Monday, December 17, 2012

Chance Encounter

                                           Chance Encounter  

    Donny drove his vintage seventy-two ford pickup slowly down the single lane road. Dressed in his camouflage and orange vest, with his rifle lock and loaded, ready at a moment’s notice; when he spots his first deer to complete his hunt. A quarter of a mile ahead, he sees what he’s been looking for and it’s a big one. He speeds up till he reaches the area where the deer had crossed the road and he came to a quick stop. Throwing the truck in park, he grabbed his rifle and headed into the woods. Looking around to orientate himself with his surroundings and get a better lay of the land, he knelt on one knee to steady his breathing. Moving his head in a slow motion to capture everything within eyesight, he spotted his pry. He begun moving in a stealth but quiet pace trying not to disturb the earth beneath his boots. Keeping his eyes strictly on his deer, Donny was unaware of the man approaching from the opposite side of the same deer. Donny was a great hunter and excellent marksmen. His uncle James had taught him to hunt from the tender age of nine. At twenty- three and after four years in the military, he could hit a tin can at three hundred yards. He was less than a hundred yards and knew he could make this shot in his sleep. Donny raised his rifle; put his sight aimed at the deer, held his breath and when he was sure of his target, he fired.
       Donny had been trained in the military as a sniper. He was taught to keep both eyes open when looking the down the sight of his weapon and he had adopted the method when he hunted. Donny saw through his free eye that the deer was obviously spooked at the same instant he had felt the recoil of his weapon. He heard the sound of something when it hits the ground, the breaking of twigs and the ruffling of leafs. He moved but keeping his weapon at the ready, swinging it left to right and peering through the sight, swat style. He approached the area behind where the deer had been standing. At first glance all seem normal and as it should be, and then Donny’s heart sunk to his knees. Donny swallowed hard as he stared at the man on the ground with the bullet hole in his chest. The man was about twenty-five yards from where the deer had stood eating something off the ground, when Donny had fired his weapon. Donny could see the bow and arrow laying five feet from the man, who clearly had been trying to get close enough to the deer; when he had spooked it. Donny ran and kneeled next to him and quickly ripped open his coat and shirt to access his wound. Donny had done two tours in Iraq and had seen his share of bullet riddled bodies. Looking at the man his first words were, “I’m sorry man, I’m really sorry; I didn’t see you behind that deer.” The man just nodded his head like he understood and was in agreement with Donny. The nearest hospital was three hours from their current location and Donny knew that this man would not make it. Donny pulled out his cell phone knowing that the chance of a signal was slim to none, and none it was.
        Carrying a first aid kit for Donny was a must have and he never went hunting without one. He ran back to his truck after telling the man what he was going to do, and rushed back with a tent and the first aid kit. Donny knew first hand that he had to stop the bleeding. Silently he thanked God that the bullet had gone straight through and from the slow flow of blood, had not hit any mayor arteries or organs. Snow had been forecast for later in the day and by the look of the clouds, it was inevitable. Cauterizing the wound was going to be painful, so Donny decided to wait until he could make the man more comfortable. As he set up the tent he notices that man was in and out of consciences and would make eye contact now and then. Donny would just look at him to assure him that he had no plans of abandoning him. After he had the tent up, he gently move the man inside and gathered wood for a fire. He would need the fire to cook, for its warmth and to heat a blade and proceed to close the wound. After the fire was started, Donny stepped into the tent and knelt beside the man and speaking softly he said, “what I’m about to do is going to be painful and I have nothing for the pain or to numb the area.” The man spoke in a weak voice for the first time and replied, “It’s okay, been here and done this; I think I can trust you.”  
       Donny removed the man’s coat and cut his shirt and long johns. He took two of his bullets, removed the lead and poured out the gun powder. Out of the first aid kit he got the bottle of peroxide, needle and thread, gauze pads and tape. He rolled up a rag as tight as possible and placed it in the man’s mouth and told him to bite down hard. “Are you ready?” He asked looking at the man. With the blink of his eyes the man gave Donny the go ahead. Donny cleaned the wounds with the peroxide, poured the gun powder in the exit wound and touched it with the cherry hot tip of his six inch hunting knife. After he had cauterized the wound he cleaned it again and stitched up the exit wound, rolled the man on his back and repeated the procedure on the man’s chest. By the time Donny was done with the bandages, the man had passed out and had broken into a cold sweat. After cleaning up Donny just sat there staring at the man and praying that he would live through the night. Donny knew that the first twenty four hours would make the difference between living and dying. Donny thought of leaving and going for help, but was afraid that two hours to the closes town, meant leaving this man for more than four hours and as a soldier, to him that was unacceptable. The night had been long and cold, but Donny was thankful that they had been spared the snow. Other than a few flakes, they had been blessed with a dry night. The man woke up around noon and asked for a drink; Donny took that as a good sign. He could see that the color on the man's cheeks were returning to a normal shade. The following day the man was sitting up when Donny awoke next to him in the early morning hours. The sun was barely making its way over the trees and darkness had not yet giving way to the light. Donny looked at the man and smiling he asked, “How you feeling this morning?” The man looked at him with a smile and replied, “Happy to be alive, thanks to you.” Donny shook his head and said, “I think you’re forgetting, I’m the one who try to kill you.” The man return the gesture by shaking his own head and looking right into Donny’s eyes he said,  “It was an accident son, I spooked that deer and took her bullet; she owes me and I’m hungry, so why don’t you finish what we started” Two hour later Donny returned with two rabbits. He looked at the man who quickly put a smile on his face and said to him, “didn’t see any deer, and diffidently not ours, but these two were out playing so I made them game.” After the two men had shared a meal of rabbit stew and a hot cup of black coffee, they sat and talk for a while. After a few long minutes of silence the man looked at Donny and said, “I never got your name son.” Donny extended his hand and replied, “Mom and Uncle James call me Donny ever since I was young, but these days I go by Lance Carpal Donald Grams Jr. and I’m known around the barracks as Bulls-eye.” The man instantly became teary eyed and still holding Donny’s hand he replied with half a grin, "it’s an honor and my greatest pleasure to meet you, I’m retired Sergeant First Class Donald Grams Sr. and you may call me, Target."

