[Vfw-times] Adventures in Chattahoochee Hollar - Mystery Bag (6/6)

Heartsh0t at aol.com Heartsh0t at aol.com
Thu Jun 15 20:53:08 CDT 2000

The melodious voices coming from inside the little white church could be heard
from the outside, winging their way to Heaven.   Standing in the pulpit was 
Jonathan Frye, leading the congregation in song.    His wife, Mrs.  Betsy Frye
looked at her husband proudly, and giving him little smiles now and then.   
In the
middle of "Rescue the Perishing", the wooden door at the back of the church
creaked open.   Travis quickly turned around to see a hushed, quiet figure
quickly take a seat to the back.   Travis, who was standing beside his 
looked up at his mother and father.


"Shhh!" his mother said to him, and resumed singing.

"Mommy, Daddy!" Travis whispered loudly.

Both foxes turned to look at their son.

"It's him!   It's ol' Mr. Ringtail....he's sittin' back there!" Travis 
whispered, pointing
to the back.

Mr. Foxley bent down to his son's ear.   "Ok, stop pointing and turn around," 

Travis glanced quickly at the ‘coon again.   Mrs. Foxley nudged her son and
shook her head at him.   He turned around towards the front and resumed
singing.   When the song had ended, everyone turned around and shook hands.  
Travis shook hands with his friends, Wadell and Strogie, and spied a friend of
his, Kenneth Shaw, otherwise known as “Little White Mouse” a few rows up, and
waved hello.  Travis waved at the white mouse and waved at some of his other
friends.  Stephanie, Anna, and Johnny shook hands with the other parishioners
as did Mr. and Mrs. Foxley.

After the morning services, Mr. Foxley took his family home, and then went to 
bedroom, got on his knees, and prayed to his Lord concerning Mr. Ringtail.

"Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that I will have Your blessings on what I'm 
to do.    This man needs to be turned into the police, and I really shouldn't 
involved dear Lord, but I'd like a chance to win him to You, if possible.    
He may
not have that chance if the police comes and get him.  Please give me wisdom,
and give me the words to say.  In Jesus' name, Amen."

Mrs. Foxley was in the kitchen, getting lunch ready when the vulpine man came
out of his room.  He walked up to her and took her hands.

"I'll be back in a little bit, I'm going to Max's then I'm going to go talk 
to that
raccoon man."

His wife gave him a worried look.  "Couldn't you wait at least until after 

He shook his head.  "No, I want to go ahead and go before it gets late.
You and the kids go ahead and eat lunch without me.   Get Anna to help you
out here in the kitchen.   I'll leave the truck here."

He gave her a gentle kiss, and went out the door.    Mrs. Foxley closed her
eyes and whispered a prayer for him.

"Dear Lord, I don't agree with what he's about to do, but I pray that you
will go with him and be with him.   Give him guidance and direction.   And
please bring him home safe."

Mr. Foxley saddled up one of the mules and rode to Mr. Max's Grocery.  
Mr. Max was already waiting for him, sitting in a rocking chair on the front 
The otter opened up the door and both went inside.   The fox stood in front 
of the
counter.   The otter double checked that his 'closed' sign in the door was 
outward so he would not attract any customers.

"I don't want people to think I've started openin' up on Sundays," he 
"Mercy me, could you imagine that?   People from all over the hollar would be
talkin' about me!  I'd never hear the end of it!"

"It's really nice of you to open the store for me, Max."

"Oh, don't mention it, Jack.    Me and Shelley owe you enough favors as it 
"That was quite a sermon Pastor Frye preached this mornin' wasn't it?"

"Yeah, it was.   I really enjoyed it."

The otter went around to the back of the counter, and grabbed his mail 
and a pen.

"Now then, let's see if I can find that signature.   It should be here, he 
was in
here yesterd...Ahh!  Here it is!"

The otter inspected the signature.   "Yup, here it is, Mr. Simon J. 
"Is that what you’re looking for?"

"Yes, thanks Max.    Do you have his address?"

The otter looked down at the address.   "Yup, says here he lives up there by 
old Johnston mill.    It's that small house by the grist mill.   Mr. 
grandson, Brian Johnston,  is the one who owns the house and the mill now.  
He inherited that land when his grandfather died.   I guess he took pity on
Mr. Ringtail, and decided to let him live there."

"What happened to his father?" Mr. Foxley asked.

"Oh, he died when the boy was a baby.   He walked out in front of a wagon
going top speed through the middle of town.   The poor man was slobberin'
drunk and didn't see it comin'.   The driver tried to stop, but it was too 
Brian's mother had died in childbirth a few days before.   I guess it was too 
for the poor man to take.   Brian's grandparents decided to take it upon
themselves to raise him."

"That is indeed tragic."

"Yes, well, so it goes.    I hope I've been some help to you, Jack."

