Chapter 9

As Henry got into his car, he sat there thinking about his mom. Wow, what a load of crap

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she had carried all these years. No wonder she was so grouchy all the time. She has never forgiven herself. Well, I am not going to let this happen to my woman and me. I will work and take care of everything. I am not running away and leaving her to hang.

Henry started the car, not knowing where he was headed. Last night he had racked his brain trying to think of someone who was hiring. Nothing hit him though, so he was just going to drive around town until he saw something.

He drove by the filling station and saw a couple of his buddies trucks parked there. He pulled in and went inside. He found them in the garage side. They were working on a car that belonged to Tom,  his friend.

He walked over and patted Tom on the back and said with a grin,”Hi ya buddy, how’s it hanging”? Tom turned towards him with a jerk and said,” Hey there, you scared the hell out of me coming up and slamming me on the back like that. I am fine. We’re just messing around with Fred’s car here. He says he heard some kind of knocking sound when he was driving around last night”.

Henry walked under the car where it sat up on the rails and looked at the hoses. He didn’t see any drips. He thumped the tires and got out from underneath the car. The two buddies went back to work trying to find where the sound may be coming from. Henry watched, and then soon started for the door. Fred hollered out, “Where ya going buddy? Ya don’t have to leave. Stay around and keep us company. You haven’t got any better place to be”.

Henry turned back towards them and walked back towards them. ” Well, I have to find a job. I need some extra money”. Tom asked, ” What’s wrong with the job you have over at the grocery store? Aren’t you bagging enough ladies groceries”? Tom and Fred started laughing and elbowed each other. Henry said, “No, I need more money, more hours”. The friends both piped up and asked, ” Ya got your eyes on another baby to fix up”? Henry hung his head and then looked back at the guys and said, “Well you are half-right. I am looking for a baby, but not a car or truck, a real baby, my baby”.

The two men looked at him and Tom dropped his wrench while Fred dropped his mouth. They came out from under the car and walked closer to Henry. Fred said,” Come on over here to our little break room and pop a squat. Tell us what the hell you are talking about”.

Henry followed them over to the picnic bench and the three of them all lit a cigarette. Silence followed as they each tried to out do each other with smoke rings. Tom looked at Henry and commanded, “Speak, what the hell are you talking about”?

Henry replied with, ” It’s my woman Jane? She, well, she and I , well we’re gonna have a baby”. His two friends asked, ” How did you get yourself in that kind of spot man? Don’t ya know about the rubber? You do carry one in your wallet don’t ya”? Fred reached for his wallet and pulled out a  condom saying, ” Hopefully one day I will get to use this, but I keep it here for all emergencies”. Tom snickered and under his breath said,” Yeah, that will be the day when that thing gets used”.

The three started giggling and went back to puffing on their smokes as they digested what had been said. After putting their butts out in the ash tray the smiles left and Tom asked Henry,” Sounds like you have decided to keep this kid if you are out looking for more money. Got any plans? Have you told your parents yet”?

Henry came back with, ” Ya we told our parents. Fred asked, “We? You both told your parents? Oh wow, how did that go man? Did they want to beat you up and spit you out”? With that Henry stood up and pulled some change out of his pants pocket. He walked over to the pop machine and bought an orange pop. (In those days, orange pop, red pop, and root beer were the favorite sodas). The two followed his actions, getting one for themselves too.

They all sat back down and popped the caps and took a nice big swig. Burping and laughing they got serious again waiting for Henry’s reply. Henry said, ” Both parents took it better than I thought they would. Mine offered for Jane to move in with us until I can find more work”.

You could stick a fork in the silence it got so quiet. All three were pondering on how that was going to work out. Jane living with Henry’s mom. Fred was thinking, this should be better than any movie I have ever watched on the big movie screen. Tom was saying to himself, this is never gonna happen. Henry’s mom is way out there, a real nut case. Henry was thinking, mom may do a turn-a-round. Now that I know what she has been going through, she just may understand.

So, have you looked anywhere yet”? Tom asked. Henry told him, “No I haven’t. I have thought and thought but can’t think of a  place that is hiring”. “Well you’re in luck my friend. The bowling alley is hiring. They are looking for someone to set up pins. It is a shit job but it’s money, and money is what you’re after, right”? Henry thanked him for the tip and turned to leave saying, ” See ya all later. Gonna go over and check this job out”, and with this he walked out the door closing it behind him.


I Choose the Smaller One

Christmas is over. The stress is gone. My tree is down and I feel peace inside sitting here today. It is not too difficult to go back over the Christmas Day celebration with my kids and their kids and reflect. It was so nice to have most of the family here, and yet there was tension and not as much laughter as I had hoped for. It is alright. As I told you the other day, I have made a strict rule to let it go. I can’t change anyone. Only people can change if they want to.

Today I went to see Al. Al the one who felt threatened by his dad who never knew how to show any feelings. Al was a big guy. He still is but believe it or not, he is fifty pounds lighter due to the Parkinson’s Disease.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to go or not. The weather was predicting snow and I am a big baby to drive on it. My car is not meant for northern winters either. God closed up the skies and let me know that he was with me by keeping it dry outside with just a hint of a snowflake here and there.

