Monday, November 9, 2009

IF HE WERE MY SON

I dedicate this to my son and in memory of friends whose first child died at birth.

The small body was more fragile than anything he had ever seen. Like feathers, he had almost no weight. Time would fill it out. At this moment the father’s pride in that small bundle was immense. On that small pudgy hand he could see the ball glove he would buy for his son. There would a shining red bicycle that he would teach him to ride. Oh yes, they would need a basketball net where they could play one-on-one. All this filled the father’s mind. He and his son would go fishing and hunting and of course what boy’s life would be complete without camping in the woods? His school years would be filled with sports and activities.

The nurse tried to take the baby from the beaming father, but he resisted. He held tight even as the bundle was slid from his outstretched hands. Still, in his mind he built the future his son would enjoy.

He would be able to do anything. The father smiled as he thought of the long talks they would share. Man to man, stuff they would discuss like the wonders of life.

Finally, there would come that special lady. Yes, he would give the advice any good father would give. He would tell his son the qualities to look for in a woman. Then he would share the secrets that women hide, and not too well. Encourage him to love completely.

His son would be everything he was and more. After all, that is what any father would want for his son. He would strive to give his son all the tools that would make him a success. Someday, he would stand in a crowd and cheer as his son received his diploma from high school. Then he would encourage him to go to college, to be so much more. Reach for the stars, till you hold them in your hand!

A cloud crossed the father’s face for a moment. College! He would be separated from his son! The thought of separation didn’t fit his plan just yet. Time enough until then.

The nurse placed the small bundle in a crib behind the glass windows. The father smiled and then he turned away to look at the other fathers standing near the glass windows. There faces were masks of his own. Their eyes glittered as they cooed at the infants, tapping the glass, and getting hard stares from the nurses.

Alone to one side however, stood a father, silently staring through the glass. Tears slid down his cheeks leaving wet stains on the carpet at his feet. One father after another turned from their window. The cooing stopped and silence fell on the room as they looked at the weeping father.

Slowly each moved closer and looked through the glass. They expected to see an empty crib. Nothing could cause such tears except that fearful disappointment each parent dreaded as a possibility.

Astonished, each turned to the father. “Why are you weeping? Your child is beautiful and healthy! What is the meaning of these tears? You should be proud! Your child may be a great person someday.”

A tear stained face turned to them. In a quiet voice he spoke softly through muffled sobs. “Yes, my son is perfectly healthy. All I want to do is sit and pray with him. I long to hear him ask Christ to be his savior. I have no reason to cry about my son, I know. I do not cry for him though. Look past his crib to the wall behind.” Pointing to the spot, the others looked as well.

There lay an infant barely covered. It was tiny beyond belief! Tubes stuck out from his discolored body. A nurse stood watching dials and gauges, occasionally making adjustments.

The man sighed, as sobs caught his throat. “You see, I do not cry for my son or myself. I cry for him and his father. For the father that may never hear his son call out, “daddy.” A father who will not get to see the joy on his son’s face as he rides a bike for the first time. The sounds of ball playing from father and son will not echo from their backyard into the kitchen. From there a mom, would shout “time to eat.” On her face, a smile of contentment as she makes supper for her men. That father will not get to sit and talk about why the sky is blue and how do birds fly, with his son. He will not have the joy of sharing his faith with his little man and hearing that first prayer for forgiveness to receive a saviors gift of love and life.

No, his father will not get to do any of these things with his son who is not expected to live much longer. So, I cry for him, because all these things are what I would want to do with him, if he were my son.”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ship Ahoy

I wrote this short as an excerpt to the life of a sister, not mine, who died soon after birth. Them being a military family it seemed appropriate to make his sister's life follow the same course. Enjoy.

I apologize if my designation of rank is incorrect. Read in the right ones and imagine!

This is a FICTIONAL story and is not intended in any way to portray any person or persons or to reflect negatively on any branch of the military of the United States to which I have the utmost respect for every woman and man who wears a uniform.

