Sunday, November 8, 2020

Take a Slow Ride

by Martin Wile @LinesFrom God

Rarely did the speedometer register over twenty-five miles per hour in any old pickup he drove.

As long as I knew him, my maternal grandfather—Pappy we called him—never got in a hurry. He didn’t have to punch a time clock—he was a farmer. But he did have somewhat of a schedule. He got up at five every morning, dressed, drank a cup of Sanka instant coffee, and went to the wrap-around porch of his old farmhouse—the house he and my grandmother had once rented, but now owned. 

And there he sat in an old lawn chair. As he waited for the sun to top the pines that bordered his farmland, he smoked either Chesterfield or Camel non-filter cigarettes and swatted at flies that visited from two chicken houses that were nestled across the road and at the other end of a large flatland field. 

By the time the sun crested the tall, long-leaf pines, my grandmother had breakfast cooked—a breakfast that would test even the heartiest of arteries. After eating, Pappy might do a little plowing on his small red Farmall tractor, ride over to another farm he owned and check the crops, check his fence rows to make sure no hogs had rooted out, or drive two miles to town to Bert Sweat’s General Store where he and other farmers would gather for a Pepsi or a Coke and a pack of Nabs. 

Regardless of where my grandfather went, he took a slow ride in his pickup—and my cousin and I loved to ride with him. If we weren’t sitting on the edge of the truck bed, we were standing up behind the cab, letting the wind blow in our faces or throwing dead Magnolia tree blossoms at road signs. Innocent fun. But our favorite thing was sitting on the tailgate and dragging our feet on the asphalt as my grandfather puttered along. Something that was legal back in the day. 

When I think of these slow rides to town or to Pappy’s other farm, I think of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Good friends of Jesus who often had Him over for a meal or just fellowship. On this occasion, Martha busied herself preparing a meal.“But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing (Luke 10:40 NLT).

Mary, though, took a slow ride, which caused her sister to complain to Jesus. But Jesus soon set Martha straight. Mary’s slow ride benefitted her more than Martha’s fast-paced ride. 

COVID slowed us down for a while, but it only took a few months for the pace to pick back up. In our busy world, everyone wants a piece of us. Employers want countless hours. Others want our time, talents, and money. And the entertainment world wants any free time we have left over. All of this is compounded by advances in technology. Slowing down isn’t easy. In fact, it won’t happen unless we make a concerted effort.

My cousin and I could have easily found something else to busy ourselves with, but we chose the slow ride. And those lazy days around the farm have helped me understand the necessity of taking slow rides in life. Slow rides mean better physical, emotional, and—most of all—spiritual health. 

So, go ahead and take a slow ride. You won’t regret it, your family will appreciate it, and your enjoyment of life will move to a higher level.


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Busy World, released in December 2019. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.


  1. This was beautiful to read. It is how I would like to write. Thank you Martin Wiles. I'm going to print this out so I can re-read it a few more times in order to learn and grow in my own writing. I'm also going to check out your book, Whisper in the Woods. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Also thank you Edie Melson for posting this. I enjoy most stories you post.

  2. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! Riding in the back of the pick-up, was a highlight of summer days.

  3. A great post this morning. I felt so good reading it - put me in a more slowed down feeling. Loved the story, and it brought back memories of those times years ago when life was on a slower pace. Made me feel good to go back in time.

  4. Wow! So reminded me of walking a mile to our 3-traffic light town with Grandpaw and visiting all 4 barber shops. The long visits in each one. Then walking back home. But don't get caught at 6 a.m. in their house or you'd be milking or hoeing in the garden. They worked from dawn to dusk, every day, in the only house they ever owned. Except for Sunday (church day) and prayer meetings in their living room on Wednesday evening with the neighbors. Amazing role models in dramatically less hectic times. Thanks for your great post.
    Jay in SC

  5. Besides the good reminders in your story to slow down, this was an absolutely delightful read. You are a gifted writer!

  6. What a delightful trip back in time, when I, too, rode in the back of my dad's pickup truck. Sometimes when he drove into our lane I hopped onto the running board of his old truck (I'm aging myself here) and rode down to the barn. I have warm memories of holding conversations with my dad as he worked on his tractors. We both would sit on overturned five-gallon buckets, he to tinker with machinery and I to pick his brain and learn his philosophy of life. He instilled a lot of common sense into me during those casual conversations.