Luke 10:34

New King James Version (NKJV)

34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Origin of St. Augustine

                                The Origin of St. Augustine

          Father O’Malley was sixty-four years old and an ordain priest for nearly forty of them. He was by all accounts known as a godly man to his parishes. He loved to visit the sick and on most days, you could find him at the local hospital or at the home of an ill church member. Margret was fifty-eight when she was diagnose with breast cancer. Her daughter Meg had put her life on hold, moved in with Margret to attend to her needs. Once a week Meg would take her mother for her chemo therapy, and then watched over her, painfully as the chemicals made her greatly ill for days. On one of his visits Father O’Malley brought Margret a figure of St. Augustine and advised her to daily pay homage to the statue for her healing. Meg found it strange but in order to keep the peace, she remained quiet. After six month of therapy Margret’s cancer had went into remission. Meg was thankful to God for her mother’s new prognosis, while her mother continues to pay homage to the saint. Meg knew if that figure had any power what so ever, her mother would not have suffered all the therapy. She believed that God could have just healed her mother, but she also believed that God has given doctors the knowledge to help heal our bodies.
          Joseph had been bed ridden for over six months when father O’Malley had delivered him a duplicate of the patriot saint. The priest loved his beloved healer and found joy every time he gave one away. He would have them ship right from the Vatican and believed they were blessed. Joseph was a devout catholic and had raised his daughter in his belief. Paula was fourteen and always had a mind of her own. For the pass year while her father was unable to attend mass, she had begun to go to church with a protestant friend and her family. On Sundays her father assumed that she was being faithful to his believes and her upbringing. Paula had learned in her eight months of visiting New Hope Christian Church, that Jesus is the only one that can heal the sick. As much as she wanted to tell her father of this new found faith, she was afraid he would retaliate by not letting her out on Sundays. Every night she prayed that God would give her a miracle and heal the father she deeply loves. One Wednesday after school she arrived home to find father O’Malley sitting at her father’s bedside. The two casually sat talking about the healing power of the statue. “Have you been praying to him daily Joseph” she heard the priest say. “I try to father” replied Joseph in a weak voice, “but it doesn’t seem to help, and I fear soon I will leave Paula with no one to fend for her” The thought of leaving her alone broke his heart into pieces, she was his whole world. He had wanted a son to call Paul after the apostle and saint, but when his wife died giving birth, he named her Paula and never regretted. Paula walked into her father’s room and greeted him with a kiss, then turned and shook hands with the priest. “I have not seen you at church in month’s child” said the priest looking straight at her. Paula froze as she met her father’s eyes who looked at her with questions about her Sunday outings. “Well father, I have been going to a different church” Paula replied a little nervous about the reaction of both men. “And what church might that be?” asked the priest as he leaned forward waiting for her answer. “Protestant, a Christian church” she replied with a little more boldness in her tone. “One who teaches that Jesus is the only healer, and not some saint made of clay” Paula had always been out spoken but also polite; which took her father by surprise. “Paula, have a little more respect for our priest” her father said in a weak voice. “Sorry” she said looking at her father.  “I just no longer believe in some of the things he has taught us, like the statue of a saint that has sat here for what, six or eight months and you keep getting worst.” She finishes her statement looking straight at father O’Malley’s eyes.  “You must have faith child and the saints will do what they were created for” the priest spoke as he stood and looked at Paula. She turned around and picking up the statue; she faced the priest and replied, “I don’t believe this thing can heal any one or even save itself” Without meaning the statue slipped from her fingers and crashed onto the floor with a loud thump and shattered into pieces. The room became silent to the point that you could hear a pin drop. Paula reaches down and picked up the only sizable piece left and stared at it. The priest looked at her with his face red as a tomato, anger in his voice and speaking directly at her said, “we have a problem child” With a smile on her face and a little sarcasm in her words, Paula replied, “the only problem is, poor little St. Augustine here,  was made in China.”

