Category Archives: Stories

Bob Vs. The Chair

[Today’s post is one of those “just for fun” ones.  Enjoy]

Bob walked to his chair, sweating slightly.  He feared sitting down.  The chair beckoned him with its polyester filling and vinyl covering, saying “sit here and get this novel finished.”  But Bob knew that there was no use.  He was afraid of sitting.  The last time he had sat down and tried to work on his story, he fell asleep, and woke up in the floor with the chair on top of him.  He had shattered four fingers, popped his shoulder out of joint, and got a nasty rug burn on his face.  All because of that chair.  True, it hadn’t done anything to him before, but it obviously was just biding its time.

Why didn’t he get rid of the chair and find a new one?  Because he knew that chair had a life of its own.  It would roll slowly back from the garbage dump, the neighbor’s house, or even reconstitute itself from the fire-pit and come to track him down and knock him in the floor again.

Bob decided he was overreacting.  Maybe it wasn’t really the chair’s fault.  Bob decided to give the chair one final chance.  The book needed to be finished.  He sat down and began to type.  His fingers were a blur as he tried to get the book finished before the chair attacked again.  The nervousness caused Bob to perspire greatly and large beads of sweat rolled down his arms and fingers and into the keyboard.  With only a single chapter left to go, the keyboard shorted out.  In a bout of frustration, Bob pushed back from the desk and screamed—as the chair toppled over backwards.

“You’ve won again, chair.”

-Bradley Cobb

Mumbling Barry and His Horrible Death

Today’s post is something just for your enjoyment.  So, enjoy!

Barry knew his mumbling was going to get him killed someday.  But he thought that it would at least be something more dramatic, something more heroic, something more…well, more than this.  Sitting at the stop light in his 12-year old Buick Century, mumbling along with the songs playing from the CD player, Barry noticed something up in the sky.  It was a sight he recognized, but for some reason it held his attention and would not let go.  Even the honking of the horns behind him didn’t break his concentration and focus from that sight familiar to millions of Americans: the Golden Arches.

Snapping out of his stupor (mumbling still with the music), Barry slammed on the gas and cut in front of three lanes of traffic to turn into the McParking Lot.  He paid no mind to the 12-car pileup that his rapid exodus had caused.  Instead, he bolted from his baby-blue car and ran to open the door of the restaurant.

The smell of French fries attacked his nostrils…well, as soon as he stepped past the bathroom area that is.  Barry quietly mumbled something about wishing he’d used the other door.  Much to his delight, there was no one in line ahead of him.

“Can I take your order please?” said the dazed pimple-faced kid on the other side of the counter.

Barry mumbled his order, “Iwanabigmacwitextachese.”

“Huh?”

Barry repeated himself, this time a little louder, but still mumbling, “Iwanabigmacwitextachese.”

The kid behind the register looked like his brain was about to explode from trying to comprehend Barry’s mumbling request.  Suddenly, though, it all made sense.  “Ah, gotcha, yeah.  We can do that.  Would you like fries with that?”

Barry mumbled a response, but thought he’d give the kid some help by nodding at the same time.

“And a drink?”

Barry just nodded and the McEmployee handed him an empty cup.  After paying $8.43, Barry went to get his drink, mumbling to himself about the skyrocketing price of artery-clogging food.  Grabbing his tray of food on the way back, he found an empty table by the window—and away from the restrooms.  He ripped open the wrapper on his burger and proceeded to chomp for all he was worth, tossing fries in his mouth at random intervals while filling in the gaps with quick gulps of some Coke product.

Almost done with the burger, Barry felt a sharp pain in his chest and he fell forward to the table.  A heart attack!  As he was struggling with the pain, he knocked the receipt onto the floor, where it fluttered, print-side up.  Barry’s eyes grew wide as he saw what it said.  Barry knew his mumbling was going to get him killed someday—and that day was today.  The last thing that he read in this life was the words “Big Mac with extra grease.”

-Bradley Cobb

Autobiography of R.C. Bell

Taken from the pages of the upcoming “Studies in the Scriptures: Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, and Philippians,” we present to you the autobiography of R.C. Bell.

Autobiography of R.C. Bell

On a farm near Bell Buckle, Tennessee, I, Robert Clark Bell was born, March 20, 1877. My father, S. A. Bell, Sr., was of Scotch Irish and my mother, Sally Catherine Hoover, of Pennsylvania Dutch descent. I inherited a sound bodily construction and a mind of quiet, studious bent rather than of the quick, brilliant type. As my parents were both faithful members of the church when they were married, I went to church regularly every Sunday from babyhood.

