The Chickwrights

May He grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your counsel. (Psalms 20:4 WEB)

 Life in our home was like living on the Ponderosa. Just call us the Chickwrights. The advantages which I have include a wife, still alive, and a daughter to even out the antics of my three sons. (That sounds like a good title for a TV series.)

As I wrote this we lived in a flat which overlooked the plains of Burgenland to the East, Vienna to the north and the Vienna Woods to the West. Our children rode the trails to and from Vienna (Virginia City) undertaking adventure after adventure. Meanwhile, I kept the home front, with my marvelous wife, and dispensed wisdom and expert directions as situations arose and fell. I’m a Pa, proud of his family.

1993furl_024One year we were traveling through Nevada and I hijacked the scheduled plan to divert us to visit the original Ponderosa. First we stopped in Virginia City to stomp the wooden walkways and relive the past. Next it was on to the Ponderosa.

I was thrilled. My children thought I was nuts. I remember when I was young and our family watched the colorful peacock fanning its tail on TV before the beginning of each program. Then we watched as Pa, Little Joe, Hoss and Adam rode across the plains ready to stand for justice against the evil forces of the world. I didn’t want to miss a single episode.

We parked our car, paid the entrance fee and sauntered up the hill to the most famous ranch in history. There I was. I was finally standing before a log cabin I knew as well as my own home. I was in memory heaven. My television world was brought to life. To enhance my excitement, they were filming a new “Return to the Ponderosa” episode that day. What more could I ask for?

It was one of my dreams come true. Famous and not so famous stars walked the dusty streets. Occasionally someone would shout for quiet as they filmed another segment of the pending show. In all the excitement I discovered some very important facts.

First, the Ponderosa is indeed located beside Lake Tahoe. Second, the burning map, which introduced each episode, was correct even though north was on the left and not the top of the map! But, that is where reality ended.

Virginia City, the movie version, not the real one, sat right behind the Cartwright homestead. It was much smaller than I remember from the show. The homestead itself was a deception. The sprawling two story cabin was in truth a one room cabin. The extensions and upper floors were fake. They were created by the mechanics of Hollywood special effects.

A lot of Christians are like movie sets. Outside they appear to be larger than life capturing our attention. When we draw close to look inside the doors we discover something is missing. The inside is hollow, useless. It only exists in the imagination.

In Luke six Jesus tells us the good things come from inside, from the heart. On the other hand, evil things come from the same place. What people see in me as they open the doors reflects my walk with God. Do they see good things or evil? I pray they see God things.


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