Is it our imagination, or do our readers agree, that here at Ringing Bell Headquarters, we spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with Wilbur Varnado’s escapades?
It just so happened that one day this week, the entire Ringing Bell staff had the day off, except for one lone senior staff member. Well, of course, Wilbur picked that day to allow Aunt Lucy to chase him up one of the tall poplars at the rear of Headquarters.
“Help,” he yowled. “Somebody get me down.”
Mama Kitty, ever on alert, heard her son and scampered up the tree to his aid.
“Look, Wilbur, all you have to do is follow me.” She circled the trunk, stepping lightly, and shimmied down the tree with amazing speed.
When she reached the bottom, she looked up. “See, nothing to it.”
“I’m scared,” Wilbur cried. “I can’t do it.”
“Can’t never could,” Mama Kitty said. She stretched out on the ground and pulled on a fur tuft between her toes. After spitting it out she said, “Listen Wilbur, you have to face your fear. You’ll never get out of that tree standing up there howling.”
It’s at this point Wilbur resorted to doing what most do when caught in a tough situation. He bargained.
“If someone will get me down, I promise not to steal any more of the fish’s food. I won’t stalk Isabelle on the stairs. I won’t bite Charles Varnado’s fuzzy poodle tail…” he paused, “I won’t bite Charles Varnado’s fuzzy poodle tail very often…”
“Okay, Wilbur, I’ll help,” the lone staff member said. She proceeded to drag a painter’s ladder over to Wilbur’s tree. But even after climbing up, clinging to the tree, standing on the step clearly marked, “Do not stand on this step,” and extending her hand as far as she could, she could only reach Wilbur’s toe tips.
Wilbur howled even louder. "I'm never going to get out of this tree."
“Now, hold on,” she said. After thinking a moment, she climbed back down, grabbed a chaise lounge cushion, ascended once more, and tied it in the tree thinking it might cushion a jump to a lower limb.
Wilbur ignored it. “I’m scared,” he cried again.
She then wrestled a long curtain rod pole out of a storage building, again scaled the ladder and used it to bridge a span from the limb Wilbur was on to a lower limb in a neighboring tree. Wilbur did somehow muster the courage to cross the span to the lower limb. But alas, still found himself gripped by fear.
There was so much stuff hanging up in the tree, Ringing Bell neighbors later commented they thought the Swiss Family Robinson had moved in next door.
How would Wilbur ever get out of the Poplar tree?
The staff member prayed, “Lord, we need your wisdom here at Headquarters. How can I help Wilbur get down?”
Then, a thought crossed her mind. Stand on a ladder and pull the lower end of the limb down so Wilbur can see your face.
She did, and Wilbur who had previously been too scared to walk out more than a few inches on a limb, crept all the way to the end and the staff member grabbed him.
We’re all resting here at headquarters after such an ordeal…
…but meditating on the lesson we learned through Wilbur’s adventure.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:2)
“Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus” (Matthew 14:29)
Signing off for all at Ringing Bell Headquarters. Check with us often for more from the critters you've come to know and love.