Sonny and I are best friends. We have been since pre-school. It was one of those friendships that just was meant to be. We were both shy. We were both a little on the small side. And we started hanging out together in kindergarten. We had a lot in common. Even at that young age, we talked about Christ and God, we loved dogs and horses, and football and basketball, and we really loved the outdoors and all the adventures we could create, especially on our 100 acre farm. At any given time, Sonny and I were playing cowboys and Indians, Army, or he and I were taking turns being Roger Staubauch or Bobby Hayes running up the score on the Redskins. We were pretty much inseparable.
Sonny lived about five miles from me in a small little village called Wayland before he and his family moved to the “country” in Palmyra, about five miles in the other direction. We were seen together so often, nobody ever really questioned whether we were supposed to be together. Even some of the teachers tried to split us up because they thought it “best” for us. So it really wasn’t any big deal when Sonny would ride home with me on the bus after school, or if I did the same. Our bus driver, Junior Roberts, was a close friend of the family, a township trustee, a farmer, and someone who knew everybody’s business. So dropping Sonny off at the farm with me was nothing out of the ordinary.
Except this one time. Somehow our parents got their wires crossed. Sonny’s mom didn’t remember that he was coming home with me. And my mom thought I was going home with him. We got off the school bus and ran up the long driveway. Free from the week at school. We changed and took off for the woods. We went to the old fort that we had made under the beech tree by the trail, and planned our afternoon. It wasn’t too much longer that my dad showed up on his golden palomino quarter horse, Hollywood. We thought it a little strange that dad was home early and taking a ride through the woods. So we decided to play like Indians and track him, staying out of sight. It was great sport, and we were good at it.
After about an hour or more into our game, we figured we would announce ourselves to dad. He said that the mothers were very upset, thinking something bad had happened to us and they were about to call the sheriff to start a manhunt. He wasn’t really upset, and he said he had seen us following him. I wonder about that, but we were in no position to argue. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” So true. We as children may follow along the trail, we may get off the trail and hide alongside, but in the end we show up. Sonny, a strong Christian man, one day became the head of the Arkansas State Police and a tremendous example to all kids. Please pray for him as he is undergoing treatment for cancer.