Roe Tate, older brother of Speck, Poden and Dick, was a most respected citizen of Sandy Valley, even though he had never seen clear to attach himself to the body of Christ. He faithfully attended meetings of the congregation, and believed and lived by the truths taught therein. Perhaps more firmly than most he was dearly devoted to the doctrine of divine decrees. What God decreed would not fail to happen in God's time. Roe's commitment confirmed his status as a bachelor and his life outside the Sandy Valley congregation. God had neither determined that he have a wife, nor revealed to him whether he was among God's chosen. None of these things abated his attachment to the things of God.
Uncle Roe, as all respected older men were labeled -- unless they were Pa or Grandpa or Elder or Deacon -- lived on his farm mostly unaffected by modern conveniences. With old age creeping nigh, he often paid someone to help with some of the larger farm tasks. Unattached to the Sandy Valley congregation, he was free to hire the excommunicated Ellis Woodenby, which he did on this necessary occasion. Ellis was a night time gad-about, but he never failed to give Roe Tate an honest day's work.
When Ellis arrived Uncle Roe turned over the reins of his fully laden wagon to Ellis and they made their trek to the South Hill field. In the late afternoon a furious thunder and lightning storm swiftly rolled in on them. Unable to outrun it, Ellis pulled their drenched wagon (and selves) up under a sprawling oak tree that afforded some protection. Sizing up the situation, Roe looked at Ellis with grave concern and slowly drawled, "Ellis, you ort-n-a pulled up under this tree with all this lightning a-goin' on."
With a wry grin Ellis replied, "Now Uncle Roe, you know it won't matter if it ain't your time."
Slowly Uncle Roe nodded a somewhat reluctant agreement. "Yes, Ellis...but I was a-thinkin' it might be yore time!"