Oliver Rides the Bus

Because it is baseball season …

Oliver Rides the Bus

Oliver tried to focus on the geography of Peru but kept thinking about well-hit doubles, strikeouts and close plays.

Mr. Franzen’s voice filtered into his brain during a 5-4-3 double play, “Oliver…Oliver…Mr. Winslow!”

Oliver slowly realized it was not the play by play announcer calling his name, “Um…huh…yes? I’m sorry.”

“Thank you for joining us. Tell us about the Nazca lines in Peru.”

“They are…glyphs, drawings on the ground you can only see well from the air that no one understands.,”

“Excellent. Who discovered the glyphs….”

Her voice faded into the cheering crowd after Oliver hit a homer, winning the championship.

At dinner, Oliver’s mom said, “My car broke down today. I can’t drive you to your game tomorrow. I’m sorry, you’ll have to miss it.”

Oliver choked on his milk. “But Mom, it’s the first game of the season. The team is counting on me. I’m the starting shortstop.”

“It’s just a game.” She served the peas.

Oliver looked at his mom as she put a slice of meatloaf on his plate. “Maybe I could take the bus. The #82 runs up Meridian to Green Lake. If you give me some change, I can…”

“Now hold it right there, I have not given you permission to take the bus by yourself.”

“But, Mom!”

“No! I’m sorry about the game, Oliver. It can’t be helped.”

Oliver had a hard time sleeping that night. He dreamt about baseball, striking out or dropping a line drive or a missing a deep fly ball. His team kept losing, and it was all his fault.

He woke up early, tired, but excited.

“Ok, I know what I need to do.”

He went straight to his coin bank and found four dollars and seventy-six cents.

“I’ve got just enough money for bus fare both ways.” He smiled.

He checked the bus schedule.

“Let’s see, where is the ball field?” he ran his finger up the route until he found it.

He looked at his clock. “Just enough time to get ready.”

Oliver dressed in his uniform, grabbed his money and his glove. Then he slipped down the stairs, careful not to wake his mom.

“Ok, all set, here we go.” Oliver let himself out the back door.

Once on the bus, his mind filled with fantastic catches and hits.

“Kid … hey, Kid!”

Oliver looked up to see the bus driver standing next to his seat. “We’re at the end of the run, you gotta get off.”

Oliver looked around. “Where are we? I wanted to go to the ball fields at Green Lake.” Oliver felt sick to his stomach.

The bus driver chuckled. “You must have been daydreaming. We passed by there a half-hour ago.”

“How can I get back? It’s too far to walk.”

“Relax kid, there’s another bus stop across the street where you can catch a bus back to Green Lake. I’ll give you a transfer so you can ride it. I played some little league when I was a kid, I know how important the games are.” The driver smiled.

Oliver thanked the driver, crossed the street and waited for the bus. This time he asked the driver to let him know when they got to Green Lake so he could get off at the right place.

Oliver thanked the driver, got off the bus and ran to the field where his team played. The game had already started, so Oliver put his stuff with the rest of the team’s things and went into the dugout.

“Hey, coach! I made it—uh, oh.” He saw his mom and coach Bradley standing with their arms crossed, looking at him. Oliver attempted a sheepish grin.

“Oliver, where have you been, and how did you get here?” his mom asked.

Oliver stared at his shoelaces.

His mom uncrossed her arms, walked over to him and put her hand on his shoulder. “You took the bus, didn’t you?”

Oliver’s face reddened. “Yes, Mom. I just wanted to play so bad.”

“I understand. However, after you went to your room last night, I called your coach. He offered to give us a ride. But, you left this morning before I could tell you.”

Oliver looked up and caught a glimpse of the coach heading out to the field.  He then looked at his mom. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you just wanted to play baseball. I wanted you to play, too. Look, I’ll promise to make sure you get to every game if you promise to stay off the bus. Deal?”

Oliver smiled. “Deal!”

“Mrs. Winslow,” Coach called from the end of the dugout.

“Yes, coach?”

“Could you umpire the game? We’re one umpire short today.”

Oliver’s eyes widened. “You’re gonna umpire? I didn’t know you knew anything about baseball.”

His mom smiled/ “I forgot to tell you—I lettered in softball in college. Come on son, let’s PLAY BALL!”

 

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Oliver Rides the Bus

It will soon be October and baseball season will be wrapping up for another year. I hope your team is closer to being into contention than mine is. Baseball always draws our youth. Oliver was no exception. Here is his story.

