Tuesday, August 02, 2022



Howdy, y'all! To readers, in East Tennessee, don't we need more rain? It's been too dry, for too long! Okay, that was my dry humor – on yet another partly cloudy day. I reckon that the rain may come later this afternoon, as usual, unless it goes around us again.

The inspiration, for this article, comes from “The Bull and Baseball,” on Blind Pig & the Acorn, by guest writer, Garland Davis, 7/22/2022. Please pause reading here, to read that article. It's down right funny! Garland Davis explains how the bull “. . . took up the shortstop’s position.” His words created a video image in my mind! I commented, on that article, on 7/22/2022. Thanks, Tipper, for publishing Garland's article!

This is Not the Bull

The photograph, below, is not part of my story. It, however, may help you imagine the video, which I hope that my story creates, in your mind.

The bull is not “in the barn!” He's in the barnyard. That bull does look as big and mean – as the bull that I hope that my mental image video creates for you.

My Hornets then the Bull Story

The Setting

When I was a boy, Mom and Dad rented the old Livesay place – just off dead man's curve, near Highway 11W. The old farm house had an upstairs and downstairs. The coal furnace was in the unfinished basement. (Mom stored her canning, on the basement shelves.) The pump piped spring water, from the spring house to the house. (The spring house was about 100 yards or so, from the house.) Dad heated with either coal or wood. (I busted up a lot of coal and split a lot of wood.) The wood stove, in the living room, and the coal or wood stove, in the kitchen, helped the furnace (when it worked). We knew how to sleep under several layers of blankets in winter. Mom and Dad moved us to our new home, in 1974, the year that I started high school. The old Livesay place served Mom, Dad, and us four boys. (My youngest brother was born in 1973, so he doesn't remember the Livesay place very well.)

The Livesay homeplace was part of the Livesay farm. I had a lot of fun, roaming the fields and hills. Two barns, another barn, for tractors and such, a smoke house, a chicken coop, and an old two-seater outhouse were meant for exploring – well, except the outhouse. We had indoor plumbing.

I'm the eldest of four boys. I was lucky to have two guys, my age, nearby. We all lived within a few cow fields of each other. One of the guys had a younger brother, who was about the age of my brother, who is next to me in age. The five of us boys hiked, camped, built a couple of tree houses, jumped our bicycles across cow ponds, swung on grapevines, skated on iced ponds, snow sledded, had firecracker and BB gun wars, had tobacco stick wars, in barn rafters, and had a lot of fun together. I'm surprised that we survived childhood.

The “Jump from the Barn Loft” Game

One game that we played was “jump from the barn loft.” One of the barns had ladder, to climb up to the loft. The loft had a door (usually open) that opened, to the ground below (where humans, cattle, tractors, and wagons could come and go). Through that door, hay bales could be tossed, from the ground, up to the loft, or visa versa. The drop, from the loft to the dirt below, was about six feet or so – as well as I can remember.

My buddies and I played “jump from the barn loft” often enough. It was fun! Sometimes, we played tag, while doing it. Often, in a who got tagged order, we'd form a line and take turns, jumping from the loft to the ground below. We'd go back around, climb back up, and jump again – several times – until we got tired.

My Last Jump

On a fine, sunny, summer day, the five of us boys were hard at our game! We'd been at it a while. It was getting close to noon, dinner time (or “lunch,” as Yankees call it). Mom had vittles for us. We were hungry.

I was the last to jump. My buddies had already jumped and headed to the house. Alone, I must have been piddling around, a while. (Start your mental video recording now.) Finally, I smacked the top of the loft, with my left hand, before I jumped. I remember yelling “Geronimo!” I was feeling my oats!

The Hornets then the Bull

I don't know why that we hadn't seen the hornets nest, up in the dark, left corner! I had smacked their nest. The hornets came after me, as I landed on the ground.

The bull, standing a few feet away, also greeted me. (We had been warned, to watch out for him, but we hadn't seen him.) I saw him, about a second after I'd jumped! He was standing, near where I'd landed, looking mean. He dug one front hoof into the dirt. He snorted.

I took off running, from the barn, through the field, and toward the house! The fence line was about 20 yards, away from the barn. The house was about another 50 or so yards, from the fence line. The hornets stung me a few times. The bull chased me. I could hear him snort – as I ran -- while the hornets were stinging me.

I out ran the bull and slid, under the barbed wire fence, just in time. (Our dogs, Bandit and Blackie, had dug out that spot, under the fence, so that they could crawl through.) That effort had saved me, from the bull!

The hornets were still after me. I had to jump over a gate, to get to the gravel road that led to the house. (Usually, I'd climb over the gate. I managed to jump over it that day!) I ran, into the kitchen, through the open screen door. I recall hollering, “Open the door! Hornets are chasing me!” Someone held the door open. The metal spring closed the door automatically, once I was inside. That stopped the hornets. Hornets bounced against that screen door, a while, but they flew off, eventually.

Mom, bless her heart, treated my hornet stings – about four or five, mostly on my neck and head. I ate dinner, finally. I had to take it easy, a couple of days, while Mom treated the hornet stings, until they healed. My buddies and I didn't play “jump from the barn loft” a while – if we ever did again. (You may turn off your mental video recording. Be sure to save the tape!)


Over the years, I have told, many times, my “the hornets then the bull” story. I've told it to young folks – at youth rallies, at church camps, and so forth – to make a spiritual point, which I will do next.

The inspired apostle Peter wrote (emboldening added, for emphasis):

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11, NIV)

The inspired James wrote (emboldening added, for emphasis):

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7, NIV)

I “resisted” those hornets and that bull – by running away quickly! My “resistance” did not force the hornets and the bull, to flee from me. I had to flee from them!

The devil, or Satan, is a “roaring lion,” who wishes “to devour” us. Satan, however, is not as powerful, as we sometimes think that he is. When we submit to God, cast our cares on Him, endure suffering a little while, and resist the devil, then Satan will run away from us! Yes, Satan may “devil” us plenty, but it will be only a little while – when we think in the everlasting perspective.

Lord, my faith stands firm and trusts in you! Devil, I resist you, by faith in Christ, so tuck tail and run away from me! Satan, you lose. God wins. I stand firmly with the winning team.

Y'all are welcome to share my “hornets then the bull” story – either just for fun or, more importantly, to help folks tell the devil to go run off somewhere else and to leave them alone! That lying Satan will flee from folks, who submit to God and resist the devil.

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