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Do Crippled Children Go To Heaven?

Story ID:596
Written by:Mark Crider (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Organization:Corpus Christi Coating & Machine Inc.
Story type:Story
Location:Corpus Christi Texas U.S.A.
Year:1951
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Do Crippled Children Go To Heaven?


I waved at our substitute shop teacher as I walked past his house while on my way that early morning to go chop cotton.

He waved back with that familiar hand, the one that had only a thumb and pinky finger. He gave a hearty shout to come see his latest project.

He had lost the middle of his hand in a long ago industrial accident working in one of the refineries here, but it had never diminished his skills as a master craftsman of all trades it seemed. He had some small, by today's standards, machine tools, a welding machine and woodworking equipment. Unfinished projects were sitting around the large garage as well as hanging on the walls. Cabinets were stocked with every imaginable tool and enough supplies to keep a cavalry unit repaired and going strong.

"What is that?" I asked as I strode up with my hoe over my shoulder.

"This my little friend, is my latest idea to win the corn pickin' contest and show the town that ingenuity can overcome any obstacle," he replied.

It was some kind of wheelchair looking contraption with motorcycle tires, a hand cranked chain and sprocket drive with handle grips, to drive the sprocket mounted in front of the seat, and a large square basket with wheels attached behind the backrest.

"Are you going to put a motor on it?" I inquired.

"Well I'm going to put a motor in it, one that will power it between the rows, pick the corn ears and put them in the basket to be emptied at the end of each row," he replied.

I stood there, my mind trying to comprehend how he, or it, was ever going to do that. I couldn't imagine how it would ever work.

This wonderful old man had built things before that people couldn't believe. Some called him Einstein; some called him Edison because of all the inventions and helpful contraptions he had built for people over the years.

"Yep, they tell me that there is going to be about fifty people entered in the contest and at $2.00 a person the winner is going to get a hundred dollars," he said as he worked bolting a bracket on the chair.

"Boy! That's a lot of money and I can't enter it because I'm just not big enough to drag that much corn fast enough to keep up with the big kids," I answered.

"Yeah well you'll be there in a couple of years if you take care of yourself and keep working hard like you have been," he said.

Then it dawned on me! "A machine can't enter the contest!"

"Well this is different, I spoke with the farmers that are sponsoring it and they said under the circumstances it would be fine,” he answered.

"I'm really confused now, how is this going to work? How is a machine going to be able to be in the contest?" A thousand questions bubbled through my head.

"Well you know little Craig, the kid in the wheelchair that sings by the choir because he can't get the chair into the choir box?” he asked.

"Yes, what about him? He sings well but what has he got to do with this?"

"Well I was sitting by his mom and dad a few Sundays ago. After the closing songs and the discussion about the corn pickin’ contest, he slowly wheeled up and I overheard him ask his dad if “crippled children” go to Heaven.

His dad, putting his arm around him, answered that they did. Then the little guy started to cry saying he couldn't do all the things other kids could do. That's when an inner voice spoke to me and I stupidly blurted out that he was going to win the corn pickin’ contest. Everyone around went silent and I knew I was in trouble. His parents were looking at me with shocked looks on their faces. All I could do was tell them to wait and see, I'd talk to them later, then I left church with my mind reeling."

I was starting to see how this thing would work at that point. The larger tires would let him roll through the dirt easy. He would peddle with his arms pulling the basket along while grabbing and throwing the ears in it. Brilliant!

I later found out that everyone knew about this effort as he had discussed it with them, getting their approval for him to be in the contest. I was thinking how strong his arms were as I'd seen him throw new baseballs from beside the batter box to second base easily. He also worked out with two bats in each hand, swinging them around like they were matchsticks.

The day came and there he was, lined up at the end of the row with the other contestants. They were off! And, he was staying right up with them, even ahead of some. I couldn't say if this was a rigged race to this day, but he won.

Some time later I found that a ramp and space were built in the choir box so that he could be next to the other members. When he sat there singing I could tell—he was in Heaven.

Mark Crider (c) 2006