The Tuggles

Episode 14: The Power

December 2, 2017
quitting

As the horsemen caravan entered the quaint, tiny town at the border of Missouri, a rumble sounded from Tim’s stomach. Lifting his wrist, his watch read 4:12. The horses trotted past the faded wooded sign beneath a cluster of trees to the left.

“Welcome to Seneca.”

This place seemed as good as any to wind down for the night. There were only a few scattered shops along the street and up ahead they could see where the town ended in less than a half mile. They approached an old railroad track that appeared to run straight through the middle of the town, the pavement elevating at a slight incline at the junction. Standing at the bottom of the incline near the asphalt were five teenage boys, puffs of smoke rising from each one.

The horses neared the tracks and the conversation hushed, faces bewildered at the peculiar sight.

“Hi, boys,” Tim started. “Do you know of a place where we could put these horses for the night and get a campfire going?” he asked them.

There was a long pause, interrupted by Cher’s snorting.

“Yeah,” the tallest one finally answered. “Down by the river. We hang out there a lot.”

“What are you guys doing?” another asked curiously, scanning the troop from front to back.

“We are traveling across America on horseback, asking people like you to pray for our country and our military and our government,” Tim rattled off.

In sync, each boy attempted to slyly drop his cigarette behind his back and smash it out nonchalantly.

“Cool!” the tall one blurted, his enthusiasm shrouding his overacting nerves. “We’ll take you to the river. Come on!”

The group led them a few dozen yards to a side road, grinning and muttering to one another. As they neared the turn, Tim glanced up at the house across the street they had passed moments earlier. A large, burly man in a tattered, gray t-shirt stood on his porch, leaning against a wooden beam with a beer in hand, watching Tim closely. A cigarette dangled out of his mouth. Tim tipped his hat to the man who then turned quickly and re-entered his house, screen door banging loudly in his wake.

The team of horses completed the turn and trotted their way about a mile down the road, led by an excited group of boys, calling and texting their friends to come out and meet the visiting horse people. The river came into view on the righthand side of the road and Tim noticed a farmer on the left side mowing his hayfield of alfalfa, one of the highest quality hays. The farmer neared completion of his final turn when the group came into view. His tractor came to a sudden halt.

“Oh boy,” Tim said to Lynn. “He’s going to be baling his hay here in a few days and I’m pretty sure he’s not going to want us out here roaming around in his hayfield.” He dismounted and handed the reins to Lynn. “I’m going to talk to him.”

The caravan lingered by the edge of the river as Tim strolled out to meet the man. Seeing Tim approaching, he shut off his tractor and waited patiently. After explaining their purpose for stopping in and the need for a place to camp, the farmer smiled warmly.

“You turn those horses loose and let them eat all they want. I’ll come the day after tomorrow and rake it up because we don’t have any rain coming so don’t worry about it.”

Tim shook his hand and thanked him profusely for his unhesitant generosity. Within a few hours the group grown by about thirty kids, taking turns on horse rides and listening to this couple talk about their adventures with the Lord crossing the country on horseback.

As the evening light began to fade, Tim saw the silhouette of a large, burly man and a young boy coming at him from across the field, marching hard and fast. His pulse quickened as they drew closer and closer, unsure of the intensity of this approach.

“I need to know who you are,” the man said urgently, arriving in front of Tim in a staunchly planted pose. Splotches of sweat appeared on his tattered, gray t-shirt. “What are you doing?”

The boy with him, nearly 11 years old, wrung his hand in nervousness.

A hush came over the group and nearly all eyes turned to witness the exchange. Lynn took a step towards the two of them, waiting for her husband’s response to this urgent curiosity.

Tim explained their mission and trek across the country in paragraph form, adding a few extra details for the sake of the situation’s peculiarity.

As Tim fell silent, the breeze blew softly through and nearby river waters grew louder.

Suddenly, this man, over 400 pounds and over six feet tall, began to cry.

“I have been an alcoholic for many years,” his voice broke quietly through tears. “When I saw you and your horses from my porch,” he paused, controlling a sob. “…something happened inside of me.” The man swallowed. “I walked inside my house, went straight to my kitchen sink, and poured my beer down the drain.”

“I told him not to, mister,” the boy interjected, beginning to cry. “He’ll just have to go buy more.”

The man fell to his knees, clinging to the boy. “None ever again, son.” They embraced and sobbed in each other’s arms. “I will never have to do it again.”

The onlookers gawked at them, dumbfounded. The man released his son and turned towards Tim, still on his knees. “I need you to tell me why I did that,” he pleaded.

Tim blinked tears down his cheeks as he gazed into the broken desperation of a man set free and begging to know how. Lynn put her hand on her husband’s arm, looking down at the ground.

The imploration hung in the balance, calling the Tuggles to the witness stand. Tim stood paralyzed, staring straight into an empty cell and the freed prisoner’s disoriented plea for truth. Lynn’s hand slid down his arm, fingers interlocking. He dipped his head toward the ground, wondering if he might be able to see any of his own shackles still tightly interlocked.

“It wasn’t me,” Tim said plainly, almost whispering. He lifted his head and fixed his gaze upon the man. “But I do know Who it was.”

Tim got on his knees with the man and described for him a Man named Jesus who had come to set them free. He described the power of God’s Spirit that fell on him when they merely walked past his home.

“Would you like to give your life to Christ?” Tim asked, placing his hands on the man’s shoulders.

“It sounds like I already did,” the man replied, bursting with emotion. “Jesus just saved me!”

 

 

 

 

 

READ MORE:

Previous–Episode 13: The Darkness
Beginning–Episode 1: The Funeral

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