Last night Julian Atticus Cartwright, our great-grandson, came for a short visit with us old folks. We enjoyed him so much. I think the highlight of my joy was when he peed in his diaper and all I had to do was hand him to his Mother. But, I thought, she isn't big enough to have to be taking care of a kid. She's our grand-daughter - after all! I could hardly believe the speed and efficiency of this grand-daughter. She's just a child herself at only 24 years old. Oh My!
Then I remembered that at 18 years of age I was carrying a .45 Colt hand-gun and an M1 Garand rifle, protecting the people of the United States. It's too scary to remember - but I was actually marching up and down the docks of New Orleans in one of the most dangerous areas of the city (Canal Street, near the French Quarter); sometimes from 4:00p til midnight; sometimes from midnight to 8:00a in the mornings when I was younger than this grand-daughter. Was I afraid? Not most of the time. After all, I was fully armed ... and had been trained for three months (13 weeks) at Cape May, NJ, how to tie 18 different knots - how to swim with a ten pound weight in one hand - how to climb a rope 20 feet in the air - and yes, how to shoot. But looking back - I shudder!
I did have a few dangerous events happen. One of which was the time I had to disembark from a "rust-bucket" and the Captain refused to give me a Jacob's ladder. The ship had emptied it's load and was now sitting high in the water. The 40 foot Coast Guard patrol boat pulled up under the gang-plank (which was already hoisted and ready to sail). I crawled down under the gang-plank to drop onto the bow of the boat...but just as I loosed my feet and was hanging with my hands under the gang-plank, the boatswain lost his position because the ship was moving. He yelled, "Hang On Brannen!" I yelled back, "What do you think I'm doing?" When he did pull alongside again, I dropped onto the boat, knocking the boatswain's mate against the machine gun mount and nearly killing us both. We were both as pale as a sheet, but laughing. I laugh now. But I was scared silly at the time.
This gives me pause to wonder. Will my great grandson grow up into a man who is ready to fight for his country? What perils lie ahead of him? And my great-grand-daughter? (I should say great-grandsons and great-grand-daughters.) What can I do for them to prepare them for the future? I know of nothing better than to pray for them and to teach them the principles I found in the Bible (especially the King James Version) for as long as I am able! Go ahead. (Snicker. Snicker.) I laughed too at my KJV statement - but that's what I grew up on and that's just what came out.
Now don't get me wrong. I know that the KJV was not the Bible used by Paul and Silas. And I know it's not the only one around - and I know there are passages in it that are hard to understand. However, as Samuel Clemens a.k.a. "Mark Twain" said, "It's not those passages that I don't understand (in the KJV) which trouble me. It's those passage that I do understand that trouble me." I've used and still use many other versions. In fact I have the Bible in Kiswahili. I have the Bible in Spanish. I can read a little from them. They are not KJV's. They are inspired. They give God's words to frail human beings. Not everyone could read the KJV because they do not understand English. It's funny - we know these things - still I recently saw a billboard near here where a new church was being organized which read: "If it ain't King James - 1611 - It ain't Bible". So - children and grand-children and great-grand-children, here is some advice from your Pop-paw: Read and study the Bible. Read whatever version you wish. When and if there is a passage in one of your translations that does not agree with the KJV, then go back and seek once again to understand it. God's word is right. He will not contradict himself. He loves you. He loves all men and women of every tribe and nation and desires for them to repent, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.
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- Fred Alton
- Cleveland, TN, United States
- I am Fred Alton Brannen, the son of Louis A. Brannen (deceased) and Bonnie Jones Brannen, Louis was an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God. Bonnie is an Ordained Licensed Minister and at 89 years of age is still actively engaged in speaking and singing engagements. I am married to the former Frances Hildreth. We celebrated 53 years of marriage this past June and we are the parents of 3, grand-parents of 10, and great-grandparents of 10. I pastored in Tennessee for 24 years and served the Church in some capacity in missions for over 23 years. I retired from full-time ministry in August of 2008 but remain active, speaking and singing and teaching whenever opportunity affords itself. In January of 2010 I received a letter of commendation for having been credentialed as a minister in the Church of God for 50 years! My family is very important to me. Our get togethers are always noisy affairs and most times will include family sing-alongs. The children love their Mom's cooking so we have the privilege of seeing them regularly! WE LOVE having them over.