Some people leave their imprint over a lifetime, others impact you in a day!
Last June, Shannan and I met Harry Moody along an Alabama country road. We were not looking for him, but we're sure glad we found him. A side excursion to the Jesse Owens Museum took us right by Harry's family farm.
Lt. Col. Thomas Harry Moody was a retired Chaplain for the United States Army where he had served 40 years. He loved God, his wife, his family, his country -- and cars! His property was covered with old cars. Needless to say, we hit it off.
Harry allowed me to take a Car Safari through his property. I tracked old Mustangs and Cougars -- the kind with wheels not legs. I saw Corvettes, military Jeeps, a dune buggy, trucks from the 50's and 60's, a `39 Ford Coupe, a '29 Roadster, an old Oldsmobile convertible, a panel truck -- and much, much more. The hunting was good. Harry even fired up one of his hot-rod corvettes.
Looking back, I remember many of the cars from pictures, but I remember Harry from the conversation. He pulled out his wallet and showed us dog-eared photos from his days of serving our country in Iraq. He spoke of family and ministry. I did the same. Before we left he asked us, "Have you prayed today?" And right there we grabbed hands and gave thanks to God. It was a good day!
One month later we were returning from my study break in Arkansas so we took the same "slower route" to stop by and see Harry. It was dusk when we arrived. No bother. Harry invited us to pull up a seat under his old oak tree. You have to picture the scene: It was a warm July evening. A dusty white square of carpet lay over a sandy piece of ground. A dog curled up nearby, undisturbed by the cats lying next to him. A old truck was perched on blocks. Various cars in various states of completion were all around us. I sat in a beat-up barber chair, Shannan and Harry in old metal lawn chairs. We talked and reminisced. It got dark, then very, very dark. Mosquitoes arrived. Harry passed around the bug spray, and we continued to talk. Finally, it was time to go.
As we prepared to leave, Harry looked at Shannan and said something I will never forget: "Everyone who comes here asks about the cars," he said, "nobody ever asks about me. But you have. You have given me a great gift."
Two weeks ago, Shannan and I were in Memphis for a study break. We took the "slower route" home because it was scenic and I wanted to stop to see Harry and his cars. As I drove down his road, I thought I made a wrong turn. There were no cars to be seen. I drove farther up the road thinking I had missed a turn. Then I doubled back and it hit me. "THEY ARE ALL GONE!" I was dumbfounded. I called Harry, but got no answer so I left a message.
Last Friday, I received a call from Melba Moody, Harry's wife of 45 years. She shared the disheartening news that Harry had a heart attack in November and went to be with the Lord. Consequently, Melba sold all the cars to a friend. We talked and we prayed, and my heart ached!
Today, I am sad and I am grateful! I am sad for Melba and her family, and I am sad I won't be able to see Harry again this side of heaven. But I am grateful. I am grateful God gave me a two-day friend who prayed with me in the middle of a field and who reminded me that people are so much more important than stuff.
So thank you, Lord. Thank you for my two-day friend, Thomas Harry Moody, my 21st century Barnabas. Like the early follower of Jesus, He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Acts 11:24 ESV