When I walked in to his room, he was sound asleep. I tickled his foot and he opened those eyes and peered at me and I got the faintest of smiles. As he became more aware of my presence, I got an even bigger smile. He sat up and we chatted. He asked for more of his vintage cars and I said I would bring two the next time I came to visit. I told him I brought him more diet coke, and I got the biggest smile ever. He and his coca are best friends.

I take great care to not miss one tiny action that lets me know he is tolerating pain for the day. Today he was having a good day. Thank-you God. Before I realized it, time had ticked to noon and he got up to use the bathroom so he could go to lunch. I waited and walked with him down to the dining room. His eating buddy who also has Parkinson’s was sitting at a near by table trying to get the border of a new puzzle figured out.

I asked him if he wanted help and he said sure, so I helped him turn all the puzzle pieces right side up and we found all the straight-edge pieces. I think he was so glad for my help. He looked up at me and gave me the biggest grin.

Now tell me, which would you choose? A Christmas that was slightly strained, or a quiet visit with Al who gave me the most genuine smile he could muster. He was truly glad I was there. He may be middle-aged. He may be mentally-impaired. He may have PD, but he is sincere, honest, and open. It was a breath of fresh air. I will take those little smiles over anything else because they make me feel special, loved and needed. I love you bud.

Several have asked about Al here at WordPress, and so with Al’s permission I snapped some photos of him today and his room.

al at millersal standingal walkingal's roomal's room 2

Daily Prompt; Un/Faithful/ The Daily Post

English: A photograph of the skateboarding tri...

Tell us about the role that faith plays in your life — or doesn’t.

Faith is a small word that carries huge weight. For some of us, there may  be little if any faith. For others, including myself, faith is something we can not live without. I was brought up in a church setting. I went to church and Sunday school each week. I was part of the junior choir, being the director, and then a part of the adult choir.

I used to have a pretty good voice until I picked up the nasty habit of smoking. It lowered my voice and I have not been able to quit as of yet, but could kick myself in the rear with my own dirty boot for starting.

I fell a way from the church on a surface level. Friends I had did not go to church, and I was not going to ruin that crappy friendship by showing my true colors. Talk about being a hypocrite. Not only was I lying to myself, I was being dishonest with God and the so-called friends I had as a teen.

I slid by my skin through several years. Rebelling God, and life. Wanting and needing something, but what I really needed was staring me in the face, but I broke every mirror so I would not have to see it.

After marrying, I became a military wife in a new country. Church was practiced once a month with a different denomination each time. Whatever I had done prior to this new life, had been laid by the way side. After all, how could I fit God in my life, or even have faith when I had everything I could possibly want in a new marriage. Right? Wrong.

I hate to admit it to myself, but it is even worse to admit it to all of you, but I thought I knew it all. Not so much about worldly things, but enough to carry myself through life. I could cook, clean house, and wipe runny noses and change diapers. What else was there?

Time ticked, hours flew, and I was still skating on thin ice. Then one day I got a rude awakening. Life was also moving quickly along with mine. My mother passed away. Talk about a mind-blowing wake-up call.

Although my faith and God were never under the Hypo-dermis of  skin, I didn’t work very hard to keep it on the Epidermis either. When mom passed away, I quickly came back. I rededicated my life. I promised to listen to God more. I made all kinds of promises.

Guess what? I fell on my butt. The ice was not very thick on the pond and down I went. I became cocky and bitter. Losing my mom brought a roughness around my heart. I became thick-skinned. Now that I look back I was protecting myself. I hurt bad, my heart had a void. No one was going to hurt me like that again.

Luckily for me, because we all know that we are the ones who turn our back on God. He doesn’t sway from us. I never got in any trouble with the law. I never took up drinking or drugs. I just walked around empty, letting love, faith and hope fall from my pockets. I would see them falling and then turn around and stomp on them making sure they were buried deep beneath the dirt.

God is amazing though. I stomped and he revived. He was always my shadow. He followed me everywhere I went. The only thing I needed to do was to acknowledge him. Is that all there is to it? Just let God know we are here? Can carrying faith in him be that darn easy? What do I have to give up in order to have this word called faith? Nothing. I could have had an easier path in life. I was the one who chose the bumpy path.

When my dad got ill, and I watched him slip from me for that year, I got on my knees and begged God to keep my daddy here. I prayed heavily, don’t take him, heal him. I cried, I threw temper tantrums. What I didn’t know was that without me realizing it, I was turning back to God. Sure I was calling out from  pain for my daddy’s sake, but God lifted me up and kept me safe as I walked the valley of death path with my father.

He died, and I let God lift me higher on his lap. I laid my head on his shoulder and I wept. I could feel him patting me on my back and I could feel his arms holding me tightly, comforting me.

I have never let go since. It has been six years. I have lost both of my parents, and lost all familiarity of the life I had always known. Grandparents, uncles and aunts passed on. I was left standing here. I was in the tiny circle looking out in all directions. The only familiar face I ever truly saw was God.

I love God. He is my best friend, my joy, my comforter. He guides me each moment of the day and he forgives me for all of my mistakes. I was standing down in the valley for so long. I would be as a skate boarder. Up and down gliding back and forth. Coming so close to the edge of living, and then back down I would go. I saw God stretching  his hand to me. I grabbed on and I have never let go Faith, God, life and love, and hope are what I will be carrying until I go home to heaven.