 * * *

Oliver Rides the Bus

By: S.C. Mathisen

Oliver tried to focus on the geography of Peru, but kept thinking about well-hit doubles, strikeouts and close plays.

Mr. Franzen’s voice filtered into his brain during a 5-4-3 double play, “Oliver…Oliver…Mr. Winslow!”

Oliver slowly realized it was not the play by play announcer calling his name, “Um…huh…yes? I’m sorry.”

“Thank you for joining us. Tell us about the Nazca lines in Peru.”

“They are…glyphs, drawings on the ground you can only see well from the air that no one understands.,”

“Excellent. Who discovered the glyphs….”

Her voice faded into the cheering crowd after Oliver hit a homer, winning the championship.

At dinner, Oliver’s mom said, “My car broke down today. I can’t drive you to your game tomorrow. I’m sorry, you’ll have to miss it.”

Oliver choked on his milk. “But Mom, it’s the first game of the season. The team is counting on me. I’m the starting shortstop.”

“It’s just a game.” She served the peas.

Oliver looked at his mom as she put a slice of meatloaf on his plate. “Maybe I could take the bus. The #82 runs up Meridian to Green Lake. If you give me some change, I can…”

“Now hold it right there, I have not given you permission to take the bus by yourself.”

“But, Mom!”

“No! I’m sorry about the game, Oliver. It can’t be helped.”

Oliver had a hard time sleeping that night. He dreamt about baseball, striking out or dropping a line drive or a missing a deep fly ball. His team kept losing, and it was all his fault.

He woke up early, tired, but excited.

“Ok, I know what I need to do.”

He went straight to his coin bank and found four dollars and seventy-six cents.

“I’ve got just enough money for bus fare both ways.” He smiled.

He checked the bus schedule.

“Let’s see, where is the ball field?” he ran his finger up the route until he found it.

He looked at his clock. “Just enough time to get ready.”

Oliver dressed in his uniform, grabbed his money and his glove. Then he slipped down the stairs, careful not to wake his mom.

“Ok, all set, here we go.” Oliver let himself out the back door.

Once on the bus, his mind filled with fantastic catches and hits.

boy riding a bus

“Kid…hey, Kid!”

Oliver looked up to see the bus driver standing next to his seat. “We’re at the end of the run, you gotta get off.”

Oliver looked around. “Where are we? I wanted to go to the ball fields at Green Lake.” Oliver felt sick to his stomach.

The bus driver chuckled. “You must have been daydreaming. We passed by there a half-hour ago.”

“How can I get back? It’s too far to walk.”

“Relax kid, there’s another bus stop across the street where you can catch a bus back to Green Lake. I’ll give you a transfer so you can ride it. I played some little league when I was a kid, I know how important the games are.” The driver smiled.

Oliver thanked the driver, crossed the street and waited for the bus. This time he asked the driver to let him know when they got to Green Lake, so he could get off at the right place.

Oliver thanked the driver, got off the bus and ran to the field where his team played. The game had already started, so Oliver put his stuff with the rest of the team’s things and went into the dugout.

“Hey, coach! I made…it…uh, oh.” He saw his mom and coach Bradley standing with their arms crossed, looking at him. Oliver attempted a sheepish grin.

“Oliver, where have you been, and how did you get here?” his mom asked.

Oliver stared at his shoelaces.

His mom uncrossed her arms, walked over to him and put her hand on his shoulder. “You took the bus, didn’t you?”

Oliver’s face reddened. “Yes, Mom. I just wanted to play so bad.”

“I understand. However, after you went to your room last night, I called your coach. He offered to give us a ride. But, you left this morning before I could tell you.”

Oliver looked up and caught a glimpse of the coach heading out to the field.  He then looked at his mom. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you just wanted to play baseball. I wanted you to play, too. Look, I’ll promise to make sure you get to every game if you promise to stay off the bus. Deal?”

Oliver smiled. “Deal!”

“Mrs. Winslow,” Coach called from the end of the dugout.

“Yes, coach?”

“Could you umpire the game? We’re one umpire short today.”

Oliver’s eyes widened. “You’re gonna umpire? I didn’t know you knew anything about baseball.”

His mom smiled/ “I forgot to tell you—I lettered in softball in college. Come on son, let’s PLAY BALL!”

The Promises of God with Stanley – Conclusion

Mr. Mathisen:             I’m glad you weren’t hurt very badly.

Stanley:                       I was more scared than hurt. I mean I landed pretty hard, but I thought for a minute there that I was gonna die.

Well, I looked around to see where I was and realized that I was stuck on a ledge!

