“Hard Knocks and Consequences Too, by Fred G. Dickenson, is a folksy and practical walk down the path of life; it is about learning from personal experiences in ways that imprint upon one’s character. Fred’s devotional anthology is fun to read, and it inspires the reader to reflect a little deeper into how everyday life can teach profound spiritual lessons. Whether read as a daily devotional or as a biographical journey, it will inspire any reader. I recommend Hard Knocks and Consequences Too for any believer who desires to learn how to learn from experience.”
—David Martz, EdD, author and adult educator
“In Hard Knocks and Consequences Too, you are gently coaxed into mental and spiritual exercise that begins to plant principles from God’s Word, into your heart. Once you have read it, not only will more seed be planted, but you will begin to see a harvest. It will impact your life in a positive way.”
—Missionary Wilson Gauntt, MEd, professor at Global University
“Fred has a gift in assessing his life—past and present—with a candid approach to proving that God has a hand in everything … and he does it with an enjoyable sense of humor and humility. I recommend both books for your personal library, as a gift to a loved one in spiritual need (or not); for church libraries and ministries; and to anyone for enjoyment and a trip down memory lane.”
—Donna Gentry Weeden, 2013 president of Paradise Historical Society, Inc.; past Texas municipal court judge
I can’t vouch for the authenticity of my father’s anecdotes, home remedies, fish stories, and hunting adventures and all the tips, “truths,” and lessons he has shared with me throughout the years. Many times, in spite of all of his sage advice on the more practical aspects of life, and the ultimate truths of eternal redemption, we still did not communicate well with each other. I have since concluded that the cause of that “gap,” was as much because of my hard headedness as it was his embarrassment and lack of control and aversion that clashed in our “social” world.
Daddy could “skin a rabbit” in seconds, raise tomatoes that were the talk of the county and take down more small game than anyone I ever knew. And none of it was just for sport. He literally did it to put food on the table for the family. He was a crack shot and hardly ever missed anything he meant to shoot. He didn’t have to be boastful. He simply proved his abilities with results.
I have seen him set trot lines on the shady banks of the Trinity River just below a small dam off FM 2123 on the south side of Bridgeport, leave for a few minutes and come back to find bent poles weighted down with 20-pound-pluse catfish. He just knew where to fish. Dad didn’t have to exaggerate his “fish stories.” –He didn’t have to. He could simply show you his catch.
I could regale you with story after story of hunting, fishing, farming and just life stories from my father. But the sheer disbelief of some, lend themselves to telling.
One of the most unbelievable, but verifiable and memorable of such events in his and my lives, was the skunk who came to dinner – uninvited and at our expense. The story, for me at least, began a little after midnight. It was a warm, still early summer night. I was not sleeping well anyway. It didn’t take much for Dad to whisper to me as he shook my shoulder, “Son,” he said, “Get up, but don’t make a bunch of noise. We got a visitor outside.” It didn’t take me long to roll out of bed to join him on the back porch, which was neither a porch (more like a stoop), nor in the back of the house. Both doors were in the front. It was in the country. I could only see a few dim stars, a handful of barn-yard lights in the distance, and an occasional lightening bug, none of which emitted enough light to reveal the critter in question. “Here, Boy,” Dad continued to whisper, trying not to spook the invader. “Take the flashlight and when I tell you to; shine it right over there just to the right of the rabbit hutches.” Now, I could see that much in the dark, besides, I had enough bearings to get a general picture in my mind as to where that was. If I got that close, it wouldn’t take much to sweep the area and spot the critter. “You’ll see why when you do. But, just so you’ll be prepared, there’s a skunk out there killin our chicks,” Daddy explained. You see, Dad had just purchased two flats of chicks to feed and fatten for fryers. That’s 50 chicks per flat, about a hundred chicks. Now you expect to lose a few to the elements, or maybe a chick will wander off even when you have them penned, but this hungry skunk was systematically wiping out the whole investment in one evening, We were looking forward to fried chicken well into the future, the skunk had different plans for “our” chicks. I admit that I didn’t know this until that night, but skunks just love chickens – or at least their blood. It seems that this very stinky, nocturnal blood sucker would grab a chick in each of its tiny little paws, sit on its haunches and bite the heads off the defenseless little puffs of soft yellow feathers and proceed to drain the last ounce of life from the chicks. And they say vampires aren’t real. “Then what do you want me to do Dad,” I asked. I could have guessed already. Dad was holding his old Martin, bolt-action, single-shot, .22 rifle and a Maglite. “Now Boy,” he said. “I want you to hold the flashlight steady. When you hit him with the light, he will look up and freeze for just a couple of seconds and stare at the light. You will see his beady little red eyes shining in the light. “That’s when I will pop him,” Dad explained. However, there was one fact that Dad had not included up to that point. After that incident, he explained that if you get a clean shot, and hit the stinker right between the eyes, he won’t have time to spray. Tall tale or not, it worked that night. “Hit the light,” Dad whispered. “Hold it steady…” “Cra-a-a-ac-ck.” The .22 rifle spoke one word of death to the skunk. It all happened in a split second. The beady little eyes were “caught” in the flashlight’s beam. Dad aimed and shot in one smooth motion and the skunk dropped the two chicks he had and fell to the ground – without spraying even a little. Life Lesson Learned: In a matter of a few seconds on the “back” steps of an old mobile home porch, my dad taught me more than volumes of books could ever teach. More importantly, I learned that in spite of the communications barriers between us, there was still so much I could learn from Dad. I should have, could have learned more than I did from Dad. Maybe I would have spent less time in the school of hard knocks if I had. Biblical Truths: Christ Himself gave us an example of what to do when we break from sin. Just as with the skunk, Dad knew he had to get rid of it cleanly and quickly before it had a chance to stink up the place.
Fred G. Dickenson is a retired captain from the USAF and a retired teacher with more than thirty years in communications. This is his second published book. He lives with his wife, Rhonda, in Paradise, Texas. He holds four degrees: two AAS, a BA in journalism, and an MA in English.
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