Friday, March 26, 2010

Chapter XXIII. Amazing Opportunity


C 2004 By Gracie Prior

The Easter sun came up fairly shouting as Jimmy looked out the window at the new crocuses. He was all excited because he was going to church with Mary and her parents. He had a suit on that he didn’t wear very often. It was a bit short in the legs, but not too bad. He had shined his shoes the night before. His mom put a handkerchief in the jacket pocket just before he left. He walked over to Mary’s. He called her and she appeared in a pretty dress printed with purple and peach butterflies. She wasn’t wearing socks, but had bare legs he thought, and shiny little shoes. “Mary, you look so pretty. I like the hat.” It was broad brimmed with a purple ribbon around it and trailing behind.

“Thanks, Jimmy. You look great too. Mr. and Mrs. Brewster came hurrying out of the house. They all got into the blue Chevrolet with Jimmy and Mary in back. It was Easter Sunday. Mr. Brewster had to get there early to set things up. The car passed all the familiar houses and then the school and on to a part of town Jimmy had rarely been in. The houses were somewhat shabby and the trees in the yards old and gnarled. They traveled on to a business section just past the Harrisburg City limits. Mr. Brewster came to a few storefronts. One had a dirty green awning. On top of the building, a cross was displaying the words “Jesus Saves”. Mr. Brewster pulled in behind these stores and parked. He and Mrs. Brewster got out and each carried in a huge box of plants, white trumpets with green leaves. Mary got out carrying a black book and Jimmy followed. They went in at the back of the building. Inside, even with the lights on, it was somewhat dark and dingy. Mrs. Brewster fixed the curtains on the stage and set the plants around. Mary and Jimmy set up the chairs. Mr. Brewster sat at the back and went over his notes. Mary went to a table along one side, brought Jimmy a black book and they sat down.

“I brought you a Bible to use. It has pictures. You can take it home and borrow it if you want to.”

Jimmy looked it over. He turned to a picture of David and Goliath. He was intrigued enough to look up the scripture reference listed on the picture. Mary helped him find it. He read and read until it was nearly time to start. “Mary, this is awesome. Is it true? This story can’t be true.”

“Yes, it is; it most certainly is. It’s all true.”

Jimmy read a bit more. He watched the people come in. They were all dressed up. They wore no expensive clothes, but hats and gloves, and fans and all sorts of finery. A woman went to the organ and began to play a hymn. She played, “Christ is Risen, Alleluia!” Jimmy didn’t know the song but it thrilled him nonetheless. Then they sang, “Amazing Grace.” Jimmy didn’t believe he had ever heard such a wonderful song. The tune made his heart ache in a strange way. He wanted to hear it again, but the singing stopped.

Mr. Brewster, they called him Preacher, stood up and talked a lot about Jesus giving people food and multiplication. Jimmy was a bit confused, but he knew people in the story were fed and happy. He liked what he heard. Then a huge gold plate was passed. He remembered the nickel his mom had given him and put it in with the other money. Then they sang some more. One song was called, “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder, I’ll Be There.” He heard a long prayed for soldiers, and the President, and the needy and on and on. Then it was time for the people to go home. Several ladies came up to Jimmy and said how wonderful it was for him to come today.

Mary’s mom and dad cleaned up, gathered the plants and went in the car. On the way home, Mr. Brewster stopped at the County Hospital and took the plants inside.

Jimmy was invited to stay at Mary’s for dinner, but he wanted to go home. He wanted to get comfy and read his new book and be left alone. If there were stories in there like the David one, he couldn’t wait to get started.

(Come back next week when the Scribblers start their greatest adventure.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

ChapterXXII: The Note


C 2004 By Gracie Prior


Jimmy went out the door with Butch. "What did you mean by this note?" Jimmy said.

Butch looked at the note he had written for Jimmy. "For a twerp, you're pretty cool," it said. "Oh, you mean the twerp part? You know how you act, silly-like. You do it on purpose. I know you're cool. It shows in what you do and say. You just do what, and say what, and dress like what comes to you. Don't you? Nobody forces you to do these things. Do they?" Butch stopped.

Jimmy turned his face away in shame.

"Well, I think you're so cool anyway and that's what I wanted to say. I'm sure sorry, Jimmy, if it came out wrong. You know I'd never hurt you for anything."

Jimmy smiled a real warm smile. "That was a very nice thing to say, Butch, and I accept your note. I shall treasure it always. Well, that's all I wanted. See you." Jimmy crossed the street and Butch walked across the street farther up and went home.

