Ghost that I’ve Known

emma

I believe in ghost. I believe that one can be both Spirit filled as well as spirit visited. I speak from experience. Allow me to clarify…

Those spirits or ghosts which I have known were not ‘spooks.’ They were far from beings which go bump in the night or send your head beneath the covers in fear. No, my ghost have all been non-threatening, beneficial spirits – friendly, and welcomed. They’ve been family.

This first up close and personal spirit visitation I’ll relate – occurred inside the house of God, a church. This was between the time in which my father and mother passed away. The occasion was the marriage of our youngest daughter, Molly. My Dad had always felt especially close to Molly. Of course, she was quite disappointed that he’d not lived to experience her engagement and marriage. After walking down the aisle and giving the young bride away, I sat down beside Carol. Soon after I sat down, I felt my father make his way past me, to sit between her mother and me. My Dad was a creature of habit. For as long as I can remember he’d always used Old Spice after shave. That specific aroma, mixed with that of his own, made for a very, distinctive smell. Dad sat quietly beside me throughout the wedding. I could FEEL his presence! I could SMELL the sweet aroma of his person. And, I was so thankful that he’d made his presence known! Molly, I thought, would be so happy that he’d been there after all! I know my father was there.

I was a second child. My older sister was birthed almost 5 years before me. She never experienced the first breath of life, for she was still-born. That’s her picture in the heading, taken October 15, 1916, the day after her birth and death. Dad died of a heart attack in 1995. Carol and I rented out our home and moved in with Mom. A few months later, Mom was diagnosed with bronchiolar cancer. She lived less than a year. Months before Mom died, she told us that she’d had a visitor during the night. She’d been awakened by the hand of a child gently patting her arm. She turned to see a young girl standing beside the bed. “Mom,” the girl spoke, “Everything’s going to be OK.” Mom said she rubbed her eyes, thinking it was a dream. When she opened them, the girl had vanished. What remained, was a tremendous calm and peace. My older sister had brought a message of reassurance to our dying mother.

Frankly, I have not the slightest clue as to the what or why of this next ghostly encounter, only a hope. Carol and I bought my sister’s half inheritance in the old home place, and we lived there for several years. One old and tattered piece of furniture in the bedroom was a chifferobe, the very first piece of furniture my parents purchased when they were married in 1935. We still have it. The ‘chifferobe thing’ continued to happen for many years.

It has a square, mirrored door on the top left, opening to what was probably intended for hat storage. Under that door are four pull-out drawers. Carol uses these for socks and such. The right side has a full-length mirrored door. This mirror is great for checking clothing. Inside, there’s a clothes-hanger rod. It’s a quite useful piece of furniture. The ‘chifferobe-thing’ happened with me in the room, and sometimes with present Carol also. It wasn’t the wind. It happened indoors, ceiling fan off, windows closed. And it wasn’t caused by flooring that wasn’t level. I can tell you more of what it wasn’t than what it was.

Every so often, at least every other month, sometimes twice in a month… sometimes in daylight, and sometimes at night… there was never a rhyme, reason, or schedule… but the full length right hand door would slowly open. Not just a crack. It would OPEN. Gravity, you say. Not. For it would then, slowly CLOSE! On it’s own. This happened over and over and over again. I won’t even speculate as to what caused this. But… I never felt the slightest inkling of apprehension or fear, no discomfort. Crazy as it may sound, it almost felt ‘comforting’ to me, as if Mom were in the room looking again for something in that old chifferobe.

True, this story has an aura of ‘spookiness,’ and mystery. But I never felt a NEED to know what was causing this strange furniture-anomaly. It never bothered me. It did this in my parent’s old home, and continued when we moved it with us to our new home in Ridgeland, MS But, it ceased this strange behavior after our move to Illinois. I rather miss that. I really do.

FIRST LOVE

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-11-50-40-am  In 1954 I was 13 – and in love the first time. The first time is always the worst. Remember?

Yet still that was a good year! Every year was good back then. Those were the years of great music: The Hilltoppers and Kay Starr. Johnny Ray and Frankie Lane. We were flooded with good music – music that was good for learning about love.

