A Word from Curt
This fun story features one of my favorite Dry Creekers, Uncle Joe Watson.
Listen to an audio version of The Crow and the Peacock read by Curt.
The Crow and the Peacock
I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
As I write this, we are in crisis time at Dry Creek Baptist Church.
It all started a few months ago when a new door was installed at the main entrance on the south side of our church. Now this door is nice. It is glass, very sturdy, and really looks great. This project of the new door was started because of the continued problem of folks opening the old solid door and knocking someone down outside when it swung open. The last straw was when someone swung it open and knocked Glenda Hagan’s casserole pan out of her hands. She had especially prepared this favorite for Sunday dinner on the grounds.
This tragedy was mourned by all who loved Mrs. Hagan’s delicious cooking. So that most dangerous of all Baptist creations was named- a committee. They studied long and hard and came up with the great idea of the glass door.
On the first Sunday after the new door was installed, everyone commented on how nice it was. The only problem seemed to be that the new glass door always looked like it had been left open because of the light coming in. Joe Watson made eight trips during Sunday School to make sure it was closed.
Now I’ve rambled enough and got off the subject of our current crisis. But the glass door is the subject of this trouble. It seems that there is a crow that evidently has homesteaded the church property as his local domain. One day as the crow hopped up to the entrance looking for crumbs left over from cookies the girl’s class dropped, he spied a rival crow staring back at him.
There was only one thing to do. He began attacking the trespassing crow. I know you are probably way ahead of me. He was attacking his own image in the new glass door. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a bird attack his image in a glass. It is a sight to see. They don’t just hit the glass once and fly off. They do it repeatedly trying to drive off the “other bird.” My dad told me once of a cardinal at his house who fought “another cardinal” in the glass day after day for weeks. He eventually ended up with a flat head from banging into the window.
Joe Watson, our church custodian, was the first to notice this fighting crow. As he would drive up to the church during the day, there the crow would be flailing always at the glass door. What bothered Joe was how the crow was scratching up the new door. What was especially disgusting was the mess the crow left behind. Day after day Joe got to clean up the clear evidence that a bird had resided there.
Joe told me about it. He said he’d thought about shooting the crow. I reminded him that if he broke the glass in that $900 door, he’d never hear the end of it . . . So the saga of the fighting crow continued as Joe’s personal thorn in the flesh.
This story reminded me of a story from my childhood at our old church. Thirty years ago peacocks roamed the area around the church, camp, and post office. They were owned by Ryan Harper who ran the old store where Foreman’s Grocery is now located.
There were about 15-20 of them and they roamed all over. There is nothing like the loud call of a peacock right at dark. The eerie “Keeeeeyaaaaaawwwwww” unnerved many a young boy or girl at camp and initiated the first stages of homesickness. Even today when I visit a zoo and hear the call of a peacock I’m taken back to Dry Creek as a boy where peacocks roamed and you heard them all the time.
Once when I was a teenager, my dad and I stopped by the church. Dad went in the back of the old church auditorium to put up some literature. In the back of the sanctuary were four small classrooms that occupied space behind the choir area. As daddy entered into one of the rooms, an explosion occurred. It was an explosion of breaking glass, knocking around, mixed in with some human noises of distress.
I thought for sure a burglar had jumped my dad. Being the brave teenager I was, I slowly slipped back to the classroom. I did not know what I would find. When I entered the classroom, there was my dad standing but obviously shaken. Shattered glass lay everywhere in the room. He pointed to the two windows in the room. One was open and the other was closed. The closed window no longer had any glass in it.
We went to the broken window and looked out. There on the ground lay a big male peacock. He lay there dead- killed by the collision with the window. He lay stretched out on the sandy soil- long tail feathers blowing in the wind. Mr. Peacock had evidently entered the house of the Lord through the open window. When surprised by my dad, the peacock chose to go out the closed window.
As we stood there and the blood returned to my dad’s face, we both began to laugh at the absurdity of this event. Just about the time I decided to go outside and pick a few feather plumes off the peacock’s tail, he sat up. Groggily he shook off the cobwebs of his encounter with the window, and pranced off in search of new territories to explore.
Well, whether it’s fighting crows or plundering peacocks, I’ve seen some real birds at church. Now don’t read anything into that last statement or you’re meddling. . .
Finally, there seems to be at least a happy temporary ending to the story of the crow and the new glass door. Last Sunday when I arrived early, there were about five black garbage bags hanging down from the inside handle of the glass door. These bags achieved their purpose- the crow could no longer see his rival for the ownership of the parking lot at Dry Creek Baptist Church. Joe Watson said he didn’t come up with the plan- It was Bro. Don’s idea. All I know is that it seems to be working. It looks like the crow won the battle of the glass door and everyone lived happily ever after.
As I close this story, I want to comment about something the crow and peacock both say to me about our wonderful church.
The peacock reminds me of how open the old church was. There was no such thing as a door lock or window latch. The church could not be locked. It was open at all times to all people.
In our present building with all of the equipment, it is not practical or possible to have an unlocked church. However, the doors of Dry Creek Baptist Church are really open to all at all times. I believe anyone, regardless of background or need, will find acceptance and the love of Jesus here. One thing I love about our church is how folks can dress any way and be accepted. Whether a person chooses to wear a suit and tie or Wrangler jeans, they will be comfortable. You don’t have to dress like a peacock to be accepted at Dry Creek.
The crow reminds me of how often we fight the worst enemy we have- ourselves. The greatest battles are the ones fought in our own hearts and minds. It is so easy to keep banging our head against the glass door of life and not learn we are only hurting ourselves.
Secondly, the crow reminds me that Satan’s strategy is always to get folks within the Kingdom of God to fight among themselves. We laugh at the sight of the crow beating his head over and over against an imaginary foe. The world laughs at the sight of Christians who do the same thing with each other.
Finally, we realize that the crow will keep fighting with the glass door as long as his eyes are on himself. Isn’t this so true of us as humans? Only when we take our eyes off the mirror of self and look in love at others, will we be happy and fulfilled.
As we look and plan toward a new building to worship in, I’m confident that the same Lord, who laid it on the hearts of a few folks to start a church in Dry Creek, is still powerful and in charge. Whether it’s a wood frame church that peacocks and dogs wandered in and out of, or a fine brick church where even crows would like to enter, or even a nice new worship facility. . . It’s not the buildings that really matter. It is our living and loving Lord Jesus and the people who come to worship Him at a place called Dry Creek.
I’m glad I live in this special place where we can learn lessons from plundering peacocks and fighting crows.
Listen to the Audio of this story.