Wednesday, September 29, 2010
On birth, life, hair-snakes and death
Two nights ago our son David couldn’t sleep, thinking about “Uncle Roscoe.” He got and wrote down his thoughts. They included this story of one of Roscoe’s many jokes:
On holidays when the extended Friends missionary family would get together we kids loved gathering around Roscoe to hear his stories and jokes. On one holiday, the adults were scattered around the room in groups talking about their important stuff. We kids were with Roscoe. He had been talking with us for a while when he told us that he could make a human hair turn into a snake by magic.
We said, “Nah, you’re lying, that’s impossible.”
We said, “Oh, please show us!”
Roscoe said “Are you sure you want me to try?”
“OK, but we’ve got to be careful. I’ll need a hair and a glass of water.” Some of us offered our hairs, but he refused most of them. They were either too short, or had some other sort of problem. As best I can recall he chose one of Sara Stansell’s hairs because it was long enough and he felt it would make a good snake.
He poured the water in a nice thick puddle on a table. “Now look very carefully, but be patient. It takes a minute or two to start growing into a snake.” Then he carefully took the hair and laid it on the water. “I think I saw it move a little.”
We said, “Nah, you’re just joking, it’s still just a hair.”
Roscoe said, “You’re too far away to see. Get closer, so you can see him grow. There, see his tail moving?”
We all leaned in closer. And you know, it did seem to be moving a little. And it was true that Roscoe knew his snakes. We studied that hair closely.
Suddenly Roscoe yelled, “Watch out!” and slapped the table real hard!
We all came up stunned, sputtering and dripping wet. “Why did you do that!!?”
Roscoe, just as surprised as all the rest of us said, “Well, I had to kill it before it got too big and dangerous.”
Typical Roscoe Knight. I remember that joke, too, as well as my own wet face. And I remember all the attention Roscoe paid to the kids, letting them know they were valuable people in their own right.
David ended his reflections with these words: “I want to run my race like Roscoe ran his, with a deep faith in Christ, with a joy and zest for life, with a gift to make others feel valuable, and with a passion to see the Good News of Jesus free people still trapped in darkness.”
Well said, David. Well done, Roscoe. I celebrate your life today, even as I celebrate my own. As I imagine sharing my birthday with the archangels, I realize there’s now one more person at the party. I’m thankful for you and your life.