I couldn’t climb back up, and I couldn’t climb down!

I was stuck on this ledge, and I didn’t know where anyone from my school was and they didn’t know where I was!

Mr. Mathisen:             I’ll bet you were pretty scared Stanley. I would have been.

Stanley:                       Boy was I!! I was really scared there for awhile and then…

Mr. Mathisen:             And then what?

Stanley:                       Well, I sang then I prayed for awhile. I asked Jesus to send someone to find me. I sang the song to myself again a couple of times, and I prayed again. I hollered help a couple of times too, but, mostly I prayed. And you know what happened then?

Mr. Mathisen:             No, I don’t Stanley. What happened then?

Stanley:                       Well, after I prayed, I began to feel really calm and peaceful. It was like Jesus was telling me that He would answer my prayer. Just then, I heard a voice calling my name, and I looked up and there was Mr. Christos. He was kneeling at the top of the cliff and looking down at me. I couldn’t believe it. I had just prayed & sang, and there he was.

Mr. Mathisen:             Jesus was really watching out for you wasn’t He?

Stanley:                       He sure was! Mr. Christos yelled down to me to ask if I was all right. I told him that I was, and he told me to not move and that he would be right back.

He went away for a couple of minutes and came back with a rope. He tied one end around a tree and the other around his waist. Then he slowly lowered himself down that cliff until he was beside me. He had me climb onto him in the front. I put my arms around his neck and hung on tight. Then he used his arms and legs and pulled us both back up that cliff. It was really slow, but I was never scared. I knew that Mr. Christos had left all the other kids and came looking for me and then he rescued me. I was so happy that I almost cried.

When we got to the top, we backed up against a tree and just sat up there at the top of the cliff for a few minutes while he got his breath back and I just sat real close to him. He risked his life to save me. He left all the others to come find me. Then he gave me a quick hug and told me to never, ever scare him like that again. I quietly said “OK”, and then we went to find the others.

He never got mad at me at all.

Mr. Mathisen:             Wow! That was a great story. Thanks, Stanley.

So boys and girls, remember we were talking about just two of God’s promises. The first one is found in the book of Isaiah chapter 41 verse 13.

For I hold you by your right hand—I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.  (Isa 41:13)

Stanley:                       And that means God is right here, right now, ready to help us.

Mr. Mathisen;             Yes, Stanley that’s exactly what it means. The other verse was

“The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear.”  (Heb 13:6a)

And remember that Jesus said:

I will never leave you or abandon you.”  (Heb 13:5b)

The After School Bible Adventure Club – Part 5 – The End

“But, you know what? I’m not gonna throw this back at you. I gonna drop it right here and ask you again, what can I do for you? I’m not even gonna get mad at you for doing that. You see Freddie, I’m a Christian and I forgive you for trying to hurt me. I forgive you for putting my friends in danger of being hurt. I just want to know how I can help you.”

Well, Freddie was really confused now. He looked at his friends. And they just looked back at him. They were waiting to hear what he had to say.

But, he didn’t know what to say. No one had ever talked to him like that before. He just balled up his fists and yelled back.

“You just wait fat boy. I’m gonna get you. I’m gonna get even with you when you don’t have your girlfriends around. We’ll get you when you’re alone. You just wait.”

Freddie and his buddies took off running, ran around the corner, jumped on their bikes and rode off.

Johnny walked over to the curb on the street and sat down. Susie and Andrea sat down with him.

“Whew! You guys sure were a big help to me. I know that you were praying. I could feel it.”

He looked at the girls who were nodding. Andrea spoke up first.

“I figured that praying was the most important thing I could do. You needed God to be with you right then. I asked him to give you courage and to not be afraid.”

Johnny laughed nervously.

“Well it sure worked. When Susie reminded me of our memory verse and I started repeating it, everything changed inside me. I was reminded that Freddie and his pals don’t know Jesus as their Saviour and we do. It was my job to try to love him like it says in another of our memory verses.

What was that again? Oh yes John 15:12 ‘My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.’

I had to show him somewhat love looked like. That’s how I could overcome evil with good like it says in this week’s verse for the After School Bible Adventure Club.”

The two girls laughed.

“Well we sure had an adventure today,” said Susie.

Johnny said, “Hey let’s thank God for helping us out here. He helped us to make a difference in Freddie’s life today. Let’s pray for Freddie too. Maybe we can share Jesus with him.”

