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Cross your heart and live for Jesus

As a child, there were times when the seriousness of what I said was best followed by “cross my heart and hope to die.” Even though I was insistent, I knew that “hope to die” was probably over dramatic – I never thought my life would be required. Nevertheless, truth is fundamental to us all, and children understand the importance of being taken at their word.

My favorite playmate as a boy was my cousin Greg Terrell who lived across the road from my house. We grew up along Louisiana Highway 488 just past the cattle guard that marked the edge of Kisatchie National Forest. The land had been owned and farmed by our family for four generations.

Greg is the youngest of eight children. I am the youngest in my family. We are the same age, born only weeks apart. We could be seen together romping and playing most afternoons. Some Saturdays we spent the day together.

Greg’s mom, Aunt Dale, made the best biscuits, and they were even made better by the fresh butter and cane syrup I bathed them in. This particular day would be one of those all-day

Saturdays. After breakfast and before heading outside, Greg and I sat beside each other laughing at a sampling of cartoons watched on the family’s large black and white console television.

“Remember, you two are coming with me to grocery shop,” Aunt Dale reminded as the screen door slammed behind us. We weren’t too excited about missing out on playtime just to ride in a car nearly thirty minutes one way into town. But we were promised lunch at the new Burger Chef. The restaurant had just begun selling kids’ meals with a toy.

Until then, we ran around the yard chasing chickens. We checked on the new baby pigs and finally ended up in the freshly plowed field tossing red dirt clods at each other.

Sitting beneath an old white oak, we stopped to catch our breath. We sat in silence until Greg said, “You’re my best friend.” I shook my head in