The Herald-Journal of Greene County, an hour-and-a-half drive out Interstate 20 from Atlanta, recently carried what I consider to be one of the all-time news stories.
Maybe THE all-time news story. Keep in mind, the Herald- Journal is no National Enquirer.
It doesn’t carry stories about Hitler being alive and well on Neptune or stories about a woman giving birth to a duck, although the story I referred to earlier, to me, is even a bigger eye-popper.
I’ll give the article’s headline first:
«The Lord Speaks to Pep Stone Warning Him Not to Go to Hay Field Where Over $30,000 in Machinery was Stolen in the Early Morning.»
Long headline, I realize, but the reader got all the facts in a hurry.
Local citizen Pep Stone, the article stated, has been in the hay business in Greene County since 1948. He awakened one recent morning at two o’clock. It was raining. Pep Stone had a hayfield he hadn’t covered the day before. He decided he’d better go to the field and cover it.
The article quoted Pep: «I was still in bed, fixing to put on my overalls, when a voice came to me and said, ‘Don’t go, you will get hurt.'» Pep went back to bed. When he awakened again, he and a friend drove to the hayfield 10 miles away. At the gate they found the lock had been shot away. «My eyes got big and my heart skipped fast when I realized that someone had stolen my tractor and hay baler. I had paid $30,000 for this equipment,»
Pep was quoted further. Tough break, but Pep put it all in perspective. «I am living today,» he said, «because of my religious belief. It was a voice that spoke loud and clear.
I honestly believe if I had gone down to the hayfield, I would have been killed. I can buy some more equipment,» he went on, «but I can’t replace my life.»
A friend who knows Pep well told me «Pep’s in church every time the door opens. If he says the Lord spoke to him, I’m not going to doubt it one bit.»
Obviously the Herald-Journal didn’t, either. Refer to the headline and realize it didn’t say,
«Pep Stone says the Lord Spoke to Him….»
It said, «The Lord Speaks to Pep Stone….»
There is a huge difference. Most newspapers would have used the first headline, casting some degree of doubt of the Lord’s personal warning.
Did the Lord actually speak to Pep or did Pep just say the Lord did? Not the Herald- Journal.
It took Pep’s word and told us in something close to 36- point type that the Lord did indeed get in touch with a Greene County man and save the man from harm’s way, and that’s what I call a major league news story.
Do you realize the news of the Lord speaking to a mortal is bigger than news that Hitler is alive and well, a woman has given birth to a duck or that Elvis is running a car wash on the outskirts of Little Rock?
Of course it is. It says to atheists they’d better make an immediate turnaround.
It says a marquee in front of a local church I rode past was absolutely correct:
«Draw nigh with God and God will draw nigh with you.»
It also says there’s a small town out there with a newspaper that has cast away the cynical nature of most other newspapers so that if a God-fearing local citizen says the Lord spoke to him, who is the local newspaper to cast any doubt as to the veracity of his words? Most other newspapers could use a little of that, too. Verily, verily, double-verily.
— Lewis Grizzard