Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Ragman


by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for.
Hush, child. Hush, now, and I will tell it to you.
Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man, handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an old cart filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in a clear, tenor voice: "Rags!" Ah, the air was foul and the first light filthy to be crossed by such sweet music.
"Rags! New rags for old! I take your tired rags! Rags!"
"Now, this is a wonder," I thought to myself, for the man stood six-feet-four, and his arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and his eyes flashed intelligence. Could he find no better job than this, to be a ragman in the inner city?
I followed him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn't disappointed.
Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her knees and elbows made a sad X. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was breaking.
The Ragman stopped his cart. Quietly, he walked to the woman, stepping round tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers.
"Give me your rag," he said so gently, "and I'll give you another."
He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and he laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She blinked from the gift to the giver.
Then, as he began to pull his cart again, the Ragman did a strange thing: he put her stained handkerchief to his own face; and then HE began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, his shoulders shaking. Yet she was left without a tear.
"This IS a wonder," I breathed to myself, and I followed the sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.
"Rags! Rags! New rags for old!"
In a little while, when the sky showed grey behind the rooftops and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows, the Ragman came upon a girl whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down her cheek.
Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and he drew a lovely yellow bonnet from his cart.
"Give me your rag," he said, tracing his own line on her cheek, "and I'll give you mine."
The child could only gaze at him while he loosened the bandage, removed it, and tied it to his own head. The bonnet he set on hers. And I gasped at what I saw: for with the bandage went the wound! Against his brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood - his own!
"Rags! Rags! I take old rags!" cried the sobbing, bleeding, strong, intelligent Ragman.
The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes; the Ragman seemed more and more to hurry.
"Are you going to work?" he asked a man who leaned against a telephone pole. The man shook his head.
The Ragman pressed him: "Do you have a job?"
"Are you crazy?" sneered the other. He pulled away from the pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket - flat, the cuff stuffed into the pocket. He had no arm.
"So," said the Ragman. "Give me your jacket, and I'll give you mine."
Such quiet authority in his voice!
The one-armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman - and I trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman's arm stayed in its sleeve, and when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs; but the Ragman had only one.
"Go to work," he said.
After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army blanket, and old man, hunched, wizened, and sick. He took that blanket and wrapped it round himself, but for the drunk he left new clothes.
And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though he was weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling his cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again, exhausted, old, old, and sick, yet he went with terrible speed. On spider's legs he skittered through the alleys of the City, this mile and the next, until he came to its limits, and then he rushed beyond.
I wept to see the change in this man. I hurt to see his sorrow. And yet I needed to see where he was going in such haste, perhaps to know what drove him so.
The little old Ragman - he came to a landfill. He came to the garbage pits. And then I wanted to help him in what he did, but I hung back, hiding. He climbed a hill. With tormented labor he cleared a little space on that hill. Then he sighed. He lay down. He pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones with an army blanket. And he died.
Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car and wailed and mourned as one who has no hope - because I had come to love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man, and I cherished him; but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep.
I did not know - how could I know? - that I slept through Friday night and Saturday and its night, too.
But then, on Sunday morning, I was wakened by a violence.
Light - pure, hard, demanding light - slammed against my sour face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully, a scar on his forehead, but alive! And, besides that, healthy! There was no sign of sorrow nor of age, and all the rags that he had gathered shined for cleanliness.
Well, then I lowered my head and trembling for all that I had seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a sorry figure next to him. Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with dear yearning in my voice: "Dress me."
He dressed me. My Lord, he put new rags on me, and I am a wonder beside him. The Ragman, the Ragman, the Christ!
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
II Corinthians 5:17
Post edited: I first heard this story while listening to Christian Radio's Alistair Begg at http://www.truthforlife.org/

Monday, March 29, 2010

Resurrection Eggs

Remember these ?
"I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."
John 11:25

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Beatitudes

Sixth in the series

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Walk with Gentleman Farmer

Late Sunday afternoon, he asked if I would like to go on a little walk
with him. Behind our home is a woodland that we fondly call
The Hundred Acre Wood. It is at least 100 acres,
and I am sure much more.
Gentleman Farmer grew up on
our piece of land, and explored these woods as a child.
He explores them still. He hunts there,
dreams there ~ he brought me there for a picnic
on one of our very first dates. He loves these woods and
all the creatures it shelters within.
This day he wanted to see if he might
find some winter shed deer antlers. This is
the month that the bucks drop the old ones so
the new growth may start.
I gladly went along ~ I love these woods, too!


About a half a mile on the old overgrown road
we come to *the old orchard* (the site of our afore mentioned
picnic). The weather today is typical for March ~ stormy one moment
sunny the next. Looking out over the orchard and the rocky beach
toward our little town across the water. The sky is cloudy,
raindrops fall and whitecaps are whipped up by the wind.