Our church received a new pastor that Summer of ’54 – and this man of the cloth had three daughters! The eldest girl was Joy. And she was a joy. You’ve heard the expression, ‘bedroom eyes.’ Well this fair lass was ‘bedroom’ from the eyes down! She simply reeked of sensuality. She didn’t mean to. She didn’t want to. She just did. The middle child was Gaye, the perfect example of the ‘girl next door’ that every mother wants for her son. Personality plus. Grace. Poise. Charm. Intelligence. Looks. Even humility. She made her daddy proud. My older first cousin dated Gaye.

And then there was Nell. Sweet Nell. The youngest girl. She too was 13 that wonderful year. Nell was lovely in her own right – but Nell had one thing her older 2 sisters lacked. She had a firm grasp on my young heart!

The new pastor’s family moved in at the beginning of summer, and my childhood friend Buddy and I became a two man welcome wagon. That summer we spent endless hours on Nell’s screened-in porch playing Monopoly and Rook, watching cars drive by, and sharing our hopes and dreams. Nell’s favorite song was ‘Love Is A Many Splendid Thing.’ I fell in love. And yes, love can be splendid indeed!

We had only one real date. We rode the city bus downtown to a movie. I wanted to hold her hand and kiss her good night – but was too afraid to try. I wanted us to be sweethearts, but she was content to just be friends. That first hurt is the worst hurt of all. Nerve endings are fresh and at their tenderest. They have yet to be seared and scarred. They have no tough hide to ease the pain. Years later, while going through a particularly traumatic time, I penned these words which are a reflection back onto 1954:

First loves seldom last. For in loving, you learn, In learning, you harm, And in harming… You fail to love. If I’m your first love, Be kind. I called that time my Rod McKuen period.

Toward the end of that memorable summer, Nell herself found love. Love came to her in the form of a older, Neanderthal high school football player from another school. He could drive. He had his own car! All hope and my young heart were dashed. I just had to see this fellow for myself, and put a face on the enemy! (I know what you’re probably thinking about now: a thirteen year old dating a boy of at least 15. Yes, she did. But then, my own mother married my Dad at 16. Oh well.)

Now remember that: (1) I was 13 at the time and 13 year olds are not responsible for their actions. And (2) I was in love, and lovers are not responsible for their actions. Buddy and I planned a little scouting expedition, a simple little drone flight into enemy territory. The church was next door to the parsonage, and an upstairs Sunday School room looked out onto the driveway and onto Nell’s screened in porch. We had heard rumors that HE would be visiting her Saturday afternoon. – and we were there! It was hot in the church. During the week that section of the church was not kept cool. To better spy on the young couple, we entered the building from the opposite side and stealthily crept up the stairs to our lofty perch, a stifling Sunday School room. His car was in the driveway. Occasional laughter and muted voices would drift up to us. We took quick glances over the window sill, fearing discovery (as if anyone would be expecting two sweaty faces in that window). We could not hear what they were saying. And the light was all wrong. We could not see a thing on the porch. I still had to get a look at this character for myself!

Desperate times call for desperate measures! One of Nell’s friends told me that the following Friday night she had a date with Nick, Dick, Blick, or whatever he called himself. I would be there! My Alma Mater, George Elementary School, was right across the street from the parsonage. From a round-about direction, Buddy and I rode out bicycles onto the school yard and hid in the shrubbery, right across the street from her house. But I was still not close enough to see. Fools may rush in where angels fear to tread, but more foolish fools will rush past even those fools. Suddenly I did something quite foolish, something quite un-Bill-like! I sprinted across the street and into the neighbors yard. Then crouching low, made my way, James Bond style, across both yards and into the shrubbery right beside Nell’s front door. I was less than 4 feet from her doorbell! I don’t remember what went through my mind as I waited there. Fear I am sure. As I said, I’d never before done anything quite so daring. My heart was almost pounding out of my chest.

His Chevy drove up. He walked up the steps. I saw the face. He rang the doorbell. She opened to the door. “Bye Mom.” They walked hand in hand to his car and slowly pulled away.

I dashed across the street to my bike and Buddy and I took off in hot pursuit. Lovers drive slowly, for they have all of eternity. We had no trouble keeping them in sight – even on our bikes! A few turns, then that last turn into the Varia Drive-In Theater of all places! I’d seen enough.

We really did have good music back then. Really good. Kay Starr’s big hit that year was, “If You Love Me”… If the sun should tumble from the sky. If the sea should suddenly run dry. If you love me, Really love me, Let it happen, Darling, I won’t care! That was my song to Nell. My hopeless, unsung love serenade to Nell – even though she (obviously) didn’t love me. They say that time heals all. That may be true. But healing does not mean forgetting. I can still remember that adolescent pain.

