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Father's Day 2009 tribute to Ellis Pickett

Father's Day Anthology for June 21, 2009

In an eloquent, moving tribute to her father, the author said, "Our father Ellis Pickett was a small town barber who lived a simple life, but he had a big impact on so many people." The Father's Day story of this wonderful man was a moving experience for the congregation of Columbia Baptist Church, and one member, Sue Stivers, wanted Julia Ann to share it. She graciously assented. The story, by a great writer among us, follows -EW

By Julia Ann Pickett
Testimony at the Columbia Baptist Church
Father's Day, June 22, 2009

The Burden of the Steel Trap

Some of you remember my father, Ellis Pickett, and have stories to tell of his humor and love for the Lord.

Those of you who did not know him: I can describe him as a man of small stature, well known for his humor, the local barber of Cole and Pickett barber shop; deacon and member of the Columbia Baptist church and the first man to work in the nursery at the church.

But most of all he was known for his enduring love for his God, his church and his family. He was a father who loved the Lord his God with all his heart and all his soul. Thru the years he would mention that he did something as a very young boy that he always wished he could make right. Our Father lived by the word of God and if he ever did anything that would wrong anyone, he would make it right.

This was stressed to my brother and I thru the years to always make sure you are right within your heart.

We were in Louisville, preparing for his final days

At the age of 67 and after several years of illness we were with him in Louisville and he was preparing us for his final days.

I had left the hospital when my Mother called and said for us to get back to the hospital, that my father was upset and there was something we had to do before he died....I rushed back to my father's bedside to the story that happened when he was a young boy in Green county."

He wanted to ask forgiveness of a boy he had wronged

He said that a family moved on the farm next to them and like the Pickett boys the son fished, hunted and set traps. He said that he stole a steel trap off the boy and we had to find him before he died because he had to talk to him and ask him for forgiveness.

I started questioning him of what the boy's name was...he didn't remember...I asked when was the last time he had seen or heard from the family...He replied 50 years.

How were we to find a man whose name Dad didn't know and had not seen or heard from in 50 years. We couldn't...but God had a plan and he was in control.

The following events were like a novel that played out. We were the characters, but God was the writer.

I went to the waiting room to tell my father's sister about what was taking place. She was talking to a lady who was there visiting someone else.. .Happens that lady was from Green County. She had lived in the area of my father.

The stranger from Green County said she knew the family

As I was explaining to my Aunt about the request the lady spoke up and said, "I know that family. I stay in contact with one of his aunts." She gave us the phone number of the aunt and I called and talked with her.

Trying to explain what was going on I as k if she knew what had happen to the boy or where he could be...She said that he had moved to Chicago many years ago, but had just moved back to Louisville in the past month.

Getting the man's phone number, I rushed back to my father's bedside. I explained to my father that it was the middle of the day and we might have to wait until later because he would be at work.

I dialed the number and to my surprise the man answered the phone.

He had stayed home with an earache that day. Said he had never had one before and had not called in sick for several years.

I explained to him that my father needed to talk with him and gave the phone to my father and his words were...I am a dying man. I stole a trap off you when I was a very young boy.

I have called for your forgiveness. I want to pay you for the value of what the trap would be today. The man said that he didn't remember anything about the trap and they talked for quite a while.

When we hung up the phone my father seemed more at peace with what had happened. He had settled something within his heart that had lingered there for all these years.

We discussed angels, fear of the unknown, dying

Thru the afternoon and night the conversations with my father will linger in my heart forever. We discussed angels, fear of the unknown, dying and things that were deep within our hearts.

Those were the most precious moments that I ever spent with my father. He repeated the 23rd Psalm over and over the past days and especially the verse..."I will walk thru the shadow of death and I will fear no evil, because thou art with me."

Later into the night and time getting close ..a nurse came into the room and said there was a man who said he had to see Mr. Pickett. We told her to let him in and into the door walked a tall, nice looking man about the age of my father...He said, "Mr. Pickett,I had to come and see you. After our conversation I looked around my house and saw things that I had borrowed, things that I had picked up and work that I didn't think amounted to much. I thought of the things that I had done in my life that I didn't think mattered. I had to come and talk and meet the man that called me for forgiveness

My father looked at him and asked, "Are you a Christian man? The man's reply was that he had been raised by good parents, but when he moved away and started working he had gotten away from the church. My father said, "Come and sit on my bed. I want to tell you what Jesus Christ has done for me."Mr. Pickett witnessed to the man

He witnessed to the man and told him of what God had done for him and how God had blessed his life. The man's life was changed forever that night.

Even in my father's final hours, he was telling of God's love. When the man left the room, I said, "Dad, he didn't remember the trap." "My father's reply was, "Maybe the burden was not the trap, but a man's soul." A few hours later my father left us to be in his heavenly home. He walked thru the valley of the shadow of death. He feared no evil because he was NOT alone.

You could feel the Holy Spirit, God power surrounded the room. I could almost hear God say, Well done, my good and faithful servant."On October 26, 1981 the day of the funeral, as we came out of the service.

The chimes were playing while crowds stood in cold rain

They had blocked off the roads. The church chimes were playing and crowds of people were standing in the cold October rain.Our father Ellis Pickett was a small town barber who lived a simple life, but he had a big impact on so many people.

He was a big man in our eyes..and a great man in God eyes.

If you want to give your children something that they can always keep, you want to give them something to remember and cherish them, give them your love.

But most of all give them your faith. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul...that will pass down from generation to generations.

This story was posted on 2009-06-22 10:39:43
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