Thursday, August 11, 2016


After dinner one Friday, Chip and I sat in the back yard enjoying cake and coffee. It was a nice cool summer evening, peaceful. But, our peace was short lived when we heard the voice of Chip’s friend Earl hollering from the front of the house.
Chip chose not to respond to the repeated calling of his name. I could imagine earl ringing the doorbell, knocking on the door and peeking in the window. It would be a matter of time when Earl would walk around the house to see if we were in the garden. Chip finished his desert and began sipping his coffee.
We could hear him before we could see him walking around the house to get to the back. Just as I said he looked around the garden before spotting us sitting under the tree.
“Chip! Chip!” Earl shouted, short of breath but still running to come to where we were sitting. “Chip!”
“Have a seat and catch your breath, man. We ain’t goin’ no where.” Chip said.
“Can I get you something Earl?” I asked.
“Naw, Nettie I am going to be just a few minutes, I just came to tell Chip about my new venture.” He responded.
“Well maybe I should leave.”
“Naw, it won’t take long.”
Chip turned to his friend and asked: “What is the new project?”
“Chip, I am going into the internet sales business.”
“I am going into the internet sales business.”
“What are you going to sale.”
“I am going to buy stuff at the thrift store and fix it up and sell it on the internet.”
“Earl, you think you are going to make money selling other people’s junk?”
“People do it all the time Chip. They call it refurbished items.”
“What have you ever refurbished?” Chip asked.
“Nothing, I will figure it out as I go. But I think this is a good way to earn a few extra dollars, do you want in?”
Chip’s ‘no’ was fast and definitive, as a long time friend Earl should know that the subject should be changed.  Like me if you pursue and closed conversation, Chip will say things that may hurt your feelings.
“Listen man, a few hundred dollars initial investment and we would be set! And they only reason it would be that much money is because we have to get tools. I thought of you first because you have a place big enough to store everything. You don’t even have to put in two hundred dollars, I am sure you have stuff around here that we can sell.
“I am going to get my granddaughter to set up one of those online stores- eatsee or edzee- whatever it is called. And I will even mail the stuff when the orders come in.
“I know you are not hurting for money but everyone can use some spare change.”
Chip stood up, adjusted his pants, and began his speech. It was to late for me to leave so I just sat and waited for the lecture I knew was coming.
“Earl, remember when you were going to take a class on computer repair and make money on the side fixing other peoples computers?” Earl took a deep breath to respond but Chip cut him off. “Nope, I am asking questions but I don’t want you to answer, I want you to think.
“Now, I told you to think about what you were going to do before you spent over five thousand dollars on a program you knew nothing about. But! You spent your money and after one class quit. Then, Earl, you decided you would grow a garden.
“I let you use a small patch of my land, because your wife wouldn’t let you do anything to her pristine yard. Your plan was to sell vegetables at the flea market. Remember that? You planted the seeds but never weeded the garden. Fortunately, Nettie told you what to plant which was what she was going to plant and she took over your garden. My wife paid somebody to sell the vegetables, the ones you were going to grow, at the flea market.
“What about the time you were going to tow cars? You spent a good chunk of money purchasing a tow truck, yes it was used, and then realized that you would have to tow cars at all times of the day just to make your money back. The good news was you gave the truck to one of your sons and he is making a good living towing cars.
“Then there was the time you wanted to raise chickens, and the time you wanted to sell soap, and the time…” Chip paused, adjusted his pants, looked at me and looked at Earl; he had proven his point. “My point is this Earl, you have lots of dreams. Your ideas are good but they are ideas for other people. You need to get your own dream and in order to get your dream you need to be still.
“God said in His word- I know the plans I have for you. God is not finished with you yet. Maybe instead of coming up with all of these dreams you need to get a vision. You know, where there is no vision the people perish. What to you see yourself doing Earl?”
Chip was finished, this last question was meant to be answered. Earl was quiet, Chip had sat down, I gathered the dishes and took them into the house. When I returned Earl was gone. Chip and I continued sitting as the sun disappeared and the moon appeared.

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

A FRONT PORCH STORY- according to the world of NETTIE. All rights reserved; do not use without the permission of Marsha L F Randolph