Thursday, June 24, 2010



C 2004 By Gracie Prior

The football field was draped in garlands of red, white, and blue. Streamers hung from the goalposts. The stage at the side of the field was all ready for act one of the big history of Harrisburg, all one hundred and fifty years, with a painted prairie background in place.

The Scribblers were honored and sat in the front row. All the parents were beside them, even Jimmy’s dad. It turns out that on the night of the tragedy, he had been detained at work. He had found out about the awful series of events the next day. He now sat beside Jimmy who was in his new wheelchair on a small platform so he could see. Right after the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, the writers were announced and they received a rousing applause.

Mary wore a long dress of blue and white calico and a sunbonnet hung from her neck. Terry was made up like a Daniel Boone-type character, Butch was a Sheriff and Jimmy was a cowboy.

The high school band came on the field and played several songs about frontier days. They marched in their blue and white uniforms and their instruments caught the last of the setting sun.

Lights came on stage and the first act began. It was a tale of a traveler, Cyrus McGee who had come from the east and settled the land in this part of Ohio. He brought his wife and ten children. McGee named the place Pleasant Ridge, but the town grew and a newspaperman named Frank Harris appeared. Having a paper was such a big deal; the town was changed to Harrisburg.

The play went on for about an hour. Mary was in the first act as a pioneer wife and Terry played her hunter husband. Then somewhere in the middle of the play, Sheriff Butch caught outlaws and Jimmy sat on hay bales and told some cowboy tales. The last act, the one the Scribblers were so excited about, had a panorama of transportation from the simplest walkers to the automobile. At the head of the line were the Mayor of Harrisburg, Ohio’s Governor, and then living relatives of Cyrus McGee. Next came Mary, Butch, and Terry. After the walkers came horses and horse conveyances. Then wheeled items like bicycles, scooters, and at the end waving and smiling came Jimmy in his wheel chair. He moved it all by himself. No one hurried him. He got the attention, the photos, and lots of verbal support as he made his way across the stage. By now, all the townspeople had heard of Jimmy’s accident and he was a minor celebrity. Not only because he was so innocent, but because of his good humor and cheerful outlook. Next on stage came motorcycles, ridden by Harrisburg’s finest police officers, and lastly, the model-T car driven by one of the McGees.

At the end there were fireworks and a wonderful band concert of patriotic songs. Miss Grace, the Scribbler’s former teacher, came and hushed the crowd.

“As you know, one of our writers, Jimmy Falcon, had an awful accident recently. He and his friends the Scribblers still managed to finish this script for tonight’s performance. We would like to donate all the proceeds of tonight’s activities, minus expenses, to the Jimmy Falcon Fund. We all want Jimmy to have a new operation that his doctors believe will help him to walk again.”

After the speech, people cheered and a few of them stood up. Then a few more. After awhile the whole crowd gave Jimmy a standing ovation. He looked around in his chair and waved his cowboy hat.

Later at home, Jimmy’s mom helped him to bed. “That was nice, all the cheering, and the money for my operation, but I felt sort of funny. I didn’t do anything to deserve all that. Mary, Butch, and Terry did just as much.”

Mrs. Falcon smiled. “That’s just the town’s way of giving you support, Jimmy. If I were you, I’d accept it.”

Jimmy pondered that for a moment. “I guess a guy would have to be stupid to refuse. And Mom, I may be a lot of things, but, Sir Jimmy is not stupid.”

(Next week: trouble with Mrs. Frumpstead. See you then.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010



C 2004 By Gracie Prior

Dear Louisa,

The most horrible thing ever has happened. To Jimmy of all people. A car hit him while he was crossing the street. He’s in the hospital now. His mom doesn’t know exactly how he’s doing. His legs are hurt. They did a quick operation on him yesterday, but they don’t know how that will help yet. I feel so awful and so helpless. Scribblers are getting together and sending, well, taking him flowers, Jimmy who always gives flowers on every occasion. We are writing a funny poem to cheer him up. I’m going to make a cute card out of it but there’s really nothing funny about all this and I don’t have anything to smile about right now.

Sometimes I don’t understand God at all. Mrs. Falcon and Jimmy were so eager to come to the revival and now here when they might be open to God’s love, He allows something like this to happen to someone as sweet as Jimmy. The Bible says not to “lean on my own understanding.” I am bound to keep that word in my heart and in my life. But it is hard. It is so hard. Love, Mary

* * *

Diary Man,
I am so miffed I can hardly see straight. My best buddy, Jimmy, got himself hit by a car. How can that happen? It seems Jimmy was just minding his own business when a car came around the corner and hit him. Isn’t anyone safe anymore? Isn’t there any sense of fairness? If any one should be hit it would be me. I have been so bad. Only to you D. Man can I say this. But I have treated Mom and Dad like dirt. I totally gave them grief about Marabella and Connie coming. It was bad, but I’m a big boy. I should have been nicer. At least I have a dad. Connie has no one now.