There was one place in my home where I could truly be alone. The shower. There I shut myself in and let the sound of the spray drowned out my sobs, while it washed away the pieces of my broken heart. That summer of long ago when I was learning about love, and when my first love ‘done me wrong,’ I also learned the hard way to appreciate Country Music.

 

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FOOTBALL

football

Written  September 28, 1994

I played football in the ninth and tenth grades. Offense and defense.

Actually – I practiced football mostly, for I was neither good enough nor big enough to play in the real games – except for one. In that game we were trouncing some hapless opponent 30 something to 6. It was the last quarter, seconds to go, and the other team had the ball – fourth and two. The coach put me in. Defense. We held ‘em. “Stay in Murphy!” the coach yelled from the sideline. Offense. Now we had the ball. 45-34-20 hike!

The horn blew and by career on the field was over. Like I said, I played offense and defense.

As a kid I’d heard my Dad tell how he played every minute of every game his senior year, save one. He had to pick cotton that game. Years later I saw his old high school annual. They’d lost every game by a whopping margin! So I guess you might say that our football careers were somewhat similar.

I went out for football because I made less a spectacle of myself there – than in other sports. I lacked the power for baseball, the speed for track, and the coordination for basketball. Anyway, football players are always getting knocked to the ground. I’d fit right in. Football was the macho thing to do. A young fool will endure all manner of abuse to gain favor with the ladies.

Practice began in August, weeks before school started. Football practice in August in Mississippi is no picnic. I weighed 107 pounds at the beginning of the season. But I persisted. Several times the coach ‘suggested’ that perhaps I was un-suited for football – An understatement to say the least. But I endured until the bruised and bloody end. I was awarded the coveted Enochs ‘E’ football jacket. Boy was I ever proud of that thing! It was a symbol of – manhood! The coach gave the team a long talk, explaining that Bill (and another hanger-on) had lettered not so much for ability, but for far more important reasons: determination, persistence, and Endurance. It was a talk of ideals much more noble than we appreciated at the time. Heck, I would have gladly settled for ability!

In the spring of that ninth grade year we were allowed to join spring practice with the high school team, the big, bad, high school team! I was scared to death! A bus came from the high school each afternoon and picked us up. It was good to rub shoulders with those big guys. Perhaps, just perhaps we thought, some of that bigness would rub off. We wee wimps took a lot of ribbing at first (abuse would be a better word) but after they saw that we could take it, we gained a small measure of their respect.

One of our practice drills involved a sadistic method of improving running and tackling skills. We were arranged in two parallel single file lines about twenty feet apart, facing down field. The coach stood at the head of and between the two lines. He would pitch the ball to a guy at the head of one of the lines. The object: the guy who got the ball ran for all he was worth toward the goal line. The other guy tried with all he was worth to tackle the guy with the ball. I refused to look across to see who my opponent might be. Now there was this exceptionally large fellow on the team. Dennis Perkins. Dennis was a really great guy. Great personality. Fun to be around. Loved by all. But physically, he was a 285 pound two-legged rhino. At the last moment I looked. Dennis! The coach tossed the ball to me! At this time I was up to 110 pounds, small, but somewhat fleet of foot. (The coach tried to get me to go out for track, but that was too much work.) I caught the ball and ran. I ran fast. I ran like the wind, my little legs a blur. Then everything became a blur. I was rudely awakened to the biting smell of ammonia from one of those tiny vials broken under my bloody nose. I never knew that Dennis could run so fast! After they realized that I would probably walk again, we all had a good laugh. Especially Dennis.

My game career was no better in high school than in junior high. I dressed out for only one game that year, and that was a real hoot! I was only 27 inches in the waist, and we had plenty of small practice uniforms – but the smallest game uniform was a 36. They literally TAPED me into the uniform. Our uniforms were black and gold, and the adhesive tape was WHITE. I looked like a NFL mummy – NILE Football League!

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Just Desserts

JUST DESSERTS – The history behind the Second Baptist Church. This is the second piece in the Uncle Earle and Aunt May series.

There’s not but one Baptist Church in Fairchild, Mississippi, the Second Baptist Church. That sounds kinda strange, there being only one Baptist church in town. Here’s the story of how this came about.

