Bill Riddle is a retired newspaper editor and political consultant who chucked it all away a decade ago to become a family therapist. He is still pretty new to the Portico family, but hopes his love for writing stories will help him connect with new friends here. Inspired by 1 Peter 4:10, Bill shares this story.
Moses is not a biscuit and gravy man. But he does like omelets, Spanish ones, with dry toast, as I recall. And he also enjoys a good, stout cup of Joe: “No creamer, just dark please.” And with that voice–yes, that voice—not a single server under the sun could have ever gotten the breakfast order wrong.
As we sat there at the Holiday Inn in Memphis, I was mesmerized by everything about this legend: his hair was perfect, especially for an old guy; there wasn’t a follicle out of line. And his teeth. My, what dentist was responsible for that gorgeous set, that gorgeous, full set of teeth: white as a new piano’s keys? Incredible, actually. And Moses’ voice: mighty as a raging river, deep as an Ozark valley. Yet mellow as a lovebird’s song. Authority. Confidence. Certainty. Control. And Pleasantness. No wonder the Pharaoh, let his people go!
We talked about the parting of the Red Sea that morning. About how incredibly it had all come to pass for the much of the world to see. He was not pretentious about how nervous he had sometimes been about the task he’d been handed. Humbly, he thundered, “Of all men, who was I to step into such a role?” He talked about the fears and the setbacks, about the negative naysayers who said it could never be done, about the challenge of trying to persuade everyone to just stay focused, to encourage one another, to not quit, to just…believe.
Thing is, he had me so convinced, persuaded, so mesmerized as he relived his Red Sea adventures (from the movie The Ten Commandments) that early Memphis morning that my newspaper photographer leaned in behind me, and reminded me that we were actually there to do a story on a certain Congressional candidate for that district. Some poor drab, milquetoast, non-descript fellow who thought he could make a difference in Washington. I don’t even remember his name.
But Moses: ah, I will never forget his name. Heston. Charlton Heston. The Hollywood legend who had captured the fascination of the entire world with his award-winning roles as Ben Hur, Michelangelo, Marc Antony and El Cid. Mighty movies like Midway, Airport, Earthquake and a little iconic something called Planet of the Apes.
But for me, he was and is, and shall forever be…Moses, the leader of the Exodus, the walk toward freedom.
What a guy! What a leader! Yes, both the real Moses, and…Chuck. Yes, he insisted on it. (I reminded the newspaper photographer that he was to call him Mr. Heston.)
Haven’t thought about that day in quite a while. But every time I’m in Memphis, I try to have breakfast at the Holiday Inn.
So, that’s my little story today. Thing is, all Christians, non-Christians, too, have a story to tell. So if stories are your gift, tell them. If listening is your gift, hear them.
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” I Peter 4:10
~ Bill Riddle