Build a Bridge!

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict.<>

It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.<>

Then the long collaboration fell apart.<>

It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.<>

 One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work” he said.<>

“Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?” “Yes,” said the older brother.<>

 “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother.<>

Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us.<>

Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence — an 8-foot fence — so I won’t need to see his place anymore.”<>

The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”<>

 The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.<>

The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.<>

About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.<>

The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge — a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other!<>

A fine piece of work — handrails and all — and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched.<>

 “You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”<>

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other’s hand.<>

 They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder.<>

“No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.<>

 “I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build.”<>

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