The local oyster workers are tending the clam beds
while the tide is out.

Another quarter of a mile or so, Gentleman Farmer finds the
deer trail that he wants to check out for the winter sheds.


Evidence of last fall's big buck activity!
This is a tree showing *buck rub*. The male
deer like to polish up their antlers ~ for fighting,
attracting females, or just to get rid of their aggressions!
The bigger the tree ~ the bigger the deer!
This was a BIG BUCK!

While GF went further up the brushy trail,
I remained behind and enjoyed the (momentary)
sunshine. Here is an Oregon Grape in flower.


Ahh ~ no wonder the hummingbirds were buzzing around ~
here is one of their favorite early blooming nectar plants ~
the Red Currant.


Do you know what this plant is?
This is a common foxglove.
Doesn't the name just conjure up delightful
images of dainty little foxes donning their
velvety little mitts!

Oh, and here are some wild forget-me-nots!
They just carpet some areas of this wood in the Springtime!
No flowers yet, but soon!

If you look carefully, you can spot all sorts of flora and fauna
in these woods. Watch where you step ~ there is a tiny
creature of the forest floor ~ a snail. Oops! It's empty!
Looks like someone had an Escargot appetizer!


The sun was starting to fade behind the western hillside,
and the wind was beginning to rise again, so we start back
toward home ~ no antlers to be found this time.
We did spot some coyote tracks along the trail.


We are not the only travelers of the road!
It is getting on toward evening ~ deer are most often seen at this time.


Gentleman Farmer and I were chatting as we walked along,
and we spotted this young deer just over the side of the road ~
so engrossed in some tasty morsel that is didn't hear us
even as we whistled, called and finally shouted!


Our next walk to hunt for antlers is already planned out.
He knows just where he wants to look the next time!


Joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer
for Outdoor Wednesday!

"Blessed is the man the walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night."

Psalm 1:1&2

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Beatitudes

Fifth in a series

Friday, March 19, 2010


Fess Elisha Parker, Jr.
August 16, 1924 - March 18, 2010
(Actor best known as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone)
"Remember that my life is but breath"
Job 7:7

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Beatitudes

Fourth in a Series

Matthew 5:6

Thursday, March 11, 2010

At Last!

Finally finished with some WAY OVERDUE
Christmas presents! Can you believe that!
I had made one lonely little pink bunny for
Raegan, but the others were set aside ~
the directions were not easy to follow and
they were difficult to sew being so small.
Hurray! They are all done now!

Goodies ready to go into the box to mail!
Better late than never!

Little Mouse Family for Morgan!

The Mama and Baby Bunny for Raegan.
I was told that families need two babies
but this Granny is only making one!
Sorry sweet girl ~ this bunny family's
last name is not Duggar!
A Mending Kit for Mama B.

Gentleman Farmer had promised some 'antler buttons'
to his eldest DD and they are finally finished, too!
Be looking to see what she has planned for these
interesting little items!

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
II Timothy 4:7&8

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Beatitudes

Third in a series.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Something new...

"....and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons."
Genesis 3:7

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I am the happy recipient of three giveaways over the past several weeks.
Actually, I only won one of the giveaways ~ the other two were just
blessings from these generous ladies!
Camille, a dedicated homeschooling mama, gifted me
and several other ladies with a subscription
to 'Answers' magazine for 1 year! Can you believe that?
My 5 year old grand~daughter saw it on my coffee table
and was fascinated by the cover.
"Grandma! Look at that dinosaur's bones and big teeth!"
I guess I know who will get the magazine when I am through reading it!
Thank you, Camille! I love good magazines!
I only recently came across Sharyn Sowell's blog. She is a fellow
Washingtonian and has been featured in Victoria Magazine
for her delightful hand cut paper designs. She also designs fabric and
these letterpress print cards which are printed on her antique press
which she has named 'Alice'.
You must go visit her and read her story about how she started with paper cutting.
And soon she will tell us all about Alice!
Thank you, Sharyn! I am going to frame several
of these little works of art!

Sandi at Wayside Treasures sent me the most joyous
Valentine package full of sweet things to



Sandi is a sweetheart who enjoys so many of the same things I do ~
antiques, crafting, and grand babies!
She made this gorgeous heart and the delicious roses adorning it!
Please go visit her and check out all the lovely things she creates!
(If you all are wondering where the chocolate went ~ Gentleman Farmer
and I shared them after dinner one night! ;~P)
Thank you Camille, Sharyn and Sandi!
I love each and every gift!
"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
James 1:17