* * *

Dear Diary, March 14, 1959

I have so much going on in my head. Butch gave me a note that hurt my feelings, but he didn't mean to. He's great. He thinks I'm my own man. If he only knew. Someone is always on me: do this, do that, why can't you act like so and so? At least Butch and the others like me the way I am, even though the real Jimmy can't break through, not yet.

It is so great about Terry's dad. He is doing much better. He only coughs once in awhile. I'll never forget that little prayer. Mary's dad is taking me to her church Sun. Dad and Mom said I could go. Dad said no, but Mom talked him into letting me. She said he never took me, so if Mary's dad took an interest, I should be able to go if I wanted to. I do want to. I've never been to church, that I can remember. I don't know what they do, but I just have this feeling that it will be something new and wonderful. I have to stop writing. I hear Cindy and Beth coming to bed. I have to hide you, Dear Diary. If anyone knew I wrote in here they might laugh at me or even read it. That would be the worst of all. Then I would have nowhere to go with all the bad stuff.

* * *

Jimmy had just hidden his diary when Cindy - four,and Beth - two came into his room. They ran up to him and gave him a hug. "Good night, Jimmy," they called. Each gave him a wet kiss on his cheek. Then they ran out of the room and went to bed. Jimmy sat thinking about the girls and Mom. At least they loved him. At least they thought he was special, just as he was. He got out his Arabian Nights book and lost himself in pleasure.

(Next time: something very special for Jimmy. Come back and see.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chapter XXI . Hearts and Flowers


C 2004 By Gracie Prior


Dear Diary, February 7, l959

The Most wonderful thing has happened. Terry's dad was so sick he had to go to the hospital. We were all so worried about him. Mr. Brewster was at Terry's house and he prayed with us - Terry and me. It was amazing. He held our hands and it was a short prayer, but I felt something inside me. I don't know what it was. Then I had to go home. The next thing I knew, I heard that Mr. Raymond was getting better. Not just a little better, but he really seemed to feel good. Terry said the coughing stopped for awhile. Nobody knows how this happened. I do, but I can hardly believe it. Is it possible? Jimmy

* * *

Butch and the rest of the Scribblers were very excited. Valentine's Day was fast approaching and they were to have a party. Mrs. Brewster said she would give them one at Mary's house on the fourteenth. They were going to have their regular meeting and then the party. Every member decided to do something special. It was to be a secret. They could reveal their surprise at any time during the evening.

Butch was very early at Mary's house. "I just had to leave. My folks were bugging me," Butch explained. "I hope you don't mind."

"Of course I don't mind, Butch. Come in. You look nice." Butch was wearing a plaid shirt and dark jeans. He always felt that this outfit made his red hair look fabulous.

"Can I help with anything?" Butch asked.

"We are all ready. Come and see the room where the party will be." Mary led Butch downstairs. The basement had been converted to a red and white fantasy land. Pink and red hearts hung from strings from the ceiling. The refreshment table held a heart-shaped cake and there were pretzels and pop set out. On another table was a record player. Near it were several 45-rpm records. Butch looked amazed at all the preparations. Then the doorbell rang.

Jimmy appeared at the door in a a red sweater, gray wool shorts, knee socks, and shiny shoes. He had that impish grin that Mary loved. He held out to her some small African violets. "Mom gave me these. Oh, they're not for you, for your mom. Here, this is for you. He held out a pencil drawing of Mary on a white horse. It was a sketch, but he had the essence of the motion in the scene and determination in the girl's eyes.

"Jimmy, this is Congruent, isn't it? She held it out to get a better look.

"It's actually you, Mary. Do you like it?"

Mary gave Jimmy a squeeze on the shoulders. "I love it."

Terry was last but he came with a special wrapped gift for each of them. They all gathered in the basement and talked of Terry's dad and the miracle. They had their meeting where it was determined to do another chapter on 'Chosen Generation.' Each of them, on their own time would write the next chapter - what happened when Aaron and Congruent got through the tunnels. They would try this new technique and then blend the parts together and get a final version.

During party time Mr. and Mrs. Brewster came down every now and then and checked on beverages and food. At least that's what they said. Mary knew they were just being parents, but that was O.K.

Butch looked nervous. He finally reached in his pocket and gave each Scribbler a small note. "You can't read it now. It is just something I like about you, something I thought of. I hope it makes you happy."

Butch seemed jittery a few moments after that, and then it was Terry's turn. He passed out the small gifts. They were hearts with each member's name on them, hung from red ribbons. "My mom helped me make these. You can use them as bookmarks."

All were delighted with their gifts. Mary went away and came back with heart cookies. They were pink with sprinkles on top. I made them myself. Hope they are good."