Native Religious Temperament

As indicative of my natively serious autumnal, rather than of gay vernal temperament, the first reading I did of my own choosing was a page, colored by pious thought and feeling, entitled, “Home Reading” in the Gospel Advocate, a paper that came into our home every week. (This page was long since discontinued, but the old man is grateful that the boy had a chance to read it.) I came into the church at fifteen years of age, during a meeting conducted at Fosterville, Tennessee, by E. A. Elam. At the close of this meeting, Brother Elam asked those who had just been baptized if they were so disposed, to promise, by reading three chapters on week days and five on Sundays, to read the entire Bible within a year. I promised, and for three consecutive years read the Bible through yearly, according to this plan.

Nashville Bible School

At the age of eighteen years, I entered the Nashville Bible School, Nashville, Tennessee, to alternate for five years attending this institution and teaching in the rural schools of Tennessee. Under the influence of David Lipscomb and James A. Harding, I soon saw that Paul’s description of some who would hold a form of doctrine, but deny its power, fit me. Especially, Brother Harding’s living, magnetic, contagious faith in God as a real personal friend matched the wavelength of my spirit. I slowly enough imbibed his enthusiasm for God’s fatherly care of individual Christians, for Christ’s brotherly sympathy and fellowship with them, and for the empowering Holy Spirit’s residence in them. In other words, for Brother Harding’s conception of Christianity as a “divine-human encounter,” in which spiritual communion between God and man, the sweetest of human experiences, was enjoyed.

I gradually came to realize, however, that the spiritual power of the church was contingent upon the actual personal presence and working of the triune God in and through Christians. More and more the conviction grew on me that Brother Harding’s interpretation of Christianity, which was Paul’s too, was needed to save the church from being merely a human organization with a formula to follow, a prayer to recite, and a dull, demagnetized program to render; with professional preachers in her pulpit mechanically saying dead words detached from the living realities of which they spoke, dealing in trite moralizings, threadbare platitudes, and heartless preaching about the heart and passion of Christ. This kind of a church instead of being the divine organism, instinct with the life and power of God, as designed by her Founder! In short, Brother Harding’s interpretation was needed to save the church from changing divine dynamics to human mechanics.

Potter Bible College

This fuller understanding of revolutionary Christian truth began to turn my “world upside down,” and to open up for me a new world of worship, of work, and of values in general. Consequently, when Brother Harding started another Bible school at Bowling Green, Kentucky, to be known as Potter Bible School and asked me to become one of his teachers for the fall of 1901, I, believing that God was guiding, eagerly accepted. Thus, began my half-century of teaching Bible in our Christian schools. Every member of Brother Harding’s faculties was expected to teach at least one class in Bible daily. Four happy years were spent at Potter. Bessie Sparkman of Era, Texas, who had been a classmate at Nashville, became my wife September 24, 1902. As sweethearts at Nashville, we, as only young people can, together accepted the view of Christian life and work that has continued and bound us together as “God’s fellow-workers.” All these years, we have never doubted God’s will for us was being fulfilled and that in such school work we could best serve ourselves, our fellow-men, and our God, the maker of us all. Each of our three daughters is a graduate of a Christian college.

Westward

By the fall of 1905 J. N. Armstrong, R. N. Gardner, and I (three teachers at Potter), and B. F. Rhodes (a student at Potter from Kansas), were ready, with evangelistic fervor, to open a Bible school west of the Mississippi River at Odessa, Missouri, to be known as Western Bible and Literary College. After four years, Armstrong, Rhodes, and I went to Cordell Christian College, Cordell, Oklahoma. Both of these schools, as such, have long since ceased to operate, but their influence lives on. For instance, how many native Africans will be saved eternally because these unpretentious schools lived, no man can know. The Scotts, the Reeses, the Shorts, and the Lawyers (three of these families have already furnished two generations of workers in Africa), some of our first American missionaries, all came through these schools.

