Mr. Leroy was the smartest and creative person I have ever known. He had a huge farm right out in the middle of nowhere and it was the most productive farm I have ever seen. If there was a plant that could be grown, Mr. Leroy grew it. If there was an animal that could be raised, Mr. Leroy had experience taking care of it. He was a wonderful veterinarian, farmer and father all rolled up in one.
That brings us to the children Mr. Leroy raised. There never was a Mrs. Leroy in the family which has caused some to question this story. The children were called Jack and Jill. Jack and Jill had the most beautiful childhood ever. They had the freedom of roaming over the entire farm, swimming in the beautiful lake and enjoying the fresh fruit that perfectly dropped off the trees at the supreme moment of ripeness. You never saw such intelligent children, but of course with a father like Mr. Leroy one couldn’t expect less. Mr. Leroy loved them greatly and made sure they had regular chores to help occupy them, however some say that Mr. Leroy went a little overboard in the responsibility experience. Every evening Mr. Leroy would spend hours with Jack and Jill lovingly talking with them about their day and about their experiences. Some would even say Mr. Leroy didn’t give his children enough “space”.
Mr. Leroy’s children were given only one rule. This was called the One Rule and Mr. Leroy said, “Please Jack and Jill, remember that you shouldn’t eat of that tree, okay?”. Mr. Leroy always asked his children permission before he gave them a rule; afterall, he believed in democracy. In the middle of the farm was a huge tree named the Gee Tree. There were hundreds of different plants and fruit trees on that farm but Mr. Leroy made sure that they knew they were not to eat from the Gee Tree because it would be fatal. Now Jack and Jill didn’t quite understand what “fatal” meant because they had never seen anything die, and every day they questioned why in the world Mr. Leroy wouldn’t let them eat from that one tree. They thought he was treating them like little kids and they just didn’t appreciate it at all.
Things were going okay on the farm until around noon on that memorable Tuesday. Mr. Leroy was out doing chores and Jack was in the barn. Now anyone knows that a really good parent should always be there, making sure there are no bad influences on their children, so why in the world was Mr. Leroy out of the picture? Jill already had her chores done so she was playing near the Gee Tree. She looked around when she heard a rustling in the grass and there was the stranger. Why in the world didn’t Mr. Leroy teach her ‘Stranger, danger! Stranger, danger!”? Mr. Ser didn’t look like anyone that Jill had ever seen before. He had clear blue eyes and spoke with the most beautiful voice Jill had ever heard. He introduced himself as Mr. Ser and right away started asking her about the Gee Tree which was only a few feet away from where they were standing.
Mr. Ser in a smooth smoky voice asked Jill, “Did Mr. Leroy really say to you that you must not eat from any tree in the garden?”
After slowly pondering it she said, “Oh, Mr. Leroy lets us eat the fruit from trees all over the farm except for the Gee Tree. He said that we are not to touch it or we will die. Now I’m not quite sure what “die” means, but that’s how Mr. Leroy put it.” Jill had some “issues” with Mr. Leroy and why he had to keep showing his authority. One would think that Mr. Leroy didn’t want to be her best friend and who made him boss after all?.
Mr. Ser looked quite surprised and laughed a little at Jill’s answer. In his silky voice he said “Don’t worry about it, you certainly won’t die! Mr. Leroy just wanted to make you a little scared about the tree. There is a secret that Mr. Leroy never told you about that big old tree.” Mr. Ser got a little closer to Jill and whispered, “If you eat it, you will be just as smart as Mr. Leroy and instantly know things you never would have imagined.”
“Aha!” thought Jill. “That is the real reason why Mr. Leroy has kept me away from the tree. Mr. Leroy just isn’t fair!. I deserve everything on the farm, including the fruit from the Gee Tree.” There was probably some truth to what Mr. Ser was talking about. Possibly, Mr. Leroy had a secret he was keeping to just to himself. Maybe Mr. Leroy didn’t care for them as much as Jill thought. After all, Jill had just seen her favorite TV show “Dallas” the night before and she knew that fathers don’t always have their children’s best interests at heart. Jill looked at the Gee Tree and it was certainly beautiful. Just about a foot above her head dangled the biggest piece of Gee fruit she had ever seen. It was bright red and glistened in the sun. It even smelled wonderful. Jill thought she could probably easily reach it. After all, she had been going to gymnastics classes and meets since she was three years old and she could beat the daylights out of any of her competitors. Last week at Sunday School Class she had tripped little Sally after Sally told Jill that she thought she could jump higher than Jill.
