Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chapter Sixteen: I Need a Favor

The sight was momentous. More than 200,000 people--peaceful people, filled Washington to demand the passage of civil rights legislation. It was an evening in August 1963, and Jerry watched his television as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke to a great throng that stood before him. His voice resonated with inspiring conviction.

After the news that night the only words that remained in Jerry's mind were, "I have a dream." His mind flashed back to Otley the night of the fire so long ago, to the dream that he had had that was so vivid. He had often thought about it, and the consequences had he not been awakened by the sound of Faithful, his barking dog.

Suddenly, his thoughts were broken a car pulling up the driveway. A few minutes later, the key turned in the door and Johnny entered the living room. He was warm and friendly, somewhat different from the last time the two exchanged words.

As Johnny reached his teenage years, the relationship between him and his father changed. It was as though the dad he always looked up to had suddenly become "uncool." Then his mother became concerned about the type of company he was keeping, and asked Jerry if he could somehow mention it to the boy. Much to his sorrow, the conversation escalated into a full‑blown argument, at the height of which Johnny contested,

"What about you and your friends during the war? Some of them weren't the 'best of company,' and while we are on the subject, I'm sick and tired of hearing you talk about 'back then."'

By now he was yelling at his father. As he walked toward the door he turned and spat out,

"The days of glory are gone dad! All you have from them are some faded medals. I'm getting out of here before I end up an old man with nothing but faded memories!"

With that, he walked out and slammed the door. Jerry knew he was right about the medals. There was a strange irony about the war. He contended that he hated it, but at the same time missed the glory of living for what he believed was a just cause. The medals given to him by the French government were faded, and the "days of glory" had, over the years, become a pale memory.

Two days later, Johnny called and told his Mom that he had an apartment in Dallas. Now, more than three months after the blow up he had shown up at home as though everything was just fine.

"Did you see the news tonight; the protest at Washington? Incredible huh?" Jerry put the vivid memories of the last time they exchanged words out of his mind, rubbed his forehead, then his eyes, yawned and thoughtfully said,

"Something big is stirring in the nation. That man King is a born leader. He reminds me of a man I knew in the, ah. . . " He stopped himself from finishing the sentence.

Johnny walked into the kitchen, helped himself to a bottle of coke, took the cap off and called back,

"Yeah. Dad, I need to ask you a favor."

Jerry smiled and as Johnny entered the room he said,

"How much do you want?" He shook his head and said,

"I don't want money. I've been concerned lately about the violence in Dallas. I think I need a gun."

Jerry was suddenly no longer tired. He tried not to betray his surprise and calmly said,

"What do you want a gun for?" The subject was material begging for another blowup. It seemed odd that his son entered the room talking about a peaceful protest in Washington, and in the next breath he said he wanted a gun.

As the young man sat in front of him sipping his coke, Jerry said,

"Are you in trouble?" Johnny looked directly at him and said,

"Dad, I don't want to clash with you on this. I need a gun for protection. I'm not in trouble, and I'm not going to do anything illegal, but I feel defenseless when I'm in Dallas at night. You know what it's been like recently with the increase in violence. You have the shotgun, how about letting me borrow Granddad’s .38? I promise I will take care of it."

He had grown up with guns and he knew how to handle them, so without another word, Jerry went to his room and came back with his father's .38 and a box of bullets, handed them to his son and said,

"I know you will look after this." He took it from his father, placed it on the table in front of him and said,

"Thanks…I knew you would understand."

To be continued.