The Scribblers finished up and said their good-nights. Butch felt a lot better than when he had come. On the way out, Jimmy caught Butch. "I read my note. I have to talk to you."
(Is there trouble ahead for Jimmy and Butch? Come back next Friday and visit.)


Friday, March 5, 2010

Chapter XX. Friends In Deed


C 2004 By Gracie Prior


Terry woke up as the phone rang. He looked at the clock. It was three-thirty P.M. He answered the phone next to him on the table. "Hello, Randolph's."

"Hey, this is Jimmy. You weren't at school. I was worried about you. Anything wrong? You sick?"

"No, my dad. They took him in an ambulance to the hospital last night. I can't talk long. Mom might call. She should have phoned by now."

"I'll come over and keep you company, O.K.?"

"That's great, Jimmy, I'd like that." He hung up the phone and went upstairs to the bathroom to wash his face. He had slept through till eleven A.M., gotten up, eaten something, and then called the hospital. There was no news, so he went back to bed. He hadn't called the school. He didn't care whether he was in trouble or not. He only cared about finding out about Dad. He called the hospital again. "Mercy Hospital? This is Terry Randolph. I'm calling about John Randolph. He came in an ambulance last night. He couldn't breathe. I'm calling to see how he's doing." Terry waited for the lady to find out. He waited and waited. Finally she came back on the phone. "Who's calling? How are you related?"

"This is his son, Terry. I have to know how he is."

"Of course you do, but the only information I can give you is that he's had a very bad night and there is no new information."

Terry tried to control his voice. He swallowed the stuff in his throat and managed to say, "Thank you." He was about to hang up when he remembered. "My number is 486-3255. Please call and ask for Terry if you know anything." He sat down on the bed and cried. He ran to the table for a tissue. He felt so alone. Then he heard Jimmy calling at the back door. He rose and opened it.

It was so good to see Jimmy. He had known him as far back as he could remember. They had always played together.

Jimmy came in and walked into the living room. He sat on a couch and crossed his legs. He didn't say anything at first. Then he said, "Do you know anything more?"

Terry sat beside Jimmy and cried right in front of his friend. Jimmy wouldn't care and he wouldn't tell. "They don't know anything."

Terry's sister, Kathy, came in the back and looked at Terry. "How's Dad?" she asked.

"I don't know. How did you get to school?"

"I walked of course. I had to go to school, didn't I?"

"Yeah, sure. You did the right thing. I'll tell you when I know anything. Go play or do homework or something. Phil should be home soon. Then we'll know."

The room grew quiet again. Jimmy asked, "Do you want something to eat? I think I can make you something?"

"No, no, I had something."

"While we're waiting, let's call Butch and Mary. They'll want to know, Terry. I know they will."

"You can if you want. I don't know what to do."

Jimmy dialed the Brewsters and talked to Mary's dad who happened to be home. "Terry and Kathy are here, but Terry hasn't heard anything." Jimmy looked at Terry. "Can Mr. Brewster come over? He wants to help and he will take you to the hospital."

"Let me have the phone. Hi Mr. Brewster, this is Terry. Yes, thank you. We all feel awful. I'd love to go to the hospital. Even if they won't let me in to see him, at least I'd be there. Come soon. Thanks."

Jimmy called Butch while Terry got cleaned up. "Butchie, I have really bad news. Terry's dad went in the hospital. No, don't come over. It's a long story. In fact, I'm leaving soon. I thought you would want to know. Pray? Yeah, I guess I could pray. Mr. Brewster is coming to help. He can pray for all of us."

The doorbell rang and Terry was ready to go. He invited Mr. Brewster in and said, "Can we go right away?" Mr. Brewster nodded. "Jimmy, thanks for coming. Oh, I forgot, I can't go yet. There's nobody to watch Kathy. I'll just have to wait. Sit down Mr.Brewster."

"May I?" Mr. Brewster said taking the phone. "Karen, can you and Mary watch and feed Kathy here while I take Terry to see his dad? That would be great. Hurry!"

While they were waiting, Mr. Brewster said. "Do you mind if I offer a prayer for your dad?"

Terry smiled. "We hoped maybe you would."

Mr. Brewster took hold of Jimmy and Terry's hands and said a simple prayer for healing. Then he smiled.

Karen Brewster knocked and walked in the house. "I'm here. You can go."

Terry and Mary's dad took off, Jimmy left, and Mary and Mrs. Brewster started to help Kathy. Just as Terry stepped onto the front porch, Butch called to him from the path by the back door. He sounded excited. "I want to help, too."

(Next time, something special for each Scribbler. See you then.)