"More than enough," Mr. Foxley replied.   "See you tonight for the evening

“Allright, take care.”

Mr. Max locked up the store as Mr. Foxley rode off towards the Johnston mill.

The Johnston mill was a few miles down the Chattahoochee.    The sun shone
brightly, and the tree limbs waved in the gentle breeze.   No one appeared
to be at the mill, and the house looked almost deserted save for the few
curtains that hung in the window.    Mr. Foxley tied his mule to a branch
underneath a maple tree and knocked on the front door.   The fox could hear
some shuffling on the inside, and heard footsteps coming towards the door.

A masked face was barely visible when the door cracked open.   Dark eyes
stared from within.

"I'm here to see Simon Ringtail."

"No one by that name lives here," came the voice from behind the door.

"Come on, I know he does.   I was told that he lived in this house."

"Who are you?"

"I'm Jack Foxley, Travis's father.   I’d like to have a word with Simon.”

The occupant took in a quick startled breath.   The door was about to close, 
Mr. Foxley caught it with his hand.

“Mr. Ringtail, please.   I’d like to talk to you about this,” Mr. Foxley 
said, taking
out an empty moneybag, and showing it to the ‘coon.

“How?” came the suprised voice of the raccoon.

“Can we talk?”

The raccoon man nodded his head and opened up the door to the small house.  
He put one hand on the back of his neck and shook his head and started to

“I knew one day I’d get caught.   News travels fast ‘round here.  When I 
that your boy almost drowned in that accident a month ago, I was afraid that
people would start searching the area.”

“Well, thanks to Travis, he gave me the idea.  A friend told me that someone 
tossed a sack out in the river.   Me and my boy were talking about going 
yesterday, and that’s when he asked me if I found out what was inside the 
I got curious, and me and my oldest boy went down to the river and drew it 

“I’m sorry, it’s my fault your boy almost drowned.   If-if it weren’t for 
me, none of
this would have happened,” the raccoon man said, looking down at the floor.

“Why did you do it?   Why did you rob a bank?”

Mr. Ringtail could not bring himself to look at the fox.   He had been running
away for so long.

“I was a successful businessman back in Little Rock before the Depression.   I
owned several clothing stores.    When the Depression hit, I lost everything I
had.   I lost my stores, lost my home.   I even lost my family.   My wife 
took the
children and moved out.” 

Mr. Foxley listened intently as the raccoon rubbed his hands through his fur 
top of his head.

“What was I to do?    Where was I supposed to go?” the raccoon man cried.  “I
know it wasn’t any excuse, but I was broke and had nowhere to go.   And what
keeps haunting me the most is seeing the horrible expressions on those poor
people’s faces when I was holding up that bank.   Those people thought they
were going to die,” the raccoon sobbed with his hands in his fur atop his 

“I’m sorry about what happened to your son, Mr. Foxley, please forgive me!
I have no one to turn to.   I came to church yesterday for the first time 
because I
felt so bad about what I’ve done,” the raccoon man tried to regain his

“I can’t run away anymore Jack, but I’m scared to turn myself in.   I told 
myself if
you or anyone else came a-lookin’ for me that I’d turn myself in, but I 
can’t bring
myself to do it alone.”

“You won’t have to, Simon.  I’m here to help.”  

The raccoon turned his head up to look into the soft, yet stern eyes of 
Jack Foxley.    

Simon, I’d like to read something to you if you don’t mind, and I’d like to 
with you if you would let me.    Mr. Ringtail nodded his head, and the fox 
inside a pocket to pull out a small Bible.    In a few minutes, the angels 
in Heaven over another sweet soul who came to repentance and who had
received Jesus as his Saviour.

Mr. Foxley finally returned home to his family.   His wife greeted him at the 

“How is he?” Mrs. Foxley asked.

“He turned himself in,” her husband answered.   “He was ready to go, but he
couldn’t bring himself to it alone.”

The vixen shook her head.   “It’s really tragic.”

“No, he accepted Jesus as his Saviour.   He’ll be allright, now.”

Mrs. Foxley clasped her hands with joy.  “Oh Jack, I’m so glad excited, I 
know what to say!”

“Well, tell me there’s still some dinner left over from lunch today, I’m 

Mrs. Foxley laughed, as they went inside the house.

“Travis and Anna took Wadell and Strogie home.   They should be back in a few

“You know, all that man needed was someone to care for him, someone to take
the Bible and show him how to get saved.    I know the Lord answered my prayer
because the man was willing to hear what I had to say, and more importantly,
what the Bible has to say.”  “I told him I’d visit him in jail sometimes.”

Mrs. Foxley smiled at her husband and said, “We both will.”

Copyright 2000 by Kimberly M. Edwards
All rights reserved

Little Red Fox
Homepage:  http://hometown.aol.com/heartsh0t/myhomepage/index.html
Chattahoochee Hollar:  http://www.geocities.com/heartsh0t

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