My brothers and I spent much time in the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas with my Granddaddy and Grandmother when we were kids. Granddaddy’s brand of camping was somewhere just north of primitive. We had a popup camper trailer but no electricity or running water. The only man made amenities at Bard Springs were in bad disrepair and unusable. When we camped near the edge of Albert Pike, where there were usable amenities, we never used them. I honestly don’t remember ever bathing in all the years we camped in Arkansas.
One year my youngest uncle went with us. I know he washed his hair that week at least once. He was one of those guys that wanted to have 80’s rock star hair so it was important that it be washed. Bard Springs had, up on the side of the mountain, an old hand pump that was fed straight from a spring somewhere near Antarctica. When the water came out it was just above freezing. It was cold enough to set a teenage boy back a year in puberty when he washed his hair in it.
It’s funny how you remember certain things that seem trivial and unimportant and forget things that truly matter. Of all the years in Arkansas I remember Granddaddy bathing one time. We had left Grandmother at the campsite and Granddaddy, my twin brother and I had driven to a low water crossing, or carwash. My brother and I were off chasing minnows and crawdads, skipping rocks and just being boys. We weren’t paying much attention to Granddaddy. He had parked pretty much in the middle of the carwash and had been standing near the back of the truck. As we were playing one of us turned around and saw it: a full moon. Granddaddy, standing in the middle of the car wash, in the middle of the day had dropped his overalls and boxers to the ground and had begun bathing in the small stream of water going over the carwash.
We were not naïve or necessarily innocent boys but nothing in our 10 or 11 years of life experience had prepared us for the sight of our Granddaddy’s naked butt. We quickly turned away as if we’d just seen Medusa and our lives depended on not looking and remained frozen for the remainder of his washing.
Until today my brother and I had never spoken of that horrific event. He says he doesn’t remember it. Lucky.
In hindsight (sorry) seeing Granddaddy’s naked backside really wasn’t that big of deal. It reminds me that God made us each unique and beautiful in our own way. It also reminds me that, as scripture tells me when speaking of the small, unimpressive, young, pre-king David, that God looks at our inside, our hearts, not our outside. In a world full of star athletes with perfect bodies, glamorous movie stars and pop stars ad nauseam, I wish more people could learn and live these truths from Gods word. That God made us and His creation is perfect.