“A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, ‘Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here.’”
It’s Short Story Friday.
Try to contain your enthusiasm. Others are trying to read.
We’re heading into what may be our first real spring-ish weekend, even though the official start of spring is a few weeks away.
Today’s story is a little more personal. When I was working on it, I tried to convert it to third person. That didn’t work.
I’ve written about my Dad and his death on several occasions. No matter how long I live, no matter how much distance there is between today and that awful day, it will always have been too soon.
His birthday is later this month. Had he lived, he would have been 93. We lost him when he was 49.
As always, these stories are a work in progress. I’m committed to getting out one every Friday, with the hopes of reaching the intended goal of thirty-one stories. That’s a hint about the project, by the way.
I can’t move on without acknowledging that the world remains in turmoil. Keep paying attention.
And keep praying.
Here now is today’s story:
FOR YOU TO COME HOME
I stood in the phone booth at the corner of Grand Concourse and Fordham Avenue.
I was working in the Bronx for Christmas. I’d gone there with a few dozen of my friends from college where we planned to spend our Christmas break ringing bells and raising funds for the Salvation Army.
I didn’t expect him to answer. But when I called, my mother was still at the grocery store.
My work assignment in New York City was almost over. The eyes of a Southwestern Virginia teenager had been sufficiently opened.
My plan was to travel home the day before Christmas Eve.
He answered. My uncle was there. There might have been alcohol involved.
Our conversation was awkward, like it had often been.
But it was a voice from home.
I told him a little about New York. Probably more than he wanted to hear. I asked him what he would like for Christmas. His answer was simple.
“I just want you to come home.”
I didn’t realize it at the time. This may have been the last time I talked to him on the phone.
I would have only a few days with him at Christmas, and only two or three short visits over the next few months. My plans to travel with a ministry team meant that I would be gone over the summer.
In what was perhaps their only vacation since they had children, my parents traveled to Georgia and Florida in July to see me perform with the ministry team. I joined them in Florida for a few days.
The last time I saw him was as he stood at the bus station as I rode away to rejoin the tour.
It was raining. I pressed my face up against the window of the bus in a goofy gesture that meant both I love you and I miss you.
Through the rain covered windows, I saw him for the last time.
He would not see another Christmas holiday.
My world would be changed forever.
A few days after I returned to the ministry team, we drove north to spend time in Michigan and later Pennsylvania.
On the morning before we were to leave Michigan, I got the call.
My friends hastily arranged my flight. The family we were staying with drove me to the airport.
The trip was a blur.
Even though that was over forty years ago, the memory still lingers. Every bit as vivid and every bit as important as it always was.
Had I known at the time what the next year would hold, I wonder if I would have done things differently.
Maybe. I think I made the choice that he would have wanted me to make.
I wish I could call home and ask him.
English actor and singer, Murray Head, Judas Iscariot on the original concept album version of Jesus Christ Superstar, was born on this day in 1946.
THINGS YOU SHOULD READ
Putin nuclear threat part of new escalation policy
The Washington Times
U.S. officials have expressed concern that the doctrine opens a pathway for using “low-yield” nuclear strikes in conflicts when a nation’s conventional forces are stymied, as appears to be taking place for Russia just over one week into its military operation in Ukraine. Read More.
Joe Biden’s State Of The Union Previewed Dems’ Fake Attempt To Walk Back Their Culture War
Democrats cannot simply pretend the summer of 2020 and the lockdowns never happened, no matter how much the media might help them try, because the party has now spent years committing to inflated definitions of bigotry that would condemn any moderation from their positions. Read More.
Democrats Want Us to Forget All About Their “Defund the Police” Stunt
Matt Malumbo at Bongino.com
It’s only now that the violent failure that is the “defund” experiment is impossible to ignore that Democrats are trying to switch sides in the culture war, but they can’t run from their past comments. Read More.
Democrats turn against mask mandates as Covid landscape and voter attitudes shift
Behind the shift is a blend of science and political science. Read More.
U.S. shale oil forecasts keep rising as smaller producers lead the way
U.S. shale production is set to rise 109,000 bpd this month to 8.7 million bpd, according to U.S. government forecasts. In the largest U.S. production basin output will hit a record 5.2 million bpd. Read More.
BORN ON THIS DAY
1908 – Rex Harrison, English actor (d. 1990)
1927 – Jack Cassidy, American actor and singer (d. 1976)
1936 – Dean Stockwell, American actor (d. 2021)
1955 – Penn Jillette, American magician, actor, and author
1958 – Andy Gibb, English-Australian singer-songwriter and actor (d. 1988)
1963 – Joel Osteen, American pastor, author, and television host
WHAT I’M READING
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.