The Man on Bradford Street

I want to tell you a story, now I must warn you; attempting to draw or in this case write.
 A pure parallel from the natural to spiritual is a suicide mission, there is nothing on earth that ever relates to the true  Love and Greatness of God in a true parallel fashion. But we can see Godly characteristics in the characters, and that is my goal here.

Now, may I tell you a story?
There once lived a man on Bradford Street, now Bradford Street was the only street in the small community of Helmen, it is a community of about fifteen homes, one gas station, and one small market. The man I want to tell you about is Bill Bradford; Bill was a widower of almost twenty five years. Twenty five years ago his wife and ten year old son were on their way back home from visiting relatives one town over, when the car hit a patch of ice and skidded out of control, he lost them both that night.
Bill never remarried, he dedicated himself to his work right up until retirement, and Bill had been retired now for six months.
The community of Helmen was basically just a long stretch of road, with homes on both sides, the gas station on the north end, and the market on the south end both on the same side, Bill lived one house from the market.

On the north end of the community a new family had just moved in to one of the older homes near the gas station, it wasn’t a big home, and wasn’t new by the stretch of anyone’s imagination. It was a small ranch style house, just right for a family of two, and those two were a mom and her son, Tammy and Mark Samson. Tammy was about forty and Mark was ten. They had left the city after her husband had passed away from a heart attack. Tammy had now, had to go to work in the textile plant down the highway. And Helmen was only ten minutes from the plant. 

The mom and the son had not had it easy since the husbands passing, but they had a fairly new car and a home now, and a job just down the highway.
Every afternoon about four, Tammy would send Mark down the street to the market, for the needs of the day, sometimes it was just milk and bread, sometimes a little more. But always the same time, four o’clock.
Now Bill lived on the same side of the street as the market, and Mark would pass right by Bill’s house each day. Well, Bill began to notice this young man coming by each afternoon, like clockwork, four o’clock.

Bill would sit and look out his window every afternoon, because Mark looked a lot like his son that he had lost all those years ago. Bill never went out to introduce himself, he just watched Mark pass by for a week, before he ever inquired who he was. Bill was at the market one morning, when he asked the cashier who was the new folks up the street.
The cashier being privy to all the news of the small community, told Bill their story, of how the husband had died and they had moved away from the city, she finished her story with, I don’t think things have been too easy for them, money’s tight!
Bill headed out with his grocery’s,  and a thanks for the news to the cashier, for the next few days Bill watched every day as Mark walked by, remembering his son.

 As the days passed Bill grew to love the young man, and he didn’t even know him, one afternoon about three thirty, Bill had an idea, he walked to the end of his yard; right where the side walk began. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ten dollar bill, bending down to the side walk he placed the ten in a crack in the side walk, turned around and walked off.
Bill knew there was virtually no walking traffic on the street at that time of day, except Mark. He could only imagine what a single working mom like Tammy had to deal to with, with rent, school for Mark, groceries, and the like. He just smiled to himself and walked back in, every little bit helps he thought to himself.

That afternoon sure enough, four o’clock, Mark walked by, never seeing the money on his way to the market. But on his way back while looking out ahead him, he saw it, and like any child that finds money, he was jumping up and down. And as he headed home, he wasn’t walking anymore, he was running.
Bill sitting by his window, smiling to himself, hoping he had made both Mark’s and Tammy’s afternoon.

 For the next two years Bill Bradford, tucked money in that side walk crack; nearly all the neighborhood had seen him do it at one time or another, because most were retired like Bill and home all day, but not a soul would ever tell Tammy or Mark, because they knew Bill, and what Bill had lost years ago.
 On the days Bill would be gone out of Helmen; the day before Bill left, he would double the amount that day, always seeing to it that Mark and Tammy had what they needed; never seeking any fanfare simply remaining anonymous. You see Bill had loved those two, like they were his every since he had heard their story, because he saw in them, what his family might have faced if it had been him instead of them, in that car years ago. Bill Bradford was guilty of only one thing, loving people without a rational reason. His love for two strangers didn’t make any sense to some, but it didn’t have too, it did to him.

