Saturday, November 1, 2008

Beginning of the End

Friday, October 31, 2008.

Mark began the job of removing the Arkansas Ledge Stone from the house. I took this picture when he removed the first piece.

We are salvaging the stone so each piece has to be removed and stacked on a pallet.

Later on I hope to incorporate this stone into other walls in other projects.

I did not intend this to happen so abruptly or even so quickly. I thought I had more time. But the driveway for the Chick-Fil-A comes so near the house on this side that it has forced my hand to early action.

I guess this is the beginning of the end for the old house. I am sadder at heart about it than I anticipated. Fortunately I did not stay there after I took this picture.

I remember so clearly when dad contracted with a family to do the stone work. Their name is Nail and members of the family still are in the home building and development business in this area. Back in 1963 they drove over into Arkansas and picked out the stone for our house and loaded it on trucks and drove them back over here. And then they carefully laid out the stone on the ground first. This is natural stone and the mason is as much or more artist than craftsman. When the design suits him he turns around and places the stone in the same pattern onto the wall.

On Thursday Dad's and Mom's pastor dropped by to visit a few minutes. He officiated at both ceremonies for us and we consider him a dear family friend.

He told about when he came to Oklahoma City and Dad and Mom were among the very first people he met. That was in the mid 1980's and we were having a recession in Oklahoma then. Penn Square Bank had failed and the oil boom had burst and housing market had collapsed. Jobs were scarce and those of us in various businesses were doing everything we could to survive. It was a really bad time here in Oklahoma.

The church that mom and dad attended had a lot of debt from a new building that was completed just before the downturn. At the time the church's income was about 1/3 short of its expenses and part of the problem was 13% interest rates.

Pastor Stan told about a meeting he had with my dad and other men from the congregation. During the course of the meeting he promised that he would keep the church out of debt once the current one was retired. The men felt so strongly about this that one of them wrote that promise on a napkin and made a place for each to sign it and passed it around. Then they prayed and asked the Lord for a solution.

The next day Pastor Stan received a phone call from a man who lived in the area. He did not know Pastor Stan but was good friends with a fellow from Nashville who was also good friends with Pastor Stan. A lunch was arranged and they would meet at a local car dealership not far from the church. The owner of the car dealership was there and accompanied the men to lunch.

He asked how things were going at the church. Pastor Stan told us that he did not really know why he answered that question as he did except that he has always been an optimist. Regardless he answered that things were going well if he could just do something about the bank.

The car dealer asked him which bank and Pastor Stan told him and the lunch ended and everyone went on about their business. Later Pastor Stan received a phone call from the President of the bank who asked him to come down for a meeting. Turned out that car dealer was the chairman of the board of that bank.

Anyway my dad and the other men at that first meeting and Pastor Stan came up with a plan to retire the church's debt and reduce the cost. The little group of men raised a total of $250,000 to pay on the note and then they led an effort in the congregation to put additional CD's on deposit with the same bank. In return the bank dropped the interest rate from 13% of 8% and arranged for better payment terms.

I don't know how much of that $250,000 my dad put up or any of the other men for that matter. But I do remember the time and I know for a fact that how ever much any of them put up it was a real sacrifice and more like a leap of faith than a stretch. Because things were bad for all of them and especially us at the time.

I had never heard parts of that story before. I knew some of it but not all of it. It is exactly the kind of thing my dad would have done as well as the other men on that committee.

I believe what happened there was a direct answer by God of that prayer those men all prayed that day when they all signed that napkin.

It was good for me to hear that story. I needed to hear it. The Lord knew I needed to hear it and sent a messenger at just the right time. That helps me move forward and gives me the strength to tear down the house and do all these other things that have to be done now.

God is Good.


Cinnamin said...

God IS Good!

Oh, Flinty, this post made my heart break. I can't imagine what you must be feeling, taking the house down stone by stone. I too hope that you will (and I'm sure that you will) find a new use for these stones!

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing this modern reminder that God does indeed provide.

Thinking of you.

¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

(((hugs))) to you my friend. I understand and I am sorry.

Do you have any idea what you might do with the stones? Maybe you could take some of them and make a pond/fountain at your new home. Build a place to sit and relax and maybe work on your memoirs?

Hang in there Flinty. Thinking about you.

nancy said...

what a wonderful story and even more special to hear parts of it you hadn't heard before at a time when you needed to hear it. God is good!

i agree with chris, saving some of the stones to incorporate into your new home sounds like a wonderful idea.

Lori1955 said...

Oh that story just gave me goosebumps. I guess it just proves that all things work out in His time.

I can't wait to hear what you do with the stones from the house. I know it must be painful to watch a part of your life being torn down. It seems that we all reach a point in our live where we are forced to go forward because we can't go back ever again.

Joanne said...

Beautiful story, Flinty! I'm sure those stones are planned for something. Steps from the past to the future. I'll look forward to hear on what path you place them.

~Betsy said...

That's a wonderful story, Terry. It gives me hope for the future as well. I can't wait to see where those stones turn up.

My prayers for you, friend.