Back to Jimmy. We don’t know how he’s doing at all. He got an early operation, but it didn’t do much. He has to stay in the hospital till they find out what to do. Poor Jimmy. He was so gone on God. He thought everything he heard was all true. Is it? I remember God. What’s Jimmy going to think now, I wonder. Butch

* * *

Dr. Quentin,

I have some awful news. Jimmy was hit by a car. He is in the hospital and they don’t know what to do for him. Him mom is holding on, but I don’t know where his dad is. Nobody does. He hasn’t been heard from and Mrs. Falcon can’t worry about it right now. Dad, my dad, has been doing great. Ever since Mr. Brewster prayed that simple prayer, things have been better. Now, here’s Jimmy and he needs prayer, too. I’m going to call Mr. Brewster and see if he can get us Scribblers together and we can have a little prayer meeting or something. Jimmy would like that. We are all going to the hospital as soon as they let us and we’re going to take Jimmy some flowers and a card. Hope we can cheer him up. If I were in his shoes, I don’t think anything could cheer me up. Well, I have to go. Just thought you’d want to know about Jimmy. I’ll write more when I know something. Soon I hope. Terry signing off.

* * *

Dear Diary,

I got hit by a car. My legs and butt hurt so bad. They try to help me with pills and shots but everything still hurts. I already had an operation. I was whiny, so they stuck me with something and then I woke up and it hurt again. Cindy found you, dear diary, and snuck you in with my Bible and some books Mom brought. Not that it matters. I wonder where Dad is. Mom doesn’t know. I wonder if he knows about me. Does he care? They don’t know if I will be able to walk. I can’t be sad because I really don’t believe that. I’m going to get training soon. Know what I miss? The Scribblers. They probably know about me by now. Things have been happening to me that I don’t get. Nobody knows this, but when I was first in here, before the doctors came, I felt something in my room and it was a good something. There was light in one corner, it seemed like a man was there. I’m not sure what it was. It just seemed that after that, I wasn’t so scared anymore. I have been thinking about the shepherd with the long arm reaching out to the sheep. I love to look at that picture when I’m hurting. I want to talk to Mary about it. I’m so tired. Hope my friends can come soon. Till then, I’ll just wait and rest and hope. Jimmy

(Come back next week for the big finale.)

Thursday, June 10, 2010



C2004 By Gracie Prior

Jimmy was walking out the door of the drugstore when he saw a bright light appear in the sky. The sun was gleaming off the gilded dome of the courthouse. He stared at it for awhile. A passerby in a hurry knocked him down. Jimmy got up and dusted himself off, but the rude person was gone. Somewhat dazed he went to the crosswalk. He waited for his light and started across the street. A car came around the corner so fast that it knocked Jimmy off his feet and threw him into the air. He landed on the grass on the other side. The driver of the car stopped and got out to help.

Jimmy lay on his side and wailed loudly. His legs and hips were bloody where the car fender had hit them. He passed out.

It was later discovered that the erratic driver had called the police and now the ambulance was there ready to take the victim to the nearest hospital. That was only a few miles away.

* * *

Mrs. Falcon was sitting in a chair in her home reading the paper when the phone rang. She was about to receive the phone call that every parent dreads.

“Mrs. Falcon?”

“Yes, this is she.”

“This is Officer Mallard, Mrs. Falcon. I regret to inform you that your son, Jimmy has had an accident. He’s in Harrisburg Hospital.”

“What? How do you know? Are you sure?”
“Very sure, Ma'am. He came to and told us his name.”

“How badly is he hurt? Can you tell me?”

“It seems to be mostly his legs. I can’t tell you any more.”

“Thank you officer. I’ll be right there.”

It seemed like a dream when Lauren Falcon rounded up the girls, got them into the car and raced to the hospital. When she got there, she was told at the desk that Jimmy was in emergency waiting for a parent to begin treatment. She called Frieda McNeil, Butch’s mom and sat down to await help.

Mrs. McNeil arrived within five minutes and was sent home with the girls. She was assured of news as soon as possible.

Mrs. Falcon was escorted down to the room where Jimmy was lying. He looked so small and still. His legs were loosely covered with a sheet. There was much blood in that area.

“We have called your doctor, Mrs. Falcon. He will be here soon and then we can go ahead with any emergency procedure he thinks fit. Jimmy was fussing a lot when he came in. We gave him something for pain and he has been very quiet since.”

Jimmy rolled his eyes over and looked at his mother. “Mommy?”

Mrs. Falcon took his hand. She had such tears in her eyes she could hardly see. “I’m here baby. We’ll take care of you.”

Doctor Hedges came in and examined Jimmy’s legs, hips and abdomen. He cleaned up the legs and poked very gently and took a long time. He noticed the hips weren’t right. "There isn't a lot of blood on the hips, but they are very bruised and discolored. There may be multiple injuries here. The legs and hips both need to be x-rayed and then we can see where the damage is.”

"You sit here while we wheel Jimmy down to get those x-rays. We’ll arrange an operation right away if possible.”

The room seemed very alone. Mrs. Falcon felt as if this were unreal. It wasn’t happening to her. She noticed a Bible on the table. She picked it up and opened it up in the middle. She saw Psalm 121. She read: “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence commeth my help. My help commeth from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” She sat thinking. Wasn’t she just about to embrace this Lord she didn’t know? How could he let something like his happen to her baby? She flipped to the back and read: “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep.”

