The View from Puncheon Creek: Good News

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By Brenda Kay Howard

As cold waters to a thirsty soul so is good news from a far country. Proverbs 26:25 is one of my favorite Bible verses. Since man has been on Earth he has devised means to communicate to others near and far. In our own country’s history from the time of Native Americans to the present time there have been numerous ways to send news; to communicate to others. Native Americans used smoke signals, drums, yells, and animal-sounding calls just to name a few.

With the arrival of white man to the shore of America other means arrived, also. Remember the old North Church and a lantern-light to signal “one if by land, two if by sea” on the night of Paul Revere’s ride. (Note: Quote from “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” by Longfellow). The sound of the bugle used by the army signaled orders, everything from wake-up time to march, or eat, etc. The clang of the dinner bell rang out on the farm, across the prairie on the ranch to call time to eat. If it sounded at an unusual time it meant some kind of an emergency, maybe a fire or storm, for example.

Factories used whistles to signal the end of the work day. Coal mine whistles could signal a cave-in. Of course one of the most commonly used was a hand written letter carried by mail coach in pioneer days to the people in the West, local postal services, even Rural Free Delivery. The Pony Express brought letters from back home much more quickly. The Morris Code and the telegraph meant even faster means to send and receive messages. Then the telephone. Radio and television. This is only a brief outline of the history of American communication before today’s mind boggling means, by cell phone, fax, texting, instant messaging, tweeting, Facebook, and the biggy, email.

When my phone rang Wednesday morning March 1, the last thing I expected to hear was nephew Isaac say “Kay, the tornado siren is going off in Salyersville, and it is pitch-black dark!” Living out in the country on Puncheon, of course, we couldn’t hear the warning. I turned the TV to the local weather and there was the warning on the screen. Although I was literally in the March 2, 2012 tornado and lived to tell about it, I thought it couldn’t happen, again, on practically the same date.

It was only a few minutes until the wind hit blowing leaves and twigs, a darkened sky brought a downpour of hail. We took the cell phone and went to an inner closet. Heavy rain fell and wind blew, but no tornado. Thank God! After the worst passed over and we emerged from the closet, we started making and receiving phone calls. Checking on neighbors, family members and friends. Everyone was okay.

Without the means to communicate we would have been worried about others until we could receive the “good news from a far country.” The distance from Puncheon to Salyersville would have been considered a far country in biblical days and would have taken longer to receive news than today’s instant communication. But it is still like “cold waters to a thirsty soul” to receive that good news!

Image Credit line: Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas                            Inscriptions: Signature bottom left: Frederic Remington