Our friends sat right there on the curb and prayed, thanking God for his help, asking him to touch Freddie’s heart and thanked Him for the After School Bible Adventure Club. When they were done Susie said, “You know, I think my mom was going to make some cookies this afternoon. Does that sound good to you guys?” Johnny and Andrea were up on their feet quickly and headed for Susie’s house ahead of her. “Hey wait for me” she said as she ran to catch up with them. The all began to laugh as they walked.

The After School Bible Adventure Club – Part 4

Johnny, Susie and Andrea were walking down the street on their way home from school when they saw Freddie and several of his friends approaching from the other direction. Freddie called out to Johnny, “Hey fat boy, you think you’re a pretty good hitter don’t you’? I’m about to show you how good a pitcher I really am.” Freddie was bouncing a rock in his hand. He stopped, took aim at Johnny and him square in his left leg.

Johnny started hopping around on his right leg and yelled out,

“Ouch! That hurt Freddie! Why’d you do that?”

Johnny’s fists immediately balled up tightly and he took several steps towards Freddie with fire in his eyes.

Susie’s voice stopped him,

“Johnny! What’s your memory verse this week? Isn’t it Romans 12:21? Say it for me Johnny.”

Johnny stopped in his tracks taken by surprise. But, immediately the verse came into his mind. He started repeating the verse almost in a whisper at first

“Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

He got a little louder.

“Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Andrea moved around behind Susie who was standing even with Johnny on his right side.

His fists unwound and he turned to look at Susie and said,

“Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Ok, here comes the adventure part of the After School Bible Adventure Club.”

He smiled and turned to Freddie and said in a kind voice,

“You know what Freddie. I think that there must be something that I can do for you. What is it?”

Freddie’s friends were slapping him on his back congratulating him on his aim and urging him to throw another one.

Johnny spoke up again, “What can I do for you, Freddie?”

Freddie hadn’t counted on this response but that didn’t stop him from throwing a second rock. “Here you are you sissy.” He shouted.

This time he threw harder and caught Johnny on the left shoulder. Andrea ducked even lower behind Susie who still stood even with Johnny.

Johnny winced and said almost under his breath, “Ow! That hurt!”

Freddie’s friends started slapping him on the back again and one of them found an even larger rock and offered it to Freddie.

Johnny grabbed his shoulder with his right hand. He took another step toward Freddie, Susie stayed with him and said in loud whisper that only Johnny and Andrea could hear.

“What’s that memory verse Johnny? Romans 12:21?”

Johnny stopped and turned to Susie and said:

“Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Both Susie and Andrea were praying for their friend.

“Ok Freddie, you pitch real good.” Johnny said loud enough for Freddie to hear.

He bent over and picked up the bigger of the two rocks and bounced it in his hand.

The After School Bible Adventure Club – Part 3

They began meeting the following week and for the next couple of months, things went really well. They studied the Bible. They memorized Bible verses. A few more kids from school saw the announcement about the club and began to meet with them. They found service projects to do for the elderly people that they knew about. They were one of the clean up teams when the school held a work day on a Saturday to clean up the school grounds.

Things were going really well; until Freddie showed up.

Freddie was the leader of a group of bullies at their school and they tried to run the playground. He and his group had been playing some softball one day on the playground. Johnny was on the other team.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Johnny’s team was behind by a score of 5 to 3. Freddie was having a rough inning. He had already allowed one hit and walked another batter.  So there were two guys on base with two outs when Johnny came up to bat. Freddie thought that he was a really good pitcher but, Johnny had gotten two hits and a walk against him. If Freddie could get Johnny out, his team would win.

Johnny decided to wait for a pitch that he could hit. If he could hit it deep enough, the two guys on base could score and the game would be tied. After falling behind on two pitches that were borderline balls, Freddie threw his corkscrew pitch and Johnny swung. He hit the ball really hard and it sailed to left field. The two guys on base began to run as soon as they realized that the outfielder wasn’t going to catch it. Johnny watched for a few moments and then began to run as hard as he could. The ball kept sailing until it went over the fence. It was a home run and Johnny’s team had won the game. After all the runners scored, Johnny’s team huddled around home plate yelling and screaming their excitement. Johnny was the hero.

Freddie didn’t see it that way. He felt that all of that celebrating was embarrassing and decided to get Johnny back for that. Freddie had seen Johnny walking home with his friends Susie and Andrea. He knew just where to intercept Johnny with his gang.

The next day he and his buddies and give Johnny a hard time on the way home in front of his friends.

