Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mr. Tweedy and the hand of God. . .

The intertwined interworkings of life. . . The tapestry of life’s events that God has woven, completely beyond random happenstance that convinced me. . . from a hard core evangelical atheist for the first 45 years of my life, into now believing in God so fervently and so completely that today I am an Apostolic Pentecostal minister. . . . Don’t try to tell me it is coincidence that would stretch belief far more than believing in God. . . .

I began working at Speedgrip Chuck, Inc. in 1979. I was 25 years old, and I had only a few months before, been discharged from my 3 year tour in the U.S. Army. I began working as a machinist. I worked on the night shift, attending college, on the G.I. Bill during the day for about 3 years. My major was computer technology. . . computer programming.

I enjoyed working in the factory. I have fond memories of my time as a machinist, but I desired more. I spoke with the shop management, and I told them that while I liked working at Speedgrip very much, that I desired to put my college training to use. Within a few months I was given an entry level position in the engineering department.

There had been a recent change in the department, and as the former chief engineer departed, Jim Tweedy, one of the designers was promoted to head of the engineering department. Jim was a wonderful mentor. He was truly a father figure to me. A kindly pipe smoking, man. . always with a twinkle in his eye, and a smile on his lips.

He was truly a good man. . . a teacher. . . a role model. . . a friend. . . . a man, dare I say it, I loved greatly. He was never reluctant to share his knowledge of work holding. . . patient, never demeaning. . . a little joke. . . a kind word, even when correcting you, he was good and kind. I cannot ever remember seeing Jim angry, or hear him utter a cross word.

I clearly remember being bent over my drawing board one afternoon, maybe three or four years after I had come into the department. I was seated directly opposite him. My drafting board faced his in the corner of the engineering room. . . I remember a realization broke upon me, like a great wave, and I quite loudly exclaimed. . .”JIM TWEEDY!!!” filling the room with my voice. It wasn’t any current conversation or anything that I can place my finger upon which triggered this thought, but I was suddenly aware, that Jim Tweedy was the father of a girl that I had been head over heels in love with in late jr. high school, and maybe the first year of high school.

Becky Tweedy and I had lots of late night phone calls, and exchange of letters. She was already in love with another fellow, whom she later married. Hers was a long distance love, as he lived a couple of states away, and she seldom saw him. I had high hopes, which never came to any fruition, but we talked and talked in particular at least one whole summer. . . it might have been between my 9th and 10th grades, but in any respect this same Jim Tweedy was Becky’s father. I had been to his house, never meeting him that I recall, but I had been to his house on several occasions.
Jim retired in 1988, and passed away Wednesday evening March 19, 2003.

Link to Jim Tweedy’s obituary:


Thursday morning, I learned of Jim’s death. That morning my sister Sue, had asked me to give her a ride somewhere. . . if I remember correctly, I think it was to a defensive driving class that she had to take for a ticket that she had received, but I cannot remember for certain.

On the way to taking her to her class, I stopped at the Goodwill store on Jackson Street here in Elkhart. For some who may be unfamiliar, Goodwill stores specialize in selling second hand goods, from household items, to clothing, tools, furniture, and books. For quite a number of years I would frequent nearly every Goodwill store that I passed, looking for books.

On this morning. . . the morning of learning of Mr. Tweedy’s death, I notice the spine of a book, “MR. TWEEDY” by Anne Marie Schilling, and attached to this post was the cover of the book.
Seeing this cover picture for the first time, very much intrigued me. . . A hugely integral part of God opening my eyes, and dispelling my unbelief involved a robin. . . actually a pair of baby robins which I rescued and placed in my black tennis shoes to keep them warm, as I and a friend returned them to their nest. These shoes were very very similar to the ones I wore as a child, with the exception that due to my bad feet, my tennies were always high tops. . . black high top Red Ball Jets. I still remember the jingle. . .run faster. . . jump higher. . . Red Ball Jets. . .Some 50+ years later, my eyes tear up recalling the event that spring morning in 1965 or so which looked so so much like this book cover illustration.

You can read the full account of my testimony here:

When I got home that night, I began reading the book with fascination. The book, a true story was written about Mrs. Schilling’s son, Dave. . . who rescued a robin, and that event changed Dave’s life. On Saturday morning before my Mr. Tweedy’s funeral, I read the closing scene of the book. . . as Mr. Tweedy flew off, in all likelihood never to be seen again. . .and the final words, “With Dave and Mr. Tweedy, anything is possible. . .”  I wept and wept reading that passage. . . as I prepared to go to My Mr. Tweedy's funeral. . .

The book was published in 1970. I have tried to locate Mrs. Schilling or a relative to find out more about the writing of the book. Published in 1970. . . obviously written some years before that, it is not beyond possibility, that the Dave in the book rescued his baby robin, even the same spring that I rescued mine.

In the book after an amazing time, Dave gives Mr. Tweedy his freedom. In my life, the little robins I rescued, were instrumental in my finding my freedom.

Coincidences. . . too many to number. The book. . . the day of Mr. Tweedy’s death, my going to Goodwill that particular morning. . . I went there probably 3 days a week or more, and seeing that particular book. . . The book written about Dave and a robin, it could as easily have been written about a girl named Sally, and a sparrow, or a boy named John, and a blue bird. . . and on and on and on. I just read the first lines of Jim Tweedy's obituary:

James I. Tweedy, 78, of 60220 Robin Hood Lane, died in his home at 4:25 p.m. Wednesday (March 19, 2003). Mr. Tweedy was born in Wabash on Feb. 7, 1925, to Lawrence and Minnie (Bilbee) Tweedy,

My word. . . He lived on Robin Hood Lane. . .I never noticed that before.

Looking back my life is an intertwined fabric of people, and events. . . all leading me to God. . . .
I love you my God. . .
I have so much to thank You for. . .
Many many people were used to bring me to you. . .
and incredibly. . . a pair of shivering baby robins
. . .thrown from their nest by a spring thunderstorm storm when I was a boy. . .


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