It’s all because of a huge banana pudding fight between the pastor’s wife and the head deacon’s wife of the First Baptist Church. Grandma Eunice was there and she swore that everything said about it was the Gospel truth! It happened on the fourth night of the week long “BROTHERLY LOVE CONFERENCE” sponsored by the Young Homemakers Club. (At least it was planned to be a week long.) That was on a Wednesday night, and the club planned a covered dish supper before the conference began.

Any self-respecting Southern Baptist knows you must have Cool-Whip in any respectable dessert. (Tom Barnes says that Cool-Whip’s a-number one seller at the Wag-A-Bag). That night the head deacon’s wife came in with a huge Banana Pudding she’d made from a recipe she found in one of those women’s magazines they sell at the at the Wag-A-Bag. Those magazine folks must not be Southern Baptist because that banana pudding had never been near any Cool-Whip. Of course, the pastor’s wife always brought her banana pudding, and it was considered the banana pudding of any church social. (She made it from her Great-Aunt Ida’s recipe, who once served it to Johnny Cash back in the 60s, when his show bus broke down when passing through town.) Of course, it was always made with Cool-Whip.

It was bad enough that the deacon’s wife brought another banana pudding to the event, but to pour oil on the fire, she even had the nerve (Grandma Eunice used the word gall) to think that her banana pudding was the better of the two! Soon there was a little eye-sparing around the serving table and some timid tasting by the two women. The rest of the crowd didn’t know quite what to do. It would’ve been in poor taste not to have some of both. And it would’ve also been in poor taste not to at least appear to be loyal to your pastor’s wife. And that would have appeared like you thought the deacon’s wife’s banana pudding was in poor taste… even if you thought it was great. See what I mean? Grandma Eunice said it actually did taste pretty darn good!

The two women nervously talked about their banana puddings, simple stuff like how many bananas they used, how ripe they were, things like that. You couldn’t cut the tension with one of those as-seen-on-TV miracle knives. Nobody knows what actually started the fracas, because everyone was giving the two women a wide berth at the time. But Grandma Eunice said she distinctly heard one of ’em say in a loud voice, (But she couldn’t tell which one) – “Yeah, well you know what you can do with YOUR bananas!”

The next thing you know, those two fine upstanding Christian women are flinging great handfuls of banana pudding at one another! Globs of yellow pudding, banana disks, and limp vanilla wafers were flying everywhere! The pastor’s wife slipped in the banana-goo, her feet slip-sliding away in all directions. She grabbed at the table to keep from falling – and the head deacon’s wife pounced on this opportunity, and lifted the bowl filled with what was left of the pastor’s wife’s banana pudding – sending it crashing down, pudding first, right on top of the pastor’s wife’s head! The two husbands rushed into the fray, desperately trying to separate their slippery, banana pudding covered wives. It was hard to tell who was who because both were so covered in banana pudding. It only took one good yank on the wrong wife by the wrong husband, in the wrong place – and it erupted into a genuine free-for-all. Grandma Eunice said it was the pastor who accidentally grabbed the head deacon’s wife in the most inappropriate of places.

In Baptist circles around here they refer to that night as the Great Banana Pudding War of ’84. To give each side credit, after the fellowship hall was cleaned up, the two families attempted to reconcile their differences. They never did. And neither did they ever finish the FIRST ANNUAL BROTHERLY LOVE CONFERENCE.

I guess the damage was done. The head deacon and his family quit First Baptist and started a new little church across town. At first the new group met in the deacon’s living room, bringing in a part-time preacher who was no more than a kid fresh out of seminary. They started out with about eight. Around that time the overall factory received a big government contract to make Army uniforms. Soon trailer parks and apartments started popping up around there like popcorn on a Saturday night. That little band of renegade Baptist started knocking on aluminum doors and luring dirty faced trailer-park kids to Sunday School – until pretty soon it was standing room only in that cramped little bath-and-a-half house. The pimple-faced preacher was hired on full-time, and with the help of a good band of new deacons, he got dried off behind his ears real soon. They built a small church building, and in no time at all they had to enlarge the place – twice!

It grew up so quickly that they never got around to properly naming it! (Those at First Baptist referred to it as the “Other Baptist.”) There were so many people offering up so many different names as to what to call it, (names like Glory Road Baptist, Heaven Bound Baptist, and People of the Word Baptist were offered) that the young pastor simple threw up his hands and said they’d just call it The Second Baptist Church until they could come up with a better name. I guess they never did. (I wonder if anybody ever suggested BANANA BAPTIST?)