 He never asked anything in return but the opportunity to love them from afar. Over time he would see each of them at the market, he would just speak and smile and move on, back to his home, until one afternoon when Bill was a little late getting out to the side walk, and Mark was a little early.

Mark stood at a distance from the other side of the street, he had walked over to return a book Tammy had borrowed, there he stood and watched Bill tuck the money in the crack, and then walk back in and shut the door. Mark turned around and went back for Tammy, to tell her what he had saw. Both knew the money had come from someone, but now that someone had a name and a face.

Tammy and Mark headed up the street this time together, and they never made it to the market, this time, they picked up the money and walked straight for Bill’s door.
With tears in her eyes, Tammy rang the doorbell, Bill seeing them together on the porch together, he knew, he had been discovered, with a strange reluctance Bill opened the door.
Before Bill could speak, Tammy spoke; it was you all along wasn’t it?

But why? Bill not feeling to comfortable about being found out, began to tell the both of them, about his family, now twenty seven years later. He said; I did it only for an act of caring you both. Tammy looked puzzled, caring for us?
You hardly know us, Bill smiled and said, oh I know you, you remind me of my own family, and they’re no longer here, so I can’t do for them anymore, so I did for you.
Tammy still couldn’t understand, here was this kindly old gentleman, not a dirty old man, not a weirdo, just generous. It didn’t make any sense in this day and age, someone who gave, and asked nothing in return.

Now that the cat was out of the bag, the one who had been their anonymous benefactor, now had a name, a face, and an address, more than that though, Bill Bradford now had a family.
 As time went on he became like a second father to Tammy and Mark. Never changing his ways, now rent payment receipts would show up in her mail box. Bill lived to be a blessing, but the day came without warning, when Bill joined his own family. They found him sitting in his chair, it was like he had taken a nap, and just went on home. But not before one more anonymous surprise, that had been in the works, only months before his passing.
Ninety days after Bill was buried, a man came by from a local lawyer’s office, with a tan envelope for Tammy; Tammy asked the lawyer if she was in any kind trouble?

No, no trouble at all, I was asked to deliver this deed to you, deed to what she asked?
Madam, it’s the deed to the late Bill Bradford’s estate, his intentions were that you and your son receive this, it’s in both your names, it is now your property, at the request of the late Mr. Bradford; I just need you to sign here. Tammy had to sit down, this more than she could take. As the tears flowed down her face, the lawyer stepped back to give her a moment, as she finally composed herself, the lawyer had one final question, in the Will, Mr. Bradford requested that this deed be delivered at exactly four o’clock, any idea why?

Tammy then laughed out loud, and looking up at the man and simply said, family joke; it’s a long story.
As the lawyer departed, Tammy sat there remembering everything Bill Bradford had been to her and Mark, remembering how when times were hard he had intervened anonymously for all those years, never asking anything, and then when he was discovered, things only got better. And now from seemingly the grave, Bill Bradford had seen to it that they now had a better future, than the past he had helped shape.

That is the end of this chapter, but it’s not the end of the story, Tammy and Mark are both alive and well today. Now the names have been changed to protect their privacy, but the story is very real.

You see we all are Tammy and Mark, and though we never knew who for a long time, someone was looking after us, loving us from afar for seemingly no reason, and we didn’t even know His name. He was seeing to it that our needs were met. He was seeing to it that one day we would Him find out. Then it would only get better, even when He died, He went to prepare a better place for us, than what we have ever had, or could ever imagine.

Yes… The Man on Bradford Street still Lives Today, His Name is Jesus Christ, and for those who find Him out and welcome Him in…His Father thinks you look a lot like Him.
God Loves you my friends, more than you or I could ever imagine, find Him out!

Romans 10:8 But what does it say? “The message is near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart.” This is the message of faith that we proclaim: 9If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.





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