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Episode Three: "Floating From Hospital To Prison"

Sometimes I feel like a mountain climber reaching for the summit of Mt. Everest. I seem to move without any effort or strain. I remember a special request I made to God years ago. Though I felt unworthy to ask anything of Him, I did anyway. It was a strange request. Somehow I felt the oddity of it was too outrageous. I almost decided not to ask. So I waited for a better time to ask.
  
One day I went to visit a long time friend at the hospital. I had gotten there just in time to see Joe Lair for the last time. He was ready and as I kissed his brow, Joe took his last breath and said, “Ask Him now.”

I figured that Joe had heard something that was for me. This was the time to ask God if there was a special application I had to fill out in order to be an angel. Yes that’s right, I actually asked if I could be one of them fellows. I never got an answer but I knew He heard me and I’m still waiting for a yea or nay.
  
I guess my frustration took over when Joe Lair died. I wish I could have done something for him. He was used as a messenger for me. I asked to be an angel for the sake of helping people like Joe and myself. I was always afraid of dying but now I don’t seem to be afraid anymore. As a matter of fact, I feel pretty good about it.
  
I am moving on, “It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood won’t you be mine, hmmmm.”  It all seems familiar but different at the same time. I do remember Joe and what a great friend he was at a time when I thought no one really cared. When I was on my way again towards the hill I started thinking about Joe Lair and all of a sudden a familiar prison appeared.

This prison had been my home for about 13 years. It was a place I didn’t want to remember but who can ever forget the wasted days and wasted nights of prison life?
  
When I was 23 and before I served there myself, I visited this same prison with a preacher friend of mine. I came along for both an education and because the preacher asked me to come and see what prison ministry was all about. I agreed when I figured a way I could use it as an essay project assignment. The preacher was a good and strong upstanding Lutheran. He was a tall man wearing a wide brim brown hat eager to do good for someone who would listen.
  
The preacher said, “I was led of the Lord to come and help these poor lost souls in Janaka Prison.”

He carried a black leather bible just about everywhere he went. I remember the day I went with him to buy some groceries for a needy family and he even took that same bible into the store. I’ve got to admit, he looked mighty impressive as he slapped the bible on the counter while he was paying for the groceries. Some people were shaken up a bit, seeing a tall man dressed in black preacher garb with piercing gray eyes that could cut right through you. They weren’t used to seeing a bible thumper with a bible in broad daylight especially with liquor buying customers standing right next to him.
  
Yea, he was something. He lived down the street about five houses away. After I’d run some errands with him, I’d come back home. It must have been about eight in the evening when my next-door neighbor Jeff came out of his house acting rather angry with me. He told me if I didn’t restrain my dog, he was going to call the dog catcher and if that didn’t do it, he was going to fix my dog himself. I tried to explain to him that the dog was not my dog. He wouldn’t hear the truth. He was too drunk and busy yelling away at whatever I said. Jeff was mighty upset.
  
When I had moved into the neighborhood, Jeff was always having high old times at his big bash parties. He was a young man having a good old time with his life and friends. The cops would come every now and then just to make sure his parties wouldn’t get too loud or get too out of hand. This went on for about a couple more years until they shut him down. The last big party Jeff had turned out to be too rowdy and turned out to be one of the biggest cocaine crack busts the city ever saw.

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