Young folks like a young church. So most of the younger bunch from First Baptist drifted over to Second Baptist. Soon, with thinning ranks, the old church began to wither on the vine. There’s a cemetery adjoining the spot where First Baptist used to be. Beside the church, and shading several dozen graves, was a great old monster of an oak tree. The old oak was diseased, and rotted out pretty badly. Kids thought the center of the old tree looked like a spooky cave! It really should have been removed years before. But the older members of the congregation would have none of that. A typical remark was, “My poor dead husband proposed to me under that tree just before he shipped off to the Great War – and that tree’ll come down over MY dead body.” And that was exactly what the church board was waiting for. But the old tree couldn’t wait.

It took a thunder storm no worse than any, maybe even smaller than most. But the old tree came down anyway, right smack dab across the middle of The First Baptist Church. It took out half the sanctuary and a third the pews, the pulpit, the organ, part of the choir loft, the choir room, the pastor’s study, one and a half Sunday School rooms – and the ladies’ john. It must have been the loss of the ladies’ john that did it. They could’ve met under a tent until they rebuilt the place, and had “open air” services for a while. But the old ladies of the church just had to have a bathroom, and there wasn’t another for half a mile away – except of course for the MEN’s bathroom. It still worked. But those old women were not going to share a bathroom, not with those old pee-on-the-seat men! Anyway, the insurance company had long ago realized that the old oak tree was a hazard, and they’d written in a clause that exempted them from loss caused by the tree. (The church board had forgotten about that!) The old church was a total write-off.

So that’s why the only Baptist church in town happens to be named The Second Baptist Church!

 

Honey Buns

The following short piece of fictional humor is one chapter of a collection of ‘Uncle Earle and Aunt May’ stories, original written several years ago. I hope to included several of these in the near future. Note: all of these stories, or parts thereof, are drawn from tidbits of personal experience, knowledge, or some taco induced wild dream. Who knows, you might just think you see yourself in one of these stories!

Last month the Wag-A-Bag hired on a new cashier, a youngster fresh out of high school. She worked only afternoons and Saturdays. From the first time Uncle Earle laid eyes on her, he was struck! Not on her, and not in the way you might think. Uncle Earle got all starry-eyed over the young lady’s rear end! “Boy oh boy, Billy,” he said to me, “That girl’s got the finest hinny I ever laid eyes on!”

Uncle Earle’s in his 80’s. I’ve always believed he was harmless, and still do. But just because there’s snow on the roof, that’s no sign there’s not fire in the furnace. Anyway, Uncle Earle was really fixated on that girl’s behind. And he wasn’t shy in spreading the word about her fair fanny to any and all who’d listen. “You mention that girl’s BE-hind one more time in this house Earle,” Aunt May barked, “and I’ll kick YOURS clear to the back side of nowhere!” But that didn’t stop Uncle Earle. He praised her posterior high and low. Most men in town, being men, thought that perhaps they’d better go see this thing that had come to pass. Men who’d never grocery shopped a day in their lives suddenly wanted to go shopping. Me included. I must say, Uncle Earle was right.

Earl and May really were out of eggs. So Uncle Earle naturally volunteered to go to the store. They often fix ‘breakfast’ for supper. It was nearly 7, and the Wag-A-Bag closes at 7, so Uncle Earle got a move on. He was briskly walking up to the door when Tom Barnes, the store’s manager, pulled out his keys to lock up. Uncle Earle’s still spry for his age, so as quick as a rabbit he darted in, almost knocking Tom over. Uncle Earle made a bee-line to the egg case, and began searching through each box to see if any were broken. It really gets Uncle Earle’s craw to find 3 or 4 opened egg cartons with one broken egg in each. So he proceeded to re-package the eggs, carefully putting all the cracked eggs into one carton.

“Earle!” barked Tom Barnes from the front of the store, “Hurry it up for crying out loud!” Soon, eggs were not all Uncle Earl in his basket. He had cheese, eggs, a package of wieners, and 3 small tubs of yogurt. Finally, hurrying up to the register, Uncle Earle was disappointed to see that Honey Buns wasn’t there! She’d gone to the employee’s lockers in the back to get her purse. Tom, checked him out. What a let down