The After School Bible Adventure Club had been studying the book of Romans in their after school meetings and were memorizing verses each week as they went through it. They were up to Romans chapter 12 in the part that says:

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

In fact, they were memorizing that last verse.

Spring is coming…Oliver Rides the Bus

Spring training has started for major league baseball teams and that made me think of this little story I wrote about a boy that loves baseball enough to disobey his mom.

Oliver Rides the Bus

 Oliver tried to focus on the geography of Peru, but kept thinking about well-hit doubles, strikeouts and close plays.

Mr. Franzen’s voice filtered into his brain during a 5-4-3 double play, “Oliver…Oliver…Mr. Winslow!”

Oliver slowly realized it was not the play by play announcer calling his name, “Um…huh…yes? I’m sorry.”

“Thank you for joining us. Tell us about the Nazca lines in Peru.”

“They are…glyphs, drawings on the ground you can only see well from the air that no one understands.,”

“Excellent. Who discovered the glyphs….”

Her voice faded into the cheering crowd after Oliver hit a homer, winning the championship.

At dinner, Oliver’s mom said, “My car broke down today. I can’t drive you to your game tomorrow. I’m sorry, you’ll have to miss it.”

Oliver choked on his milk. “But Mom, it’s the first game of the season. The team is counting on me. I’m the starting shortstop.”

“It’s just a game.” She served the peas.

Oliver looked at his mom as she put a slice of meatloaf on his plate. “Maybe I could take the bus. The #82 runs up Meridian to Green Lake. If you give me some change, I can…”

“Now hold it right there, I have not given you permission to take the bus by yourself.”

“But, Mom!”

“No! I’m sorry about the game, Oliver. It can’t be helped.”

Oliver had a hard time sleeping that night. He dreamt about baseball, striking out or dropping a line drive or a missing a deep fly ball. His team kept losing, and it was all his fault.

He woke up early, tired, but excited.

“Ok, I know what I need to do.”

He went straight to his coin bank, and found four dollars and seventy-six cents.

“I’ve got just enough money for bus fare both ways.” He smiled.

He checked the bus schedule.

“Let’s see, where is the ball field?” he ran his finger up the route until he found it.

He looked at his clock. “Just enough time to get ready.”

Oliver dressed in his uniform, grabbed his money and  his glove. Then he slipped down the stairs, careful not to wake his mom.

“Ok, all set, here we go.” Oliver let himself out the back door.

Once on the bus, his mind filled with fantastic catches and hits.

“Kid…hey, Kid!”

Oliver looked up to see the bus driver standing next to his seat. “We’re at the end of the run, you gotta get off.”

Oliver looked around. “Where are we? I wanted to go to the ball fields at Green Lake.” Oliver felt sick to his stomach.

The bus driver chuckled. “You must have been daydreaming. We passed by there a half-hour ago.”

“How can I get back? It’s too far to walk.”

“Relax kid, there’s another bus stop across the street where you can catch a bus back to Green Lake. I’ll give you a transfer so you can ride it. I played some little league when I was a kid, I know how important the games are.” The driver smiled.

Oliver thanked the driver, crossed the street and waited for the bus. This time he asked the driver to let him know when they got to Green Lake, so  he could get off at the right place.

Oliver thanked the driver, got off the bus and ran to the field where his team played. The game had already started, so Oliver put his stuff with the rest of the team’s things and went into the dugout.

“Hey coach! I made…it…uh, oh.” He saw his mom and coach Bradley standing with their arms crossed, looking at him. Oliver attempted a sheepish grin.

“Oliver, where have you been, and how did you get here?” his mom asked.

Oliver stared at his shoe laces.

His mom uncrossed her arms, walked over to him and put her hand on his shoulder. “You took the bus, didn’t you?”

Oliver’s face reddened. “Yes, Mom. I just wanted to play so bad.”

“I understand. However, after you went to your room last night, I called your coach. He offered to give us a ride. But, you left this morning before I could tell you.”

Oliver looked up and caught a glimpse of the coach heading out to the field.  He then looked at his mom. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you just wanted to play baseball. I wanted you to play, too. Look, I’ll promise to make sure you get to every game if you promise to stay off the bus. Deal?”

Oliver smiled. “Deal!”

“Mrs. Winslow,” Coach called from the end of the dugout.

“Yes, coach?”

“Could you umpire the game? We’re one umpire short today.”

Oliver’s eyes widened. “You’re gonna umpire? I didn’t know you knew anything about baseball.”

His mom smiled/ “I forgot to tell you—I lettered in softball in college. Come on son, let’s PLAY BALL!”