Jill thought a little bit more and realized that basically Mr. Leroy just didn’t respect her at all. She then reached out her hand and grabbed that piece of fruit. Before you can even blink an eye she took a huge bite of it. A rush came over her like she had never felt before and she ran away, fruit in hand, looking for Jack. She realized she was finally going to be free of Mr. Leroy and all his stupid, stupid rules.
As soon as Jill saw Jack she told him what Mr. Ser had said, how wonderful the fruit looked and tasted, and Jack didn’t even think before he tried a big bite of it himself. Jack always wanted whatever Jill had and he made sure he took a bite even bigger than Jill had. At first Jack felt that same rush that Jill had felt, but then he really looked at Jill for the first time and thought she appeared differently. Whoa baby, Jill was naked!!! Those pictures looked like all those ones he had been watching on the internet the night before.
Jack did start wondering what he was going to tell Mr. Leroy that evening when Mr. Leroy came around. He didn’t understand why Mr. Leroy had to know everything that Jack was doing. He wanted to tell Mr. Leroy to “get a life”. Everything was now different in Jack’s eyes and for the first time Jack thought he knew the real truth.
A few hours went by and Jack and Jill began to get a little worried about Mr. Leroy’s daily visit. They heard Mr. Leroy coming from a distance and for the first time, Jack and Jill hid from Mr. Leroy. Mr. Leroy called and called for them and finally Jack stood up from the bushes where he had been hiding and said, “Mr. Leroy something is wrong. I heard you coming and I was afraid. I never realized before that we looked this way and so we hid in the bushes.”
Mr. Leroy said, “Who told you son what you looked like? Have you eaten from the Gee Tree, the only tree in the whole farm that I told you not to eat from?”
Jack piped up right away and said, “It’s Jill’s fault. She put that piece of fruit right in my hand and I ate it. Why in the world did you put me on this farm with this moron?”
Mr. Leroy blamed himself entirely. He had made a huge mistake in putting Jack and Jill on the farm together. Mr. Leroy then asked Jill what had happened.
Jill said, “There was a stranger on the farm today by the name of Mr. Ser. He fed me a whole pack of lies about the Gee Tree and I took a little bite.”
Jack and Jill had not noticed that Mr. Ser had silently snuck up behind them. Mr. Ser didn’t look so friendly now and Mr. Leroy was mighty mad at Mr. Ser. Up to this point, they had never seen Mr. Leroy get angry at anyone or anything. It sounded like thunder in the sky when Mr. Leroy looked at Mr. Ser. Mr. Leroy said, “Mr. Ser I have told you so many times not to be around the children. Would you please go away, okay? I told you three times today to knock it off and here you are with them again! What did your counselor tell you last week about working through your childhood issues?”
Jack and Jill rolled their eyes at Mr. Leroy. “Good grief, here comes another lecture from the old man!”. Mr. Leroy spoke to Jill. He said “I blame myself for this entirely. I should have posted extra signs around the tree. I won’t let this happen again, your darling child.”
Mr. Leroy said to Jack, “You listened to Jill and hurried to break The One Rule I gave you. You have just been running with the wrong crowd. I’m going to pull you out of the public school you have been going to and send you to Christian School. I’m sure those teachers there can figure out what is going on with your life.”
There was something new in the air, a coldness they had never known and Jack and Jill were shivering. Mr. Leroy then did something Jack and Jill had never seen him do before. Mr. Leroy knew his charge cards were about maxed out, but he drove Jack and Jill to Park City and said, “Kids, you deserve this. Pick out any clothes you want, the sky is the limit. I saw some really cool clothes on a commercial this morning – Jill, I think a couple of those outfits will help make you the most popular kid in school. As for you Jack, look at those clothes over there – those are like the ones that Robin Thicke wore on his latest video.”
Mr. Leroy then did the most difficult thing of all. He made Jack and Jill go to bed without their cell phones that night and he limited their time on the internet to just four hours that night. Because of Jack and Jill’s issue with the tree, Mr. Leroy chopped down the tree. Mr. Leroy had another tree that Jack and Jill didn’t even know of, the Tree of Life, and Mr. Leroy said he would put a larger sign around that one just to make sure that Jack and Jill were okay. After all, he knew his children always made wise choices.
Mr. Leroy then drove Jack and Jill to Dairy Queen and they celebrated what a great family they were. After all, any child of Mr. Leroy would always be a winner.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER:
- If you read my earlier version of this, it was much truer to the Genesis version with Mr. Leroy representing God, the perfect parent. In this version, Mr. Leroy represents us, the imperfect parents. What mistakes did he make?
- What effects does sin make in this story even from the beginning?
- What attitudes did Jack and Jill exhibit?
- What is neglected in this version?
- What basic truths about families are ignored?
- Why aren’t they really a great, winning, and happy family as described in the last paragraph?