In “Meal Trains & Merchant Ships” I wrote about the memories I had of going to see my Knankey & Papaw on Coal Run Hill in Pikeville KY. Mama started a tradition when I was 5 years old of counting the bridges that we had to pass on the way there to help with my “are we there yet”’s. I would sit between Daddy and Mama so I could see better when we got within about 10 miles of Pikeville. As we got closer, one by one, I would count the 5 main bridges on my tiny fingers. The last two were swinging bridges that my Daddy would have to choose between to cross to get to Coal Run Hill, Pauly Bridge or Stone Coal Bridge. Sometimes the decision was made for us as one or the other would have fallen or be closed because of gaping holes. They were always tense moments as we crept across in our car with the windows down. I can still hear in my head the clack, clack, clack of the wood slats beneath our tires.
For a time while living there between my Daddy’s job assignments, I had to walk a mile and cross the swaying bridge on foot to catch the bus. Stone Coal bridge has since been replaced with a concrete structure but Pauly Bridge stands as a historical marker. Although you cannot drive across it anymore, you can walk across it as I did as a child and feel it “swing”.
On several occasions, my Knankey and Papaw would be stranded at home for several days when the Big Sandy river would flood and wash both bridges out. Coal Run Hill was just beyond PIkeville, a sleepy Mayberry-like town that was surrounded by the Big Sandy on three sides. After numerous times of the river swelling its banks and flooding the town the US Army Corp of Engineers began a massive project to cut through a mountain and reroute the river. The railroads were moved away from the town to alleviate coal dust and a new interstate was constructed through the cut-through as well. Almost 18 million cubic yards of soil and rock were moved. I have often wondered since then if perhaps some mountain man or woman had once prayed with a faith that moves mountains for that hill to be moved and God set His plan in motion.
Walking around Pikeville as a child with my grandparents they would point out the watermarks on the buildings showing that it had been as much as 15’ or more underwater at one time. It was hard to imagine that a place with that much devastation could be restored to look as if nothing had happened other than leaving its watermark. Some people could have walked away but rather chose to stay and rebuild again and again. Others may have left the damage behind to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Just as God has carved the mountains and valleys with forces of nature so also does He shape the human lives of those touched by disasters. He picks up debris and plants it elsewhere to take seed and bear fruit, just as he does in our lives at times. Whether we stick it out or not there is always the watermark that is left behind as a reminder of what we have been through.
One of my watermarks is the memory of a very rainy night when my first husband drove my car into a road that was covered by water. Realizing that we were not going to make it across he tried to turn around which landed us off the shoulder with a wake of water slapping against the side of the car. As the water rose in the floorboard we weighed up our options. Since he did not know how to swim that left very few. Looking out my side I saw a snake slither past my window. Thankfully a 4 wheel drive jacked up truck came along soon and rescued us. Within a very short time, the car was submerged as were a few other cars. When we came back several hours later only the top of the car was visible. We came back a few more hours later and the car sat just off the shoulder of the road as cars flew past it as if nothing had happened. Everything in it was caked with mud. The car was a total loss but we had been saved so it was a total win for us. But I will never forget that night and never again will I drive or allow someone I am with to drive on any road that I cannot see that is covered with water. Turn around – Don’t drown. Live fearless, not reckless.
I hope the Lord blesses each of you and gives you the faith to move mountains until I post again. Please feel free to share this blog with your family and friends. Till then….
Mark 11:22 “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
For Little Treasure Hunters
To teach little ones about God with their fingers:
0 – We are nothing without…
1 – God (pointing up)
2 – He gives us peace
3 – Through God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit 3 in 1 (touch each finger with emphasis and then pull 3 fingers together as one).
4 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
5 – We are safe in his hand (hold 5 fingers out and then bring them together, turn palm up in front of you cupped).
Please continue to pray for Sherri & Charlie Tuttle and their family as they continue to fight the battle with cancer. Sherri is home from the hospital now and will be continuing the radiation therapy. Pray that God will give her a complete healing and recovery.
“Pikeville Cut-Through.” Wikipedia, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikeville_Cut-Through. Accessed 16 July 2017.
“Pikeville KY.” Wikipedia, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikeville,_Kentucky. Accessed 16 July 2017.