As always this material is the property of the author and is not to be published or reproduced in part or complete for any purpose other than PERSONAL use. Send your friends here to read it and view my other writings.

"The Wright's Rights"

Our family had become something unique. Sitting around talking, once again, we loudly proclaimed stories of daring do's of the past. Brothers and sister alike found ourselves joining military service in one branch or another. Each of us had more than a fair share of stories about near death experiences and near court martial offenses. We weren't rowdies but we lived life to its fullest, as close to the edge as military life would allow.

When we could get together, which was rare, we talked and ate and struggled to push away thoughts of "shove off dates".

No matter what part of the world we found ourselves stationed in we tried to make contact on holidays, birthdays and special occasions. What we wouldn't have given for the cell phone just twenty years ago!

Despite the distances, we were close. We watched each others backs growing up. No one messed with the Wrights! Sis, that's what we called Jackie, never really needed that kind of help, except one time.

Sis had joined the Navy. I was so proud of her. I could just bust when I would tell my friends! Over two years older than me, she had moved along pretty well and her rank had gone up nicely. Stationed on an aircraft carrier for her sea duty Sis found her calling and never left carriers. The first picture she sent me of the line of "her birds" on the deck, set me to day dreaming. I was just a kid then.

I graduated high school and finally had to contend with one of the hardest decisions I would ever make. What was I going to do with the rest of my life?

One afternoon I walked into the house and there on the wall the sun shone through the window in blazing rays. A splash of golden light seemed to dance on the picture, proudly displayed, of Sis in her Whites. Prickly bumps rose on my arms making me shiver.

The recruiter smiled as I told him why I wanted to join. He said it was good I was eighteen and didn't need my parents signature.

I kept my little secret as long as I could. The four weeks flew by and finally, I had no choice. Mom cried as the last of her babies was leaving the nest. Dad shook my hand then pulled me in for a big bear hug.

I'd never thought about what Sis had to go through for her training but after mine, I admired her all the more. Sometimes weeks seemed to pass in seconds and at other times minutes crawled by for days.

Several women had come into training when I did and it was hard to watch them endure what we had to go through to make grade. Not to talk the service down, but they were treated hard. No special provision was made just because they were female! Sometimes it seemed wrong and on occasion it made me sick. By the time I graduated I was ready to get away from the appearance of prejudice. Some of them made it, most didn't. Of course a lot of men dropped out too. Either you had the right stuff or you didn't.

Like Sis, I had often taken time across town at the little airport there. Planes were in my blood. If I couldn't fly, I'd help those who could. Aircraft maintenance was where I ended up. Fixing planes was as much fun to me as flying in them.

Sis didn't know about my posting. I kept that a secret. I had some choices and what could be better? Sea duty on a carrier fit my intentions just fine. I'd do my sea duty and get to spend it with Sis.

Carriers are huge! A person could be on one and not see most of the rest of the crew on board for days, as if you had time to go strolling about! You couldn't just wander around and so you spent the bulk of your time at or near your duty area. Your social life pretty much revolved around those you worked with as well.

My first day aboard, was what we don't talk about. I had been assigned to the same wing Sis was in and she didn't even know it! Like all the newbees, I rushed through the tight corridors to my assignment.

I was walking fast down the line of aircraft with just one set of numbers on my lips. I knew Sis was in charge of certain aircraft and so I memorized their numbers from her pictures. It was in my rush that I nearly missed seeing it. Not the jet I was assigned to, but the incident.

I'd walked past several jets and to my left on the wing of a twenty one a set of coveralls were bent over the cockpit. Another head popped up from the side on the same wing. The guy swung his hand and slapped the other person on the butt. The dark haired face that snapped up was red with rage.

