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Episode Nine: "The Big Test"


I got some news at the fifth year of my sentence. My Lutheran pastor would not be visiting anymore. It was a massive heart attack that took him within a blink of an eye. I was sure going to miss him. I remember the greatest thing he’d say every time we would say goodbye. He would say, “God loves you today.”
  
From the time of his death I held on to that for the rest of my life.
  
Hamlee started to visit every now and then. It was on the thirteenth year of my sentence, he brought me the best news I’d had in a long time.
  
Hamlee said, “Harry, how is it going for you?”
  
I said, “Thank God I’m alright Hamlee. You know, God really loves you today.”
  
Hamlee replied, “Why are you saying that to me Harry? Have you gone completely bonkers now? I remember the angry man that had a reason to be angry and yet now you seemed to have either given up or you are dying. Which one is it Harry? I let you down and you are wasting you life away in here. It took all I had to get myself here to say how sorry I am about this. Damn it Harry, I could’ve done better for you.”
  
I said, “It’s not your fault Hamlee. I’m doing my best to keep it together. With His help I’ve been able to hang on.”
  
Hamlee said, “Okay Harry, I got to go. I’ll be back.”
  
I said, “Later, remember what I told you Hamlee. God loves you today.”
  
A month went by and Christmas was only a week away. The prison choir was singing Christmas carols in the chapel. Hamlee came back and brought me the greatest gift for me.
  
I said, “Hamlee, what are you doing out here at Christmas man? You're supposed to be with your family."
  
Hamlee explained, “Harry, I’ve got wonderful news. When we spoke the last time, you gave me something I really didn’t realize. God really loves me and Harry, God really loves you.”
  
I said, “Yea Hamlee, that is so true. I’ve learned that more and more. As long as I know God loves me, I could stay here forever and know that He is truly my way to freedom. If I should leave my body today, I’d be with Him in an instant anyway. So I have won the game already.”
  
Hamlee said, “Harry something has happened. The guy that did the killing has confessed. They’re going to set you free, Harry. Merry Christmas. God really loves you Harry.”
  
Yes sir, I can still recall that day. Mr. Hamlee went on to be one of the finest judges of our state. I didn’t see Edna that Christmas while I was in prison. She had planned a coming home Christmas party for me. She even set me up with a great job. I was the manager of Torlex Electronics Corporation. How she swung that, I will never know. The Christmas party was a beautiful affair. Edna and I moved in together and we lived joyfully until her very last day on earth. We shared the last years with a happiness that I had never known. She would always try to push me into marrying again. She wanted a house full of grandchildren. I never remarried. Just taking care of Edna fulfilled my life. The only thing left to do for me was to move out now that Edna died. No one wants any dead wood around after the beach has been cleaned so to speak. I didn’t know where I was going to go but I knew that somehow God would take care of that too. I felt I had to leave before I had to put up with the unpleasantness of being evicted out of Edna’s house. I didn’t mind it. Edna was the only reason I stayed on.
  
When Edna passed away, my heart was broken but I knew where she would be. It was a short funeral service and burial just like she wanted. The highlight of this occasion was brought to a fever pitch as a New Orleans Dixieland Band let loose of the greatest farewell music for Edna that day which was the way she had ordered it.
  
A couple of days went by and I received a phone call from Edna’s estate lawyer. His name was Mr. Thompson. I answered the call and was to meet him downtown at his office.
  
Mr. Thompson greeted me and said, “Mr. Cooper, Mrs. Edna Davis has left a substantial estate and has made you her only heir. It consists of $5 million dollars. She has also left her shares of Torlex Electronics Corporation. She also left us at your disposal for accounting services as long as you need us. Please feel free to consult with us from now on. We are retained by the estate until you see fit to change the program. We are here to serve you sir.”
  
From then on my life became a calling to help my fellowman even if my own fellowman had falsely accused me and put me in prison for 13 years. But I can see the plan clearly now. I forgave.
  
Well I’m almost at the foot of the hill now. I see someone coming around again. I wonder who it is.

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