Friday, October 26, 2018

Death Strikes Near

Chuck must have known something was wrong when Al burst in the front door. “It’s Ray,” Al said, “I just found him, he’s dead. Call Larry and get him over here and call Bill and see if he is anywhere near here. Tell them what has happened and I need them at the office. I am gonna have to go and tell Gracie. Dear God, how am I gonna do that?”

 Chuck was on the phone as Al went out the door. He went back into the office, standing at the old counter he put his elbows on the glass top and held his head in his hands, his whispered prayer was, “Lord, I need your help. Help me support Gracie. Help me to be strong for her. Lord, I have no idea about Ray and you, please be merciful.”

Within minutes Larry was standing next to Al inside the office. As they stood there Chuck came in the door and told them that Bill was on patrol and it would take him about ten minutes to get to town. He also said that nobody should touch the body. The three men walked around the desk and looked down at their friend.

Al said, “He wasn’t well a couple of days ago. He looked terrible and Gracie was trying to get him to the doctor. Yesterday he was doing better and he was sleeping in his chair when I went over.” Larry spoke up, “Has anybody been to the house? Somebody is gonna have to go and talk with Gracie.” Al said, “I’m going to go over in a few minutes, probably should wait for Bill to get here.”

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Demonic Attack Continues

As the images of the fishing trip clung to Al, the smoke scent went down the shower drain. Sitting in his chair in the cabin his mind was fixed on spending time with Ray, and now a new friend, Larry. As he sat, his mind went back to the conversation around the fire. “God has been good to me,” he thought. A wave of emotion began deep in his heart. He was watching Sarah, eating pizza with shrimp and wild mushrooms. How she was laughing while she tried to catch a shrimp before it fell out of her mouth.

 In seconds tears were cascading down his cheeks. As Sarah’s image left, Aunt Bee took her place. He thought of her love and the way she took care of him. He thought, “I never took the time to talk to her about the pain of what happened.”  As he sat, the last image was that of Mrs. Williams. He could hear her praying and weeping over Sarah. With his eyes still wet, he fell asleep.

            He woke up on the floor with the sadistic strobe lights flashing across his eyes. He struggled on his hands and knees to the side of the bed. Exhausted and soaked with sweat he crawled onto his bed. The lights continued their demonic rhythm as the pain descended, crushing his skull like a vice. Covering his head with his pillow, the intense pain caused him to thrash and little moans escaped from under the pillow.

Now with the nausea rising up in his throat he knew he had only moments to try to get into the bathroom. He took one step and fell against the side of his bed, landing between the bed and the front window. Crawling to the bathroom, he just made it to the toilet as a flash of light and a shot of white hot pain pushed the contents of his stomach into the bowl.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dance of the Innocents

I closed my eyes as the gifted fingers of our pianist brought to life "Amy's Lullaby." With the world around me shut off I envisioned the lullaby. Jesus is standing on a hillside covered in a blanket of daisies. To his right the hillside slopes away and the flowers converge into a blanket of white, as bright as the purest snowfall. The daisies seem to be dancing as a gentle wind moves up the hillside. Up to his knees in the dancing and waving of the petals Jesus is smiling. He is not grinning or cracking a little smile, like one who is trying to be restrained or respectful. He is smiling with his mouth open wide, for all the world to see.

As the breeze moves and the petals dance I am captivated by the sound of giggles and laughter. It is the laughter of children, the music of the soul, giggles and squeaks, and the beautiful blending of the glee of boys and girls. Up the hillside they come, some running, some skipping, some falling and tumbling in the field of dancing flowers. Jesus is standing there with his arms outstretched, with such a smile that he is expecting all of the children to jump into his arms.

As the children run and dance and skip their way up the hill they take no notice of the language, color or clothing of their partner in the dance. There is no language in laughter, for it is universal, there is no disdain of clothes for all are wearing the same white, white as bright as the snow, the same white that Jesus is standing in. Theirs are the colors of every nation and every tribe that has ever graced the earth.

As they dance and laugh I can sense that these precious children are the Innocents. Fragile and helpless sons and daughters of the land. Innocent ones taken from the earth, from the arms of their mothers and the sheltering strength of their fathers. Taken by the evil design of men. Taken by the greed and envy and lust of those whose hearts are consumed with the thirst of power and rule.

Many of the dancing Innocents move towards Jesus and I can tell by the purity of their smile that they are laughing and dancing by the grace of God, as their lungs never filled and their feet never felt the earth. I know as a certainty that these that are dancing the Dance of the Innocents are so happy to see Jesus. They feel his embrace, their spirit, innocent and free does not sense the wrong that has been done and wish for the day that all mankind will join them in the Dance of the Innocents.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Staring Trout

Larry hollered over at Al and told him to drop the tailgate on Old Gettem-Up and get the plates and cups ready. Al got the plates ready and brought them over to the fire, setting them on the crate. Larry announced, “The best a man can eat will be ready in a minute.” Then he turned over the redskins and set the pan back. He turned over the trout and mumbled to himself, something about life, the river and food. The rest, neither of the men understood.

            “Grab a plate and enjoy,” Larry announced.  Ray and Al must not have been paying really close attention to the master chef as he utilized his culinary genius over the fire. When Al, plate in hand, was getting ready for his trout his surprise was evident. “What in the world did you do?” he said. “They still have their head. How we supposed to eat fish that are still looking at us?”

Larry started to laugh so hard he choked and had to take his pipe out of his mouth. Coughing out, “They may be staring, but they ain’t seeing. That’s the way we serve trout up here. You’re respecting his contribution to your life when you have to look him in the eye.” By this time Ray was laughing so hard he started to cough. Between the laughing and coughing tears were running down Ray’s cheeks. He said, almost choking, “I guess if it was up to a vote the eyes would have it.” In a second all three men were laughing, at each other, the trout and their sightless stare.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Al meets Nuttin and Butta

“Ok Willie,” Bill said, “Let’s get the hounds out and get started,” Willie opened the first door on the kennel and put a long leather lead on the first dog. Before he could even move to the second door the freed hound was pulling and tugging. With the lead on the second hound Willie reined them in and took them over to the abandoned car. Bill, about ten yards away, yelled at Willie, “Hey Willie, how bout you introducing your hounds to our members of the press.” In an instant Willie shot back, “All right, make fun of my hounds, but they are the best in the north.” And, Bill shot right back, “Cause they are the only blood hounds in the north.”

 Turning to Al and Ray, Willie said, “Now don’t make fun of my dogs. Both are males cause they have the best nose.” Pulling the larger of the two away from the car, Willie said, “The big boy here, he is Nuttin, the other boy, he is Butta.” Ray couldn’t contain himself and his barrel chest laugh echoed down the river. He replied, “I’ve heard it all, here we are a stone’s throw from Canada and we have a southern boy with hounds named, Nuttin and Butta.”

Willie announced, “I’m gonna let the boys work loose. That way I don’t have to keep up with em. Gonna let em get the scent from the car and let em go work.” Al asked, “Mind if I go along with you? I would love to watch Nuttin Butta.”