Thorp Spring

My work in Thorp Spring Christian College, Thorp Spring, Texas, began in the autumn of 1911. After five years with this school, I saw that with the constantly rising educational requirements for teachers, my continued teaching in our schools demanded an academic degree recognized as standard by the ac-crediting agency for colleges. Therefore, I went to Sherman, Texas, to preach for the old Walnut Street church a year and to do enough college work in Austin College to standardize the B.A. degree, received at Potter years before. The next year was spent in Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, working out the M.A. degree. Then, I returned to Thorp Spring for a year’s teaching. During this last year at Thorp Spring, I first met, as a member of my freshman English class, Don H. Morris, now president of Abilene Christian College.

Abilene

I became a member of the faculty of Abilene Christian College, Abilene, Texas, in September, 1919. Twenty-five of the thirty-two years intervening between then and now, were spent teaching in this college. Of the remaining seven years, one year was spent in Harper College, Harper, Kansas, two years were spent in Harding College, Morrilton, Arkansas, before it moved to Searcy, and the other four years in David Lipscomb College, Nashville, Tennessee. Fifty years of teaching Bible in eight different schools, located in seven different states is not such a hodgepodge as it may seem at first thought. In the first place, halt of the time was spent in Abilene Christian College. More important, the fifty years, in reality, is all of a piece like a tree. Its general purpose, direction, and objective remained unchanged throughout.

In Retirement

Some old men regret the choice they made in youth of their life work. I am so far from such regret that were a second life to be lived on earth, I should be most happy to have an open door into such work for another long life through. I even like to toy with the fancy of living it all over again just for the privilege—I say, not duty—of teaching God’s word and of making a new generation of Christian friends. I should labor to do the same work, only with purer motives. That is, without personal ambition, without pride of human recognition and position, and without envy of others; and with more diligence, patience, kindness, hope, and love. In brief, with less flesh and more Spirit; with less self and more Christ.

And now that the sail is reefed, I shall take things a bit easier, and, being somewhat lifted o’er the strife of life, shall live the remainder of life’s book as God turns the pages, remembering in grateful thanksgiving and prayer the men and women who helped me as I helped them, and the friends I have made and kept through the years who are still bound to the whirl of the wheel of life. And, since such friends are too good to lose, I shall, in mellow musing, dream of greeting them again in the future life with God, as friends, “lost for a while” recovered; and therefore a little different from the host of stranger-friends from many races, times, and climes whom I shall meet in heaven for the first time. Is it not a great and blessed thing to be able to view the eventide of life here as a resting time, “Ere I be gone once more on my adventure brave and new” in the hereafter, somewhat as the period for tired football players between halves? One life—first half lived on earth and the second half in heaven. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift” in Christ.

“Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.
Our times are in his hand
Who saith, ‘A whole I planned’;
Youth shows but half. Trust God; see all, nor be afraid!”

—Robert Browning

The Herrin Massacre

Since being a small child, I have had a love of history. Though several years have elapsed since that time, the desire to learn about the past and better understand it has not diminished. I was raised in “Bloody Williamson,” in Southern Illinois, though by the time I came around, that nickname had faded from the memory of most.

The local history that I happened to catch while growing up mostly consisted of the mobster who had somehow–years after his death–become a “cool” anti-hero, Charlie Birger. And even at that, the details were limited to the fact that he was a gun-toting guy who fought against the KKK, and who was later hanged, uttering the final words, “It’s a beautiful world.”

The coal mines in southern Illinois, during my youth, still employed a large number of people—all of them union men. Perhaps this is why we never heard many details of the infamous “Herrin Massacre” that took place in 1922, even though it was front page news nationwide for several weeks in cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

I have no bias for or against unions. I have several friends who are union men, and I have even been a union man myself at one time. I have nothing against unions, so long as they keep their proper place and they work within the bounds of the law and of fairness. In 1922, the union men in Herrin, Illinois performed a series of acts which cannot be justified or defended by any rational standard of right and wrong.

Recently, I ran across an old brittle copy of a book called “The Herrin Conspiracy,” wherein the details of that horrible event–the Herrin Massacre–were clearly set forth.  The author of that short booklet is unknown, though the information contained is an accurate picture of the events which took place on that day in 1922 when Williamson County earned the name “Bloody Williamson.”

This story makes for an interesting comparison with the Lord’s church.  It shows what can happen when people insist on their “liberties” even in the face of those who have problems with it.  It shows what can happen when leaders ignore their responsibility.  It shows what can happen when people of one community think only of themselves and not at all caring about the welfare of others.

