for his mom to finish filling up a box. They got a lot of stuff in that truck, but would still have to make another trip.

It was almost 400 miles to where they were going. Luke said, The farther away the better I like it, lets go. His dad said, We will wait until in the morning, it’s almost dark. Luke explained that the round things on the front of the truck was headlights, used for driving at night. But it didn’t change anything, he still had to wait until in the morning.

Early the next morning they started on the 400 mile trip. It was 6 Am. Luke stared waking his mom and dad up at 4:30 Am saying it’s morning lets go. Luke only gets up that early once a year, thats on Christmas to open the presents. This was January he was 11 months early.

It took eight hours to get there in the truck. Luke encouraged his dad to drive faster and if they got a ticket he could us the money form his allowance to pay for it. His dad stayed the speed limit. It was 55 mph most of the way. Around 2 P.M. they found the house.

Aunt May was right, We should have checked it out first. Luke’s dad said, It would take a month to make it good enough to live in. Luke didn’t care, there was hills, trees, a stream, an old barn and not a house with in a mile of theirs. It was the best place on earth.

It was warm for January, about 60 degrees. They got done unloading and Luke’s dad said, Well if we go a head and leave we can get back, load up some of the stuff tonight. The rest we can load in the morning and come back. This time we will rent a tow-bar and bring the car.

Luke said, I’ll see you when you get back, I’m staying right here. Luke’s mom said, No your not young man. His dad however said He’s fourteen and I understand him not wanting to go back. He’ll be all right, its just over night, we will be back in 24 hours at the most.

Luke waved bye at them as they left. His mom unpacked all the boxes of food and all of the camping equipment. She even had his dad put up the tent in the living room before she would leave. Luke said, What ever it takes mom for you to be happy and so I get to stay.

He turned on the battery powered T.V. as soon as his parents left. It didn’t pick up nothing except the sound of one channel. No picture at all, just the sound. She told him to stay out of the old barn it might fall down, just stay in the house until we get back she said. I don’t want you eaten by a bear.

He translated what she said to mean; If a bear comes run in the house, not the barn. He looked out the door and said, Nope, No bears around. Across the yard and over the hill he went to check out the stream. It was about 20 feet across at its widest spot and so clear he could see the bottom, most places.

He could see the house from where he was at the stream. He said, If I go up stream and come back down here there is no way to get lost. He started walking up stream to see what he could see. A little way up and still on the farm, he found an old saw mill. What once was a saw mill a long time ago. He looked it all over real good and decided he better go back before it got dark.

He found his way back down stream to where he could see the house. Luke said, See, piece of cake. The wind was starting to blow and it was getting colder. When he got to the house it started to rain. The weather was on the T.V., that was only a radio here. It said Freezing rain, falling temperature and a chance of snow after midnight. Luke looked around at the broken window’s the door with no locks, now water, no electric and no heat, All he had was a propane lantern and a flashlight. Luke was getting worried.

He watched outside as it got darker and darker. It was still raining. He lit the lantern and put it on the wood floor in front of the tent in the living room. He was using it to warm his hands by like a camp fire. It was about midnight, the rain changed to sleet. Luke decided this would be a very good time to say an extra prayer.

He asked that Jesus take care of his mom and dad and keep them safe on the trip and that he look after him too. The sleet turned to snow. Luke dug out some blankets and found the outside thermometer and hung it on a nail on the wall. He found the plaque of “The Footprints In The Sand” that his mom had and hung it up too. He thought every little bit helps.

He found the family Bible and was reading it when a knock came at the door. He started to just be quiet and see if they would go away because he was alone. But he thought about how cold it was outside. He got up and opened the door. The man standing didn’t look harmful, he had a gentle face.

Luke said come in out of the cold and into the cold. I haven’t got any heat for you to get warm by. He said I’m not cold but it looks like you are. Why don’t you fix those windows? Luke said, My dad is the carpenter in the family not me. The man said, I used to be a carpenter, I can show you how.

Luke started looking through the boxes for some of his dad’s tools. He said, We can’t use the power tools, no electric you know. We have to use the hand saw and hammer, you know the old fashion tools. The man said, Those are the best.

Luke said, I got everything but boards to nail up, where are we going to find any boards. The man said, Up stairs in the attic would be a good place to look. They went up into the attic and there were all kinds of things up there. Luke said, It looks like someone was getting ready to remodel the place and moved off and left all this stuff up here.

There was cut glass for the windows even a wood heating stove made out of a 55 gal drum and stove pipes too. They carried the stove and pipes down first. The man showed Luke how to set it up. Luke said, It’s snowing we can’t cut any wood where are we going to get fire wood at. The man said, Did you bring your sleigh? Luke said, Yes but what good is that? The man said, I saw a lot of firewood stacked in the barn.

The two took the sled and went to the barn, there was a lot of stacked fire wood in the barn. They loaded up the sled and went back to the house. It didn’t take long to get a fire going and to warm up all around. They replaced the glass in the all the broken windows it didn’t take long. Luke was getting tired and sleepy. The man said, Rest, get a good night sleep. Luke said, What are you going to do? The man said I’m enjoying myself, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked as a carpenter.

Luke went to sleep and when he woke up the next morning the man was still working. The place looked like a whole construction crew had worked all week on it. Luke said, Wow, you do great work, this place looks like a mansion compared to the way it looked last night.

The man said, I have your breakfast on the stove. Luke looked and on the stove was one of his mom’s pans with the biggest pan cake in it. The pan cake took up a whole plate. While Luke ate breakfast, the man put the finishing touches on the house. The inside was done, the outside needed some paint, but it was ready to be lived in.

The sun was warming up outside. The man said, The snow will be gone in a short time, if your going to build a snow man you better hurry. Luke said, I would have been a snow man if you hadn’t came along. The man said, You have faith, leave the rest to prayer.

Luke went outside and started making a snowman when the U-haul came up the road. His mom jumped out of the truck and said, I prayed all night and your father drove all night to make sure you was all right. Luke said, Mom wait till you see the inside of the house, boy will you be surprised. He worked all night to fix it up. Luke’s dad said, Who is he? Luke said, The man inside. They went inside, no one was there, they were shocked at how it looked. Luke’s dad said, Who was this man son? Luke said, All I know is he use to be a carpenter.

Luke told them all that happened. His dad told him that he had went into the attic before he left and all that was there was a 55 gal drum, but it was not a stove. His tools were on the truck outside and not on the first load. His mother said, I looked in the barn and there was only some old hay yesterday, and your sled was broken, we got rid of it last winter don’t you remember?

Luke woke up and the first words he heard was his mother saying Thank You Jesus. Luke didn’t understand he was in a hospital room. His mother explained I’ve prayed all night for your fever to break, and for you to be O.K. Your appendix ruptured in your sleep. Your father drove all night to get back, he went to look at the house your aunt told us about. We couldn’t take a chance on the condition, it had to be good enough to live before we could move out of the one we live in now. I called your Aunt and she found your father and told him you were sick, he drove all night to get back.

Luke said, Tell me about the house. His dad said, Well, the inside is real nice, it has been remolded. The outside needs some paint is all. Luke said, Does it have a wood stove? His dad said, An old one made out of a 55 gallon drum, why? Luke said, That’s just how I saw it in my dream only Jesus was there too. Luke’s dad said, I’m sure he still is, it use to be a country church before it was remolded. Luke said, We asked him for a house in the country and he gave us one. Jesus said, I had faith, leave the rest to prayer. His dad said, That is the most important thing, to have faith.