Stubborn Etta Sits on a Posthole

You are nothing more than a stubborn cow – so stubborn that I, the LORD,
cannot feed you like lambs in an open pasture.
Hosea 4:16 (CEV)

Great-Grandma Etta was an iron-willed, old German woman. She stood six-feet tall and, to put it politely, she had a sturdy build. When something upset Etta, nobody got in her way.

During the summer of 1900, the telephone company arrived to install wooden poles and string phone lines along Lake Avenue where Etta lived. She was eager to get a telephone, but Etta wasn’t thrilled when a workman came along with a posthole digger. He set the blade at a spot parallel to her front door and took a bite out of the grassy parkway.

Etta stormed out of the house. “Vat are you doing? You cannot put a post der!”

The workman was tall, like Etta, and just as broad. “Yeah, well, it’s goin’ there,” he said. “We put ‘em an equal distance apart, and this one goes here.”

Etta threw back her shoulders and raised her chin. “Not in my front yard,” she said.

The workman leaned on the handle of the digger. “Lady, this isn’t your front yard. This grassy strip here, along the street, it belongs to the city.”

“Den da city vil have to make udder plans,” Etta said. “Because I do NOT give my permission.”

The workman shook his head, snickered and plunged the digger's blade into the ground. He may as well have stuck a knife into Etta’s heart. Thank goodness a neighbor came out just then and calmed her down. Etta stood with hands on hips watching the man dig. “You vil not put a post in dat hole,” she warned. “I vil not look out my front vindow at an ugly old post!”

The workman ignored her. He finished digging and quickly moved on.

All day long, Etta sat by her front window waiting for the post truck to arrive. When the truck finally rolled down Lake Avenue carrying poles and four workmen, Etta bolted out the front door and did the unthinkable. She sat down on top of the posthole. “Over my dead body!” she shouted to the men.

They tried to reason with Etta, but she wouldn’t listen. They even tried to pick her up and get her off the hole, but Etta dug in her heels and resisted. Finally, someone summoned the police.

Officer Mahoney walked the beat on Lake Avenue, and he’d spent many summer evenings sipping lemonade on Etta’s front porch. It worried him when he saw her plopped there on the posthole. “Etta! Why in the world are you sitting on the ground?” He reached for her hand, and she took it. Believe me, no one else could have gotten Etta off of that hole. You see, she trusted Mahoney’s judgment. After only a few gentle words, he convinced Etta to let the men set the post.

Are you stubborn like Etta? Are you resisting God? Then reach out, take His hand and let him pull you off your posthole. His Word says, "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger (Proverbs 15:1).

Dear Lord, Whenever I'm stubborn, speak gently to my heart and guide me toward your perfect will. Amen


CMPointer said...

Beautiful. I think there's a little of Etta in all of us. Although, I'm with Etta on this one. I wouldn't have wanted a post to look at every time I walked out my front door.

Thanks for sharing!
Caroline Pointer

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

Great post, Jean! I'm afraid stubborn is part of my genetic make-up, and something I have to (need to) fight all the time.

Jean Fischer said...

I have my great-grandmother's stubborn gene, too. There are many more family stories about Etta, some of which I may write about here in the future. I didn't know her, but from what my grandmother told me she was an amazing woman.

Thank you Caroline and Sherry for commenting.


quietspirit said...

We all have a smidgen of stubborness in us. A lot of us deal with the Ettas of our families.

Thank you for reminding us that we all need to trust God a bit more than we do.

Jean Fischer said...

Hi, quietspirit.

A little bit of stubbornness might not be a bad thing. Grandma Etta was also stubborn about defending her Christian faith. I admire her strength and convictions.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting :-)


Dee said...

As I was reading this, I felt sorry for Etta. I understand why she wouldn't want to look at a post...I wonder if they would have allowed her to paint or decorate the post so it would be more appealing?

Jean Fischer said...

Back in the day, they plopped those posts wherever the next one went without much thought to blocking the view. I can still remember that old telephone pole. When I was little, it was finally replaced, and the new one was NOT smack dab in the middle of the parkway. I wonder if someone remembered Grandma Etta sitting in the post hole.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I was struck by the fact it took someone with a relationship to calm her down. She wouldn't listen to a demanding stranger.

Wonderful story, Jean. Thank you.

Susan :)

Jean Fischer said...

I like your insight, Susan. How often do we hear the inner voice of that demanding stranger and find ourselves calmed down by the still, small voice of our Heavenly Father?

Thanks for commenting.



I'm proud to be a contributing author to the following series of humorous devotionals.
And check out my "Kid's Bible Dictionary" and pre-teen mysteries, also from Barbour.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.
Click on the picture.
I am the author of these books, but I have not been compensated for mentioning them on this blog or linking them to the seller's website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

By Max Lucado, Published by Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado has a unique way with words, and his children's book Hermie A Common Caterpillar is no exception. With simple text and bright, watercolor illustrations, the story of Hermie unfolds.

Hermie wonders why he looks and feels so common. Whenever he asks God why, God simply answers, "I'm not finished with you yet." Then, one day, Hermie feels very tired. He gets into his cozy, leafy bed, and he sleeps. And while Hermie sleeps a transformation takes place. When he wakes up, Hermie discovers that God has done something grand. You can guess what it is. Every caterpillar that lives to adulthood knows the end of the story.

Parents, please share this book and its powerful message with your children. We are all special because God loves us, and He has a unique purpose for our lives. Whenever we slump into feeling ordinary, we know that we have hope because . . .God isn't finished with us yet!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

©text on this blog copyrighted 2012 by Jean Fischer unless otherwise credited. You may link to the blog, but please don't reprint the text without my permission.

  © Blogger template Shush by 2009

Back to TOP