It is a story of conspiracy, of murder, and ultimately a travesty of justice.

This book was written less than six months after the events, and at that point in time, no one had been charged with the murders of around 20 men and the destruction of millions of dollars of equipment.

I have taken the liberty to edit this booklet and have added footnotes to it.  It is an interesting snapshot of the times, and several illustrations can be gleaned from it.

Download it here (FREE) and see what you think.

-Bradley Cobb

When You Gotta Go – Start Early

My friend is a rather old-fashioned lady, always quite delicate and elegant, especially in her language.  She and her husband were planning a week’s vacation in Florida, so she wrote to a particular campground and asked for a reservation.

She wanted to make sure the campground was fully equipped, but didn’t know how to gracefully ask about toilet facilities.  She just couldn’t bring herself to write the word “toilet” in her letter.  After much deliberation, she finally came up with the old-fashioned term, “bathroom commode.”  But when she wrote it down, she still thought she was being too forward.  So, she started all over again, rewrote the entire letter, and referred to the bathroom commode merely as the “B.C.”

“Does the campground have its own B.C.?” is actually what she wrote.

Well, the campground owner wasn’t old-fashioned at all, and when he got the letter, he just couldn’t figure out what the woman was talking about.  That “B.C.” business just stumped him.  After worrying about it for a while, he showed the letter to several campers, but they couldn’t imagine what the lady meant either.  So, the campground owner, finally coming to the conclusion that the lady must be asking about the location of the local Baptist Church, sat down and wrote the following reply:

Dear Madam:

I regret very much this delay in answering your letter, but I now take the pleasure of informing you that a B.C. is located 9 miles north of the campground, and is capable of seating 250 people at one time.  I admit it is quite a distance away if you are in the habit of going regularly, but no doubt you will be pleased to know that a great number of people take their lunches along and make a day of it.

They usually arrive early and stay late.  The last time my wife and I went was 6 years ago, and it was so crowded that we had to stand up the whole time we were there.  It may interest you to know now, there is a supper planned to raise money to buy more seats.  They’re going to hold it in the basement of the B.C.

I would like to say it pains me very much not to be able to go more regularly, but it surely is no lack of desire on my part.  As we grow older, it seems to be more of an effort, particularly in cold weather.

If you decide to come down to our campground, perhaps I could go with you the first time you go, and introduce you to all the other folks.  Remember, this is a friendly community.

———————————

I have no idea who originally wrote the above story, but I’ve posted it here for two reasons:

1. It’s hilarious.  If you didn’t laugh out loud, then you have either (1) read this before or (2) didn’t read it.  🙂

2. it serves as a great illustration of how some people use the same terms to mean different things.  If we want to properly communicate with others, we need to make sure that we make our meanings clear with the words we choose.

-Brad

 

The Accident King (A Story by Deserae Cobb)

Today, we are super-excited (and a bit proud, too) to share with you a story written by the youngest of the Cobb Six.  Deserae Cobb (age 9) wrote this (far-fetched) tale and everyone who has heard it has laughed very loudly at her portrayal of “B.C.” (who sounds very much like her father…).

So, without further ado, here is the story:

The Accident King

Words and Pictures by Deserae Cobb, October, 2014.

Once upon a time, there was a man.  That man was not just a man.  He was accident-prone.  His name was B.C.

One time, he even broke a key off the keyboard!

SCAN0001

One day he wanted to go on a drive, so he went on a drive.  When he was not-so-peacefully driving, he crashed into one of his buddies, so they decided to talk.

SCAN0002

When he was done talking, he went to the McLoud Cafe to surprise his wife with dinner.  He got the food, but on his way out the food got CRUSHED accidentally.  So he ordered another.

SCAN0003

When he got home, he DID surprise his wife, because it was not the right order!!!  His wife almost died laughing.  Her name was Jesse.  The most pretty woman EVER!

B.C. went to get the right order.

SCAN0004

It took him 1 hour to get home (it was only 2 blocks from their house).  And by the time he got home, the food had frost on it!

SCAN0005

B.C. put the food in the microwave, but he forgot to put it on a plate.  HE LEFT IT IN THE TO GO BOX!!!!!  But his wife took it out before the house got destroyed.

SCAN0006

B.C. was tired.  His wife Jesse (ooh la la) gave him driving lessons before he went to bed.  Maybe if he was sleeping, he would not make another accident.

SCAN0007