The poor guy had made the biggest mistake of his life. Sis never hesitated as she spun. Her hand came up and in perfect military training precision, drove her fist into his face. His spine straightened with a snap and his feet left the wing. He fell backward to the deck, not ten feet from me! He hit hard and lay still on the deck. I thought she killed him!

Suddenly, there was shouting and a big Chief Petty started screaming at Sis. Someone called the sickbay and one of the Medics came running. He was kneeling over the guy shaking his head. I knew it wasn't good. They rushed the guy out and officers were thicker on the deck than a warm sea fog. Every one had just one question they were shouting back and forth. "What happened?" They didn't really want to know because if they had, they would have asked Sis.

One Officer was screaming at Sis about how she was going to pay. I felt sick. Nothing had changed! I started to tremble because for the first time I wanted out. Then deep inside, my guts boiled and I stepped beside my sister. She was shocked to see me, but she didn't flinch at one word the Chief was screaming.

" Sir!"

The Chief was mad and just short of foaming at the mouth. I thought he was going to pull my arms out of their sockets when he looked at me. I stood my ground just like Sis did. I'd heard what he had planned for her, well I'd give him two for one.

"What do you think you're doing Mister?" Man, could he yell!

"I may have something to explain all of this, Chief Petty Officer Waldon!"

He sneered at me. He could smell a fresh cut a mile away, and I was sure he would ask for a gun just so he could shoot me himself.

"What do have that might interest me mister?" I don't think Chief Petty's have a volume control for their voice, y'know? The launcher cycled and no one missed a word he said.

I pulled the strap on my video camera from around my neck. Turning the screen so he could see it, I hit the replay button. You know, I didn't know a face could go whiter than dress whites, his did.

I just wanted to catch her surprise on video when she saw me. You see I had the camera because I was supposed to be part of a crew taping training videos on aircraft maintenance. I figured I could edit Sis's shock out later.

He backed away for a minute. His hand reached for my camera. I pulled it away. His eyes came up, they locked on mine and I was sure he would kill me.

"What would you have done?" His gravely voice was raspy. He wanted to know, if I was her, would I have done the same thing.

"Sir, if she hadn't done it, I would have knocked his head off anyhow. You see, she, is my sister!" He stepped back from me. Looking up he groaned as he saw the names on our uniforms for the first time.

Wright, W. A., Wright, J. G., I thought he would puke right there.

We're family we watch each others backs. Sis will make Captain someday. The guy she hit, oh, he just slipped on the wing when she stood up too quickly. He got out on a medical. No one saw a thing. He can walk fine. His nose is a little crooked but hey, it could be worse.

Sea duty had a whole new meaning and my time flew by. When it was over, Sis ordered me off her ship. She said she could take care of herself and I have never had a doubt about that. I went land bound and ended up editing all those films I made. Followed them through until they ended up in classrooms. I was all over after that. I even earned my nickname through it.

I switched to journalism. Found I had a flair for the camera and pen. I gave it ten years. I get a little pension now.

What about tomorrow? Who knows? Right now, I need a cold Coke and a hot burger. Sis is yelling for the Ink Jockey to hurry up, idling on the deck is just wasting fuel.

Hello, is anyone out there?

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About Me

My childhood was spent growing up on a farm in the mountains of northern Pennsylvania. In those years I learned the lessons that would mold my character and moral center. In my teens I moved to a small city in southeastern PA. Like many teens I had my rebellion and found the futility of it. During my late teens I moved to central PA and in high school lost my heart to the girl who is now my wife. Presently I'm well into midlife and slowing rapidly. The things I used to do, I can't even remember. Married for 37 years, we have a son, a daughter and five grandchildren. My son has two boys, my daughter three girls, I love irony! I'm self-employed for most of 25 years in construction. Doing a project for a customer and getting their approval is wonderful and inspiring. I started writing when my children were younger. I did some stories for them and over time it became more of an interest. I now have four completed novels and several shorts and am working towards getting one or more published. One short has been published.

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