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

 Exodus 20:2-4

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Monday, December 03, 2012

A Son’s Desire

                                                    A  Son’s Desire

          By all accounts Max was a wealthy young man. By the time Max was twenty one he had everything a young man ever wanted. His father had always given Max what he asked for, except love. When Max was a boy his father was never home and his mother too busy with her charities, lunch meetings and vacations; to really give Max the love he so desired. His nanny would always tell him that he was lucky to have parents that provided for him. All through grade school he believed that she was right and he sure did feel lucky. Max had anything he asked for, ATV's, motor bikes, a snowmobile and every video game that was on the market. He was the envy of all his friends and felt special and important. All through middle school he would have small parties and invite friends over to share his good fortunes. His parents gave him permission for almost anything he cared to do, as long as they were left out to do their own thing. It was his nanny Helen, who taught him right from wrong. She was the one who would sit and help with homework, and who cooked all his meals. She loved to bake him his favorite cakes and cookies, he just had to ask and she would take to the task just to see the smile on his face.  For dinner she would cook for the both of them and they would sit, eat and talk about all sorts of topics. His nanny would always see him to bed and even tuck him in until he got a little older and said that he was a little to grown up to be tucked in, but she made sure to always bless him and say good night. The two had grown a bond so close that when he had a problem he always went to her instead of his parents.  Helen would attend his soccer games and would always take pictures, so his parents would have them for their albums. She would always be there to cheer him on and root for his team.
          Max found that at twenty one his only source of comfort had been his nanny. After two generations of raising and caring for children she wanted to try her hand at something else and with no more children here to rise, she had resigned. It had been hard on him and also on her when the moment came for her to say good bye to him and the family; she had been there since he was a year old.
After being expelled from two different colleges his parents told him that they would not spend the money so that he could just waste his time. He had found employment but never lasted more than three or four months. He would get bored, or he would be given the pink slip for lack of effort. Having everything handed to him had made it hard to cope with the world like others less fortunate. Most of the time he had the house all to himself, his parents were always at one place or another. At times he would go to his parents second or third homes, whenever they were at their main residence. He spent most his time alone, though he had a few good friends but choose loneliness over putting up a front all the time.
         One day while his parents were away for a few weeks and Max got bored he went snooping around in his parent’s office that the two shared. While going through his mother's desk he found a few personal files and found one titled “Max” that grabbed his attention. He opened and began to read and half way through the second page his blood turned cold. He threw the file and every piece of paper went in a different direction and all over the floor. He started pacing and kicking the furniture, the chair where he had been sitting flew across the room and knocked over a tall and expensive pole lamp that his mother keeps in the corner by her book shelves. He left the file and papers right where they had landed and went to retrieve his cell phone. After much thought he decided against calling his parents and decided that he would deal with the issue when they returned.  Two days later Max went back into his parent's office and picked up the mess he had created, and afterwards sat and studied the papers a little more carefully. He decided that instead of confronting the people who been less than forthcoming with him, he would do a little detective work of his own. After reviewing all the documents, he put together a plan. 
