Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Key

I jerked open my junk door looking for some batteries, Monk was coming on and the blasted remote was dead.  The drawer’s catch broke, and I flung the drawer across the room, sending it’s contents over the kitchen floor.  Between my curses I find a long forgotten treasure causing memories of my past to come flooding back.  Jessie’s voice sounded as clear as the day she said them, “I have something for you,” holding up a key for me to see, “it is for a red bound book in my library.  You’ll know the one, it’s the only book with a lock on it.  And no, it’s not my diary, it’s much more important than that, but you have to promise me, don’t open it until I show it to you or unless something happens to me.  You have to promise that.”

I made that promise that day so many years ago.  I placed the key in the drawer as she watched, and until now, forgotten all about it.

They say women has this sixth sense about them, I believe that to be true.  Six months to the day later, a man walked into the grocery store and shot at his ex-wife, only mine was standing between them.  The doctor said she felt no pain, that death was instant.  I guess that was intended to make me feel better, there are some strange things people say during times like this.

Now all that I repressed is welling itself back up.  I started questioning why now that I had to find that key.  Why now that I was starting to get my life back together,  why now when I felt like I was ready to love again?

“Why, God, why now?”

I close my fist around the key, she was the last person besides me to touch it, the sensation of that thought rippled through my body.  I suddenly could feel her touch, smell her scent, and hear her voice.  Her face shone in my memory and her smile, I’d forgotten how wonderful her smile was.

“Why God, why Jessie?”  I must have asked that question a million times, and a million times the answer I recieved was silence.  Still, I’ll ask it again one day, and the day after that, until either I join her or God reveals the reason someone as wonderful as Jessie was taken so early in life.

I walk to the room Jessie made into her library.  This was her favorite room, all her books were here and here is where she loved to be.  She had her favorite authors, Snyder and his drunk Basset hound made her laugh, Weiland took her to castles and knights in shining armor, Yezak took her back to her biggest dream, riding in a rodeo.  Those books were right beside the big red book.

You can tell it has been years since it had been touched, dust covered it and the bookshelf where it laid.  I blow the dust off and place it on her reading table.  The key slid in and the lock popped open.  I hesitated before opening the heavy cover, my mind full of what I’d find, but it slowly opened, dust flying as it landed with a thud on the table.

The first page was a dedication, I guess you’d call it that, that spoke of how Katie Lynn Mathis received this book from her mother on her eighth birthday.  Katie Lynn, who was Katie Lynn?  Mathis was Jessie’s maiden name, but her full name was Jessica Gail Mathis.  Who was this Katie Lynn?

I turn the first page and there is a light blue envelope with my name on it.  My stomach tightens as I pick it up, I look at Jessie’s handwriting.  My tears land on the envelope beside existingssmudges.  Jessie’s Teardrops?  I pull the letter out, two pages handwritten by my first and only love.  The emptiness came back and tears blurred my vision.  Oh, how I miss her.  I miss her laugh, her smile, the way she’d twist the Frito bag closed.  I miss her scent, her soft snoring, her touch.  It’s amazing how two sheets of paper would open up those memories.

I unfold the letter and begin to read, “My darling.  If you are reading this letter then I know I must be gone.  I am sorry, I wanted to tell you but I didn’t have the nerve, the opportunity or the words.  I hope you are moving on with your life.  Be happy.
Love again, even if it is painful, you are too wonderful to be alone.  So find love, but remember, I loved you first, and I still love you.  Now there is some things I must tell set straight.”

“This red book was a gift I gave someone very special in my life.  Katie Lynn was my daughter.  When I was fourteen I thought I was in love with a seventeen year old boy.  We made love and I became pregnant.  Everyone tried to make me get rid of it, but I couldn’t and I wouldn’t.  Katie Lynn became my reason for living.  We weren’t only mother and daughter, we were best friends.  On her eighth birthday I gave her this book to write her most inner feelings and dreams.  She was quite a gifted writer for her age, read her entries and you’ll see what I mean.”

“About a week before Christmas that year, Katie and I were shopping for Grandpa Robert’s Christmas gift.  She was beside me one moment, and the next she was gone.  I don’t know how they grabbed her without someone seeing, but they did.  The police gave up looking after a couple of months saying that after that amount of time, chances were slim that she’d still be alive.  I know better.  I know she’s still alive, still out there prisoner of some sick perverted mind that keeps her away from me.”

“This is the reason for this letter, please keep Katies memory alive,one day she will return home, freed from her prison.  Welcome her and tell her I loved her with all my being.  Tell her that my heart ached everyday for her hug and kisses.  Tell her that you will be her father if she will let you.  Open not only our home to her, but open your heart.  When you marry, make sure she will love her also.  I know your love, I have felt your love, and I know you’ll love her with your whole being, I can rest easy, knowing that.”

