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The Villages
Monday, March 27, 2023

An old Bible

Barry Evans
Barry Evans

I have been around for quite a spell.  Some of my friends say forever – but not yet!  In any case, a very goodly number of years ago when I may have been in no more than the third grade a salesman came to my grandmother’s church.  What the nice salesman proposed was a money raising proposal for the church.  The idea was to sell bibles to the population of Sandy Lake, Pa.  These were not the average bible, but had a zippered cover and the words of Jesus were in red. It even had some colored maps in the back. One of them was of “modern” Palestine.  The modern part probably does not apply anymore.

What made it an even more certain way to make money for the church was to have little kids go from house to house and do the selling.  Who could refuse a little child with pleading eyes?  In addition, each child would get his own copy of the bible, plus a religious picture.  Naturally, I was one of the chosen little children.  The one thing I recall is that the pleading eyes child approach did not work.  I do recall not selling a single bible.  In behalf of the nice citizens of Sandy Lake, it should be pointed out that this was near the end of the depression, and a dollar for the book was a bit much.  However, somehow, I ended up with a copy of the bible as well as the religious picture.

I have no idea what happened to the religious picture, but the bible sits on my bookshelf as it has for these many years.  It still has the zipper, but there is not much of the cover left to zip. It is not because I read it a lot, so I guess it was the many moves we made over the years.  I did keep one thing in it for many years and that was a two-dollar bill that my step grandfather, Mike gave me.  (I guess you refer to him as a step grandfather. My real grandfather and grandmother separated when my dad was young.).  Even though I could have used the money, I decided that a two-dollar bill should be kept.  Besides, Mike was a nice guy. The bill has not been in the bible for some time, but it is around – I hope.

Sometimes when I sit musing about the past, I wonder if that bible salesman has a lineal descendent who goes to churches to sell bibles.  I rather doubt it as it is undoubtedly very difficult to talk young kids into going door to door to sell anything.  Probably even our own kids could not have been brow-beaten into doing that when they were young.  About the only thing that kids would enjoy going door to door would be at Halloween, but even that is not the same.  Now you must worry about what might be in the candy or who might answer a door or be lurking in the shadows.

There is no doubt that life was much gentler when we were young.  We could ride our bikes wherever we wanted.  We could stay out after dark and even go to a nearby woods and tell spooky stories.  We may not have had much money, but the world was our oyster and we had no real fears.  We could even go door to door and (try to) sell bibles!

Sigh . . .

Barry Evans is a columnist for Villages-News.com.



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