A Walk with Orville
Today my friend, Orville Rogers, drove up from Dallas to visit with me. That might not sound too “newsy” except for the fact that Orville will turn 98 next month and currently holds fourteen world records in track events. As I gently reminded him, every time he wakes up he sets a new record!
Actually, I had called Orville earlier to invite myself down to see him. But he insisted on making the three and a half hour drive up to see me instead. So when the bright red Camaro wheeled up to my house, I knew this would be a day I would not soon forget.
You see, seven years ago, Orville’s sweet wife, Esther Beth, graduated to Glory. Right now, I am in desperate need of Orville’s sage counsel as I navigate my own journey ahead without Jeannie by my side. So, over the course of the next five hours Orville poured his life and his wisdom into this thirsty sponge.
I should probably mention that those five hours were interrupted by a mile-and-a-half walk at a local park. We sat for a while on a bench, not because we were weary, but because we both needed to reminisce, cry and pray while our wives looked on from heaven.
There I was with one of my heroes (Orville is the only B-36 pilot I ever met! That’s the WWII bomber with ten, count’em, engines and a twenty-eight hour flying capability!). Orville and Esther Beth later worked with IMB and other mission agencies, ferrying planes to the far corners of the globe for Christian causes. And I should mention that Orville and Esther Beth are among the most generous givers to missions I’ve ever known.
So what did we talk about? Nothing…and everything. Orville’s affable, easy-going personality is totally disarming. One minute he’s telling jokes about pilots (He’s a veteran Air Force and Braniff pilot) and the next minute he’s drilling straight to the depths of my heart, addressing issues nobody would dare to discuss except with a friend who’s wife is in heaven.
Orville arrived at my house with an agenda. It took me a while to discover it. His agenda was…me! Once again, Orville Rogers was in the giving mode, giving counsel, love, encouragement, and the assurance that, by God’s grace, any of us can make it through the tests of life. Yes! We can!
Orville’s firm and assuring manner, born out of years of pouring over the Word of God, seemed somehow so familiar to me. You can imagine my surprise when we suddenly realized that the same man had mentored us both, he beginning in his college years and me a couple of decades later…E. F. “Preacher” Hallock!
Tonight, I could not let this moment pass without saying thanks to God for Orville, and for “Preacher.” As I watched the red Camaro disappear down the street, I prayed the time would come when I can take a walk with someone who is just as needy as I was today. My life, and my future, will not be the same!
2 Tim 1:12