“I never told you about her because I didn’t want you, my hero, to go riding off on your stallion to rescue her.  I know you wouldn’t have stopped until you found her and I couldn’t take that chance of losing you also.  I am sorry that I didn’t trust you with this, but I couldn’t survive losing you.”

“Now my love, I’ll leave you to read what was in Katie’s heart, and what I hope still resides there.  I know you’ll develop a love for her from her words, amazing words of an eight year old.  Also know that I love you with my whole being, physical and now spiritual, also know that one day I’ll meet you as Jesus leads you into paradise.  All my love, Jessie.”

I slowly turn the page and look at the scrawlings on it.  Definitely written by an eight year old.  After several pages I put the book back on the table and wipe the tears from my eyes.  The words were amazing, so full of life, so full of hope, so full of wisdom.  She definitely was or is her mother’s daughter.  Jessie was right, her words put a love for this little girl in my heart.

I stand and start down the staircase, as I reach the bottom I hear a knock at the door.  I open it and there stands Jessie;s dad, Robert, and a young teenage girl.  Robert’s eyes are red rimmed as if he had been crying, but they were dancing with delight.   I look at the girl and see Jessie’s eyes, her nose, her shy smile.  My heart skips a beat as the reality of who she is floods my mind, “Katie?”  She nods and we fall to our knees, sobbing as we embrace.  I look up at Robert who has tears running down his cheeks, he said, “She was taken my a couple of old maid sisters who wanted a child to raise.  They loved her as if she was theirs and treated her like the princess she is.  When they read about Jessie death, they decided Katie needed to know what was left of her family.  It took them some time to prepare Katie to meet her real family.”

Her real family, that sounds good, no, that sounded great.  I looked her in the eyes and said, “Welcome home Katie Lynn.  Come inside, your mother has something for you.  A key to a red bound book where you can write all your thoughts and dreams.”

Saturday, August 24, 2013

National Attention

My hometown is currently the attention of the world since Christopher Lane was gunned down while jogging.  I didn't know him, but I have worked with his girlfriend's father for almost thirty years, so it hit a little closer to home than I'm comfortable with.  All that I've been told about this man was good,  he was funny, cared about people, often helping someone out even though he didn't know them, and on and on the accolades go for Chis.

I guess that's what disturbs me most about the incident, a good man is gone from this world while three thugs live on, dancing at their booking, showing no remorse.  Wannabe gangsters, wannabe tough guys.  I wonder how tough they're going to be when Bubba wants them for his girlfriend in the Big House.  

I've sat back and looked at how things have changed in my short life time.  Gone is respect.  Gone is courtesy.  Gone are the values that grew this nation, faith, family and hard work.  All replaced by the victim mentality.  Now instead of working for something, it's perceived that it is all owed.  Now instead of respecting others, it's how am I going to get what they've got.  Now Dad is replaced with a welfare check and food stamps.  Now God is replaced with worship of self and selfish desires.

What is the result?  A good man gets gunned down for fun, because they were "bored".  Countless lives changed because of a single act. 

So who is responsible for these boys and others like them throughout the nation?  I think there's blame enough to go around, but here are a few reasons that stand out to me......

1. National Black Leaders.  To name a few names, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and even our President Obama.  When a black youth was shot while attacking a man, they were on the news within hours if not minutes commending it.  The silence after Chris' murder is deafening.  Where are these race baiting men that have kept the Black community down now that a more heinous crime was committed by someone of their race?  Is it not profitable to call for a march for justice for Chris?  Did Chris look like the President's son if he had one?  The result, generations that hate other races because they have been taught that those races "hold them down".  The good examples of blacks that have succeeded is endless, from Oliver Cromwell who fought beside Washington in the Revolution, Fredrick Douglas who escaped slavery and worked with Lincoln on the Emancipation Proclamation, in the earlier years of our country, one of the Speaker of the House was a black man, and on and on to this day when there are living examples like Clarence Thomas, Alan West and others who stepped out of the role of victim and exceeded, not letting that mentality hold them down.

2. Our Government.  Particularly the Democrat Party.  For decades, probably since, if not before,  Woodrow Wilson, the Democrat's have been the party of entitlements.  Win votes with freebies.  The result, mother's having as many kids out of wedlock as they could so they could get that big check.  I could go on and on with facts about how the Democratic Party wanted to hold the Black race down, from forming the KKK to the entitlements of today.  A good book on this is David Barton's "American History in Black and White", it opened my eyes on a lot of things.  But the Republican's aren't blameless either, they have no back bone to do their job, thus they have rendered themselves impotent. 

