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Episode One: "Feeling Marvelous"
It was a sunshiny day. The temperature was approximately 65 degrees. The air had a depth of crispness that could probably make you want to believe in the Yellow Brick Road and find the wizard that made this fine day. If I didn’t know any better I’d think this was the beginning of a brand new world I’d never known before. Was I going crazy? Did I want to remember where I came from or should I just walk on?
What a marvelous feeling. What a marvelous view. I’d never felt like this before. There was a time when I used to have dreams like this. Am I asleep? No I don’t think so. Should I have remembered something or did I want to remember anything? I know I wasn’t crazy. All I remember was laying my head on my pillow and worrying about everything under the sun. “What if,” seemed to be my main question and worry. It seems like a long time ago now.
I wonder if I could talk to someone about this strange and wonderful day I’m having? Well I guess the best place to go is a church. Here I am standing outside but I can’t seem to recall which direction to move. There is someone coming up the sidewalk. “O, sir,” I said. “I don’t mean to be a bother but could you direct me to a church around here? Oh and by the way, what a beautiful day we’re having. Don’t you think so?”
This man looked very healthy and wholesome. He looked to be a man no more than 25 years old. He had a grin on his face and he looked rather familiar to me. Of course it was Johnny Lang. I hadn’t seen Johnny for many years. I lost track of him right after the Vietnam War. I supposed he was among the surviving infantry. He looked surprisingly young and unaffected from the ravages of war. I wondered if he was taking vitamins.
Anyway, it was sure good to see him. His mom and dad had passed away while he was at war. It was a car wreck and oddly enough it happened while they were on their way to a church gathering. You never know when it’s time to go. Everybody usually says they're ready, but no one really is when the occasion arises. Johnny had a beautiful family. It was a shame the accident took place on the very day Johnny wrote a letter from Vietnam saying that he was all right and God willing he’d be home again soon.
I remember when he came home for the funeral. It was a sad time for everyone. It was a cold and dreary day. All of us gathered around him at the gravesite. I was there and I still couldn’t believe it. Needless to say Johnny was having a rough time with it. We were supposed to stay until the preacher dismissed us, but we didn’t leave until the graves were completely covered.
Johnny completely broke down and threw himself on the gravestones as he wept openly like a lost child looking for his parents. I can still remember his voice yelling, “God you don’t love me, you don’t care. Please give them back to me, please, oh Lord.” As the rain kept falling, we carried him on our shoulders. We didn’t dare leave him alone for fear he might do something to himself. I guess we all have the same question at a time like this and it’s always: Why?
As we helped him up in his soaked Green Beret uniform, he didn’t have much to say and understandably so. He was a young man with a whole future ahead of him but he had a broken heart that dragged him along a painful distance. A decorated soldier who was laying down his life for God and country yet his family was no longer there to welcome the hero.
Yep, that was Johnny alright. I was glad to see him again after those heart wrenching days he went through. Well thank God he looked much happier now and he finally answered me when I asked him where to find a church. I was waiting to see if he recognized who I was, but I guess he didn’t recall. Oh well. He proceeded to begin to tell me.
Johnny said, “Well you’ll probably have to travel a ways beyond the hill before you see it, but you’ll find it Harry.”
Wow, he really did remember me. Well what do you know? After all this time he remembered my name. He pointed to the hill and as I turned to see it, he walked away. I kept looking in the direction he was headed and I saw him walk up to a beautiful home. As he was reaching for the door, I could hear his mom’s voice in the background, she said, “Are you ready for supper son? Let me call your dad.”
Maybe I was just imagining things but I could’ve sworn I heard them. Well, I guess I’ll walk toward the hill and maybe I’ll find some kind of answer. This is truly a beautiful neighborhood. The grass is so green, you’d swear someone painted it with a bright green color. The flowers seem to shine with deep bright colors. It was hard not to keep staring at them. I was on my way to the hill but I was taking my time.
I looked away for a second and I saw this familiar little girl coming down the sidewalk. She wore a pretty yellow dress with blue ribbons around the sleeves. Her little black penny loafers with flowered white socks triggered my memory that got my attention quickly. She had the most beautiful blonde hair with the clearest endearing blue eyes and a smile to melt your heart like butter on a hot biscuit.
I still remember that same feeling when I was eight years old. It was when I noticed the prettiest little girl in the entire world. There was no one else in the world but this precious angel and me. The feeling of the earth standing still while the mere sound of her voice completely overtook me when she would say hello. Little Betty had stumbled onto a puppy-love-stricken little eight-year-old man. I remember it as if it were yesterday.
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