        The following day after spending a few hours on the internet the night before, he headed out early Driving his Nissan 300 ZX before the sun had even showed its first light. Using his iPhone map, he headed upstate for what would be a two and a half hour trip. He had used his credit card twice on a site that gave him full information on the attorney he was in route to see. The trip had given him the time to think on how he would deal with or without the information the man could provide. When he arrived and pulled in the long driveway, he sat in his car for a few minutes going over what he was going to say and do. He stepped out of the car and approached the door a bit nervous but determined to walk away with as much information and directions as he needed for his next destination. Max walked up to the door and knocked twice and stood there a little nervous as to what he would say or do. He heard steps behind the closed door and right before he prepared to knock again the door opened. An elderly woman in her early seventies answered the door and looked at Max a bit curious, but politely asked, “May I help you young man?” She stared waiting for an answer. “Yes” Max replied still a little nervous. “I'm looking for Leonard Goldstein does he live here?” She stared and studied him for a minute before she asked, “And who may I ask is looking for him?” Max quickly replied, “My name is Max and I have some papers that he might be able to help me make sense of them” He extended his hand with the folder which the woman took from him. She opened it to see what was in them, and what they were about.  After looking in the folder and scanning them quickly, she looked up at him and asked, “May I assume that the Max on these documents is you?”  “Yes ma'am it is” He replied. “Please come in and let me get Leonard for you, have a seat here at the dinner table, and would you like something to drink?” she asked “No Ma’am, but thank you for the offer, I just don’t want to be more of an inconvenience then I already am.” She smiled and said “Please call me Barbara and drop the ma'am, you make me older then I am” She said with a smile then left to get her husband. Leonard enters the dining room and sat across from Max and studied him for a minute before asking and at the same time making a statement. “I suppose you came for answers you believe I may have.”  “I believe you do” Max replied and then asked. “Do you know who I am?” After another minute in deep thought Leonard replied, “Yes, though the last time I saw you, you were about a week old and that was a long time ago” The two talked for about an hour and at last Leonard gave max the name he had come for. Max said his good-byes and headed for his second destination. 
           Four and a half hours farther north to the small city of Rochester Max traveled. Around two in the afternoon Max arrived a little tired and stop for a sandwich and a soft drink. While he sat eating his lunch he took out his computer and using the deli’s Wi- Fi he connected to the internet and did a search on the person Leonard had supplied him. Another charge on his credit card and he had the address. With his iPhone he mapped out his directions. He pulled up to the house and saw a gardener out in front; he cut the motor, stepped out of his car and headed for the man. He asked the man if he knew a woman by the name of Mrs. Patricia H. Newsmen. The man pointed to the house and said “Pat, lives here just go on and knock on the door.” “Thank you” Max replied and walked up the steps and knocked twice as was his custom. The door opened and Max stood frozen and speechless. He stretched out his arm and gave the woman before him the folder. She seemed to be just as taken back by the sight of him as well. She just reached and took the folder and after she had viewed the contents she said. “I always wanted to tell you, but I could not risk losing you again, you know something Max?” she pause to gather herself and then said , A mother is not one who just bears and delivers, a mother is not one who adopts just to support and provide, but one who cares, nurtures and loves unconditionally, despite her own loss

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 1 Corinthians 13

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