3. Their parents.  Why were they bored?  They were left to themselves, no supervision, no guidance, left to do whatever they pleased.  One parent even said that he knew his son couldn't have done this, even after the fact they refuse to parent, refuse to accept responsibility.  They could have made them get a job, whether mowing lawns, carrying out groceries (one place in town still does that), to cleaning the side of the road.  They could volunteer, they could practice sports, play a music instrument, work on a old car.  A sister of one of them said it was the towns fault because there was nothing for them to do.  I guess a free daycare for teens is what is needed, another entitlement.

It comes down to one fact that is rampant in our society today.  We no longer fear the consequences.  I'm not talking about going to jail or even the death penalty, but the fear of spending eternity in a hell where there will be eternal "weeping and gnashing of teeth".  We have no idea just how much hell we would go through in hell.  I could go on about the saving grace that is provided to us free of charge, paid for by Jesus Christ, but I'm sure you have heard it before.  Let me just say, it is real, it is personal, and it makes life so much more fun and enjoyable.

Ok, rant done.  I could fill a multi-volume set, but I'm sure you're bored already. 

Blessing to you, may your life be fill with joy and laughter.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

She adjusted her pearls in the mirror as the sounds of her family gathering below flowed over her like the smell of her favorite perfume.  It’s been so long since we’ve been together, she thought, now everyone is home.  She tugged at her blouse one last time and turned to go downstairs to join the family.  Standing in the door watching her was Jed Delaney, her sweet Jed, her beloved husband of over thirty-five years.

“Martha, you look radiant as usual,” Jed said as he took her hand, “the gang’s all here, are you ready?”

“Yes, darling,” she said as she pecked him on the cheek. They descended the stairs into the front parlor, a crackling fire welcoming them.

At the bottom step waiting on them was their oldest son, Michael, who had arrived just a few moments before. Michael grabbed Martha and gave her a big bear hug, “Mom, it is so good to see you and dad, I’ve missed you so much.” Beside Michael was Jackie O, as they called her, a nice Irish girl named Jaclyn Katharine O’Reily before she became Michael’s bride and mother to their two sons, Matthew and Mark, and yes, they are working on Luke and John.

Mary Beth, the only daughter, sat in the overstuffed leather wing chair, looking like the princess she was.  As her mother approached, she rose and they embraced, communicating as only a mother and daughter could.  Mary Beth hooked her arms through Martha’s and they turned toward Ross.

Ross was the baby of the family and Martha mothered over him as he grew up. Often Martha refused to let him join in with his friends, “They’re such a rowdy bunch,” but Ross never really would mind as he knew Martha would make it up to him somehow, usually in the form of fresh baked cookies or pie.  Martha walked over to Ross and adjusted his tie, “A man in uniform can’t have a crooked tie,” she said. “You look so handsome in your dress blues.” She reached down and put a letter in his hand. “You can read it later, it’s just mushy mom stuff.” She looked at Mary Beth and together they straightened the flag that draped Ross’ coffin, Martha looked back at Ross. “Welcome home baby boy, now the family is all together once again.”

Friday, May 10, 2013

Why I Don't Write Poetry 2013-1

Haven't written in a while,
I've gone a few feet - even miles.
The muse really isn't much use,
A fragile thing easily beaten and bruised.
Waiting on it to inspire
To write words you'd admire,
But instead this is all I've gotten,
A missive, easily forgotten.

Still I hold out all hope,
That I don't sound like I'm smokin' dope.
Waiting on the words to come together,
Wound together like on a tether.
Instead all I get is tripe,
But really, who am I to gripe?
At least I've gotten a tickle,
From that muse, so temperamental, so fickle.

Monday, February 4, 2013

An Imagined Love Story

I don't know if you remember the time, I think we were nineteen or twenty, and we spent a week at Marco Island on the beach?  I remember watching you as you laid there, memorizing every curve of your body, loving every strain of hair blowing in the salty breeze.  Man, you drove me crazy with desire, crazy wanting to feel every inch of that sun tan lotioned body, crazy wanting to hold you close next to me.

Remember it was that time that we were walking on the sidewalk along the beach, you in your yellow bikini, and that mail truck ran into the parked UPS van as the driver was ogling you.  That was funny then, that is funny even now.  I loved that yellow bikini, and I guess the mailman did too.

Those were good days, young and so alive, but now, now we are in our great days.  Maybe it's because our years are getting shorter, we're in what Frank called the autumn of our life, that makes us appreciate our days more now.  I don't know, don't care as long as you are walking beside me. Why you ask?  Because you still drive me crazy with desire, I still want to feel every inch of your body.  Yeah, I'm still crazy after all these years, all because of you.