She didn’t know what to think, but she needed someone to help. There was no one to help her. “Yes, I need a Good Shepherd. Help me with my precious little lamb.”

Jimmy was wheeled back in on the table and Dr. Hedges said, “Let’s get him prepped for surgery. It’s going to be a long night.”

(Next week, the Scribblers weigh in on this tragedy.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010



C 2004 By Gracie Prior

Jimmy’s mom had her hat and gloves on and her envelope purse under her arm. She wore a lovely blue shirtwaist dress with a navy bow at the collar. Jimmy had his suit on again. At Mary’s house, everyone was excited and running around. Brother Mercer was sitting in an armchair reading the Bible. Every so often he looked up with his eyes closed. Mary came into the room and saw Jimmy coming up the walk. She opened the door to him and his mother. She had Bitty under her arm and was looking around for the diaper bag. Mom was gathering up necessities. Mr. Brewster came in and greeted everyone.

Mary was glad to be allowed to go with Jimmy and his mom. Mary handed Bitty to Mrs. Brewster and the others left for the fairgrounds. Terry and Butch were late. Mary checked her pretty chemise dress in the mirror. Just as she was about to call the boys on the phone, they arrived breathless from running. Butch wore a tweed suit and blue shirt. He looked handsome Mary thought. Terry had tan Chinos and a white and navy shirt with a maroon tie. “Wow, you all look great!”

“We should go,” Mrs. Falcon said. They all piled in her blue Buick. It was quite a way to the fairgrounds. So the Scribblers sang their favorite songs.

“Now I would like to teach you a new song,” Mary said. “It’s very easy. It goes like this: ‘Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho; Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.’ After we do it a few times, let’s sing it in a round.”

As they sang, they wound around beautiful countryside. There were maple trees and a few pines and lots of low hedges. They saw sheep and cows in the fields. Finally they were at the fairgrounds. They parked way out from the tent and had to walk in. Mary was getting nervous for her friends and full of joy for the wonders about to come.

Inside, Mary gathered her friends and family and they all went down front. A large wire skeleton held up the huge green tent. The ground was covered with sawdust, so people would not slip on the mud. The Brewsters had saved a whole row for them. They were so late that the music started. Two ladies came out with tambourines and played them while singing a joyous song. Mary didn’t know the words, but she clapped along. The others stood up with everyone else and just stared and looked around. Mrs. Falcon clapped along. Jimmy clapped and tried to sing some of the words.

Another singer came on and sang ‘He’s got the Whole World in His Hands.’ Everyone knew that one. Not only did everyone sing, but a huge line formed and wound around the outside of the chairs and people in line clapped and sort of danced up and down. Mary looked at her friends. She smiled. She looked at her mom. “May I?” she asked.

Mother nodded. Mary led out of the row and joined the line. She was so much into the song that she didn’t notice that Jimmy was in line until she turned a corner and saw him way behind. He was singing and dancing. The line slowed down and went to their seats. Then Preacher Brewster stood up and greeted everyone. He prayed and then he announced Brother Mercer, who was quite famous in lower Ohio.

The people became quiet and Brother Mercer read his Scripture: The Prodigal Son. He explained about the younger son’s youthful mistakes, about the older son’s faithfulness, but bitter heart. And he showed movingly how much the father had looked every morning for his lost son. The ending, where the son was greeted and welcomed home was such a moving picture of unconditional love. Then Brother Mercer explained how God is like the generous father in the story. He gave everyone opportunity to pause and meditate, explaining that more would be presented each night and he hoped everyone could come.

There were more songs with tambourines. Then Brother Mercer said that if anyone needed prayer, they could come forward and he would pray for them. Many people came up for prayer. Mary watched. When she was very little, a young girl had been healed of a crooked finger right in front of her. She didn’t see anything unusual this time. The people coming back seemed happy.

Mary glanced at Terry and Butch. They looked lost. Jimmy and his mom were smiling and watching everything that went on.

“When Mary’s group was allowed to get out and go home, Mary dared to ask, “Well, how was it?”

“I can honestly say that I have never seen anything like that in my life,” Terry said. “I might like to come again later in the week. We’ll see.”

“I really don’t know, Mary. It was all pretty weird to me. I mean funny. I mean different. I felt sort of funny. Is that good or bad?” Butch asked.

“Well, it could be either. If you feel funny like it’s getting to you, you need to come back. If you feel funny, like this isn’t for me, I’ll understand if you don’t want to come back.”

“I thought it was lovely, Mary,” said Mrs. Falcon. “Be sure to thank your parents for inviting us. I would like to come back. I’m not sure if I can. Jimmy, you want to come back?”

“Oh, yeah. I want to come every night. Will you take me, Mary?” Jimmy pleaded.

“I would be delighted, sir.” Mary didn’t want to sing on the way home. She just wanted to remember everything she had seen. That was good, because the others were sleeping, well not Mrs. Falcon.

(Be sure not to miss next week. There is danger ahead for one of our dear characters. Who? What will happen? Come and see.)