THE WRITINGS OF RUTH MARTIN
The Preacher's Wife

The Radio

That radio was one beautiful item. It was a Silvertone console, beautiful wood, classic lines, a brightly lighted and colored dial at least nine inches wide and four inches deep. It had all kinds of special bands but we never bothered with any of those. We were content with the regular offerings. I can still see it clearly in my mind. Yes, indeed, it was a beautiful radio. And I have a miracle story about it.

Recently, my sister, Barbara, was talking about her recollections of that radio from her early childhood. That started me back down Memory Lane to a time when she was just a toddler and I was a teenager. We lived in New Hope, Alabama, at that time hardly more than a wide place in the road. Many "construction' families were moving into the small town grabbing any housing available and many like our small house had barest necessities. No telephone. Daddy was working double shifts at his job on the lock at the new Guntersville Dam, still under construction. We only knew one family... friends from "back home" in Florence, Alabama. They lived a good piece on the other side of the small rural town but we seldom got to see them because of Daddy's and Mr. Moore's work schedules at the dam. Lucian was living in Florence with our grandparents to finish his senior high school year and graduate from his old Alma Mater, Coffee High School. Actually, my mother, my little sister Barbara and I were pretty isolated. And homesick. And lonesome. So lonesome. On top of this, our one source of entertainment was the radio and it was broken. It had not made one sound, not a peep, for several weeks. Things were rather tight financially right then and Daddy had to wait till he could put a little money aside to get it fixed.

On this particular Saturday night, I was so bored, homesick and lonesome I thought I would die. I'm thirteen, maybe barely fourteen so you can just imagine. Bless her heart, Mama did all she could to cheer me up. She could usually lift my spirits but not this time. I could hear her moving about in the kitchen while I sat in the other room swallowing bitter tears. Finally, standing in the kitchen door she spoke. "Why don't you turn on the radio?" I just looked at her. "You KNOW it's broken". She moved back into the kitchen and in a few minutes almost mechanically and in desperation, I turned the radio on and out of that broken radio comes the voice of Red Foley singing "Old Shep". I have never heard a more beautiful sound in my life! (I still cry when I hear that old song.) I yelled for Mama to come listen and we just stood in happy unbelieving shock for a while. That night we listened for hours sitting right in front of the radio soaking up every sound that came out of the speaker. Finally, when the station signed off for the night, we went to bed. When Daddy came home next morning we told him what had happened and he couldn't believe it. He turned the radio on and...not a peep! He just stood looking at it and shaking his head. Mama told me years later that she had felt so sorry for me and so helpless to do anything that while she was in the kitchen she just prayed to the Lord and asked Him to PLEASE just let the radio play if only for one night.

Daddy took us to Florence that very week on his off days and somehow while we were there, tight as finances were, he bought this beautiful deluxe Silvertone radio. It was the envy of everyone who saw it. We took it back home with us and it played faithfully for us for years and years. Barbara still remembers it from her earliest childhood. My Daddy knew how hard it was for us to have to live so far from home under especially tough conditions, so he did what he could to make things easier and more pleasant for us. The cost to himself didn't matter. His family's happiness did.

I have never forgotten that night. The night the broken radio played all night long. It was a MIRACLE in answer to my sweet mother's prayers for her lonesome child. This was not the only time my mother prayed for me. Mama was not one to pray in public but she prayed nevertheless. In every letter she wrote me over the years until she died.and there were lots of letters from her. she always told me she was praying for me. I used to sing a song on Mother's Day just for her..."My Mother's Prayers Have Followed Me." What a blessed heritage to have a praying mother. What a comfort in troubled times, what an encouragement in struggles. What an incentive to live so as to honor those prayers and the mother who prayed them.

Copyrights ©RuthRMartin June 2006

WRITINGS OF RUTH MARTIN

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