I received a letter yesterday. Momma had written it. The letter was fifty years old. Momma passed away over seven years ago. Originally intended for a man I met only once, the letter brought back many memories.
Fifty years ago, she had watched me, a frightened sailor boy, board a train in Florence S.C. bound for Key West, Florida. My first train ride, I was also headed for my first duty assignment, a submarine. She prayed the Lord would send someone to watch over me. He did.
On that train rode a man stationed in Key West. He had been in the Navy for many years and was returning to his family there. He decided to befriend me. We talked of many things on that ride, and by the time we reached the little island below the tip of Florida, we trusted each other.
I don’t remember that he ever said it, but I knew he was a Christian man. I hadn’t come to know the Lord at that time. However, I considered Christians good people. It was a time when followers of Christ were known more for their good works than their politics.
The man invited me to spend the weekend with his family. He knew better than I did the living conditions on the USS Tirante SS 420. When I reported to the boat Monday I found my “bedroom” was a canvas bunk hanging from the bulkhead of the main passageway. I was assigned the lowest of the four attached there. The canvas of the man above me sagged. He was a big man. It was necessary for me to get in my bunk before he got in his. Once in, I couldn’t get out until after he did.
I don’t remember much of the night and day I spent with the Weavers except that they were good trusting people. I slept in the son’s bedroom and one thing that impressed me was the huge jug of money on the dresser. Mostly, nickels, dimes, and quarters, its presence was a reminder of the trust the family placed in me. I added a few quarters to it before leaving.
I had every intention of returning to visit the Weavers while in Key West. However, I found free time off the boat to be an extremely precious commodity. I never saw them again, though I often thought of them.
Last week I found an odd email in my spam folder. With some misgivings, I replied to it and learned about the letter. Unknown to me, Momma had written the letter to the Weavers thanking them for their hospitality. Mrs. Weaver passed away recently and her children found the letter in her effects. David, the son in whose room I had slept, sent the email and then the letter to me. I will be forever grateful for his thoughtfulness in doing this.
Isn’t it wonderful to know acts of trust affect generations?