This happened in Bruneau, ID on Saturday evening, September 14th..

Sunride took me 83 miles today. Arriving in town I came up to the Cowboy’s Pastime tavern, a big rustic place with exposed rough-cut beams and trusses. I ordered the $7 hamburger that came with an extraordinarily large order of fries, all of which I consumed in full. I inquired about camping and learned the city park a block away would be suitable. The park was right across from a little pioneer church. I love these little churches. They and those who go there are simple and unpretentious. A lady came by and opened up the church for the 7 p.m. service.

Sunride took me 83 miles today. Coming into town I came up to the Cowboy’s Pastime tavern, a big rustic place with exposed rough-cut beams and trusses. I ordered the $7 hamburger that came with an extraordinarily large order of fries, all of which I consumed in full. I inquired about camping and learned the city park a block away would be suitable. The park was right across from a little pioneer church. I love these little churches. A lady came by and opened up the church for the 7 p.m. service.

“You are welcome to join us,” she offered with a genuine sincerity that was warm and appealing.

But there was an hour to kill. I went back to the tavern where a patron who never gave his name met me. He was interested in hearing all about Sunride.

“Come on in. I’ll buy you a beer,” he magnanimously offered.

Sitting at the bar, I ordered water.

“Don’t you want a beer?” he questioned.

I told him I was planning to go to church in a bit and didn’t know if having beer just before church was right to do.

“Sure it is,” he confidently stated. “They’ll forgive you.”

I asked if he would be going to church. He answered, “No, I’m Lutheran.”

For some reason that reminded me of the one and only time my Dad ever came to church with me. He was great making sure we kids went off to church with our mother, but he never once came in all the years I was growing up. Much later, when I was grown and he was retired living in Pulaski, Tennessee I called him from Atlanta saying:

“Dad, I’d like to see you while I’m here in the Southeast, but I only have Sunday morning available. I will drive to Chattanooga (about half way from where I was and he was) and meet you on one condition: I don’t want to miss church so you would have to come to church with me. We can spend the rest of the morning together before I have to head back to Atlanta.”

“Okay,” he said.

We met at Signal Mountain Episcopal Church. Dad seemed comfortable enough there. As we were leaving, the polite Priest outside the door, always attentive to visitors, thanked us for coming and expressed his hope we would come again.

“I don’t think so,” my Dad said, “I’m Presbyterian.”

I nearly choked on my own laughter. I told him I’d never seen him in church before, how can he all of a sudden say he’s a Presbyterian?

“Well, I was baptized Presbyterian,” he said calmly as if he actually believed what he was saying was explanation enough. I let it go but was well humored. Let’s hope the good Lord is as generous. He probably is.

We found a park nearby and had a lovely picnic. He brought a big full basket with all the fixings and a glorious array of fresh vegetables from the garden of one of his lady friends for whom he is a sharecropper. Dad had a green thumb and a good spirit but no one else on earth would have recognized him as a good Presbyterian.   

I enjoyed an IPA with my new Lutheran friend. I would almost certainly never see him again. The Bible talks about giving hospitality to strangers saying, “Some have entertained angels unaware.” I am certainly no angel, but I’m sure his kindness did not go unnoticed.

Church was lovely. The Priest mentioned he had gone to seminary at Mt. Angel, Oregon. He was a roving minister, attending to several small congregations within a hundred mile radius. He preached a simple sermon to the twenty or so of us, freely moving from English to Spanish. Everyone got the gist: If we want to make Jesus happy, repent and do what’s right. In the back of just four rows I was close enough to see him wink at us when he finished his message.

It was dark by the time Mass was over. I went to the park and bedded down for the evening atop a picnic table. It had been a full and rewarding day.

“You are welcome to join us,” she offered with a genuine sincerity that was warm and appealing. 

But there was an hour to kill. I went back to the tavern and was met by a patron who never gave his name. He was interested in hearing all about Sunride. “Come on in. I’ll buy you a beer,” he magnanimously offered.

Sitting at the bar, I ordered water.  

“Don’t you want a beer?” he questioned.

I told him I was planning to go to church in a bit and didn’t know if having beer just before church was right to do.

“Sure it is,” he confidently stated. “They’ll forgive you.”

I asked if he would be going to church. He answered, “No. I’m Lutheran.”

It reminded me of the one and only time my Dad ever came to church with me. He was great making sure we kids went off to church with our mother, but he never once came in all the years I was growing up. Much later, when I was grown and he was retired living in Pulaski, Tennessee, I called him from Atlanta saying, “Dad, I’d like to see you while I’m here in the Southeast, but I only have Sunday morning available. I will drive to Chattanooga (about halfway between where I was and he was) and meet you on one condition: I don’t want to miss church so you would have to come to church with me. We can spend the rest of the morning together before I have to head back to Atlanta.”

“Okay,” he said.

We met at Signal Mountain Episcopal Church. Dad seemed comfortable enough there. As we were leaving, the polite Priest stood outside the door and thanked us for coming, expressing his hope that we would come again.

“I don’t think so,” my Dad said, “I’m Presbyterian.”

I nearly choked on my own laughter. I told him I’d never seen him in church before, how can he all of a sudden say he’s a Presbyterian?

“Well, I was baptized Presbyterian,” he said calmly as if he actually believed what he was saying was explanation enough. I let it go but was well humored. Let’s hope the good Lord is as generous. He probably is.  

We found a park nearby and had a lovely picnic. He brought a big full basket with all the fixings and a glorious array of fresh vegetables from the garden of one of his lady friends for whom he was a sharecropper. It was one of my fondest memories.      

My new, generous Lutheran friend and I enjoyed an IPA together. I would almost certainly never see him again. The Bible talks about giving hospitality to strangers saying, “Some have entertained angels unaware.”  I am certainly no angel but I’m sure his kindness did not go unnoticed. 

Church was lovely. The Priest mentioned he had gone to seminary at Mt. Angel, Oregon. He was a roving minister, attending to several small congregations within a hundred-mile radius. He preached a simple sermon to the twenty or so of us, freely moving from English to Spanish. Everyone got the gist: if we want to make Jesus happy, we need to repent and do what’s right. In the back row I was still close enough to see him wink at us when he finished his message.  

It was dark by the time Mass was over. I went to the park and bedded down for the evening atop a picnic table. It had been a full and rewarding day.

9/21/19 – Day 18 – Salt Lake City, UT – Tales of the Road Part 2 – Bruneau, ID

One thought on “9/21/19 – Day 18 – Salt Lake City, UT – Tales of the Road Part 2 – Bruneau, ID

  • October 3, 2019 at 3:25 am
    Permalink

    This is such a good story – have enjoyed all of these!

    Reply

Leave a Reply