Willy was a rarity - a real old Suffolk country boy. There are few of them left. Those that remain tend to survive in the north of the county. No wild bird was safe from Willy's air pistol. He had an unsentimental view of nature!
Willy made the mistake of bringing his air pistol into school. Perhaps, he wanted to enliven the dinner hour by taking pot shots at the blackheaded gulls. Unfortunately the news that he was armed and dangerous spread like wild fire and it wasn't long before he was in the presence of the Headmaster. I have to say that Headmasters sometimes take a relaxed view about wickedness that really matters like disruptive and defiant behaviour but they never take lightly the existence of a firearm on the premises. Willy's parents were brought in and his stepmother promised that he would be severely punished. He was made to attend the local Strict and Particular Baptist chapel for a month! He never brought his air pistol into school again.
I liked Willy. He was always very interested in the problem I had with moles on the cricket pitch or the difficulty of persuading rooks to nest in some other tree than the large beech in our church car park. Rooks make such a mess on parked cars before the leaves appear in May! Unfortunately Willy was less interested in Geography. He hated writing anything down. He actually managed to put more material onto a page in the form of thumbprints, squashed nose droppings, scurf and dirt than ink. Such ink as appeared was smudged and fragmentary.
At the end of one particular lesson during which he had managed to write a line and a half and in the course of which he had indulged in numerous conversations with broad-beamed Karl I gave him the full benefit of my powers of expression at maximum volume. The walls shook and so did Willy. He didn't like it! A malevolent look came into his blue eyes that was not often to be seen there. He scuttled out of the classroom at the conclusion of the tirade like a beetle with a score to settle.
Later in the day I saw him in the corridor. He ambled along close to the wall and as he passed muttered out of the corner of his mouth, "I bin an reported you." Such a comment is not music to a teacher's ears!
Next morning when I walked into my classroom to take registration there was a small packet on my desk. Inside a grubby paper bag was a cassette and an even grubbier note. The note said, "Sorry about yisterday. I know you like Country and Western so here's my favourit tape." It was a peace offering. I don't especially like Country and Western music and I have never played the tape. However, I have kept and treasured it.
The best of us feel the need to make a peace offering when we have wronged someone for whom in our hearts there is affection or regard. Jesus recognised that need when he died on the cross and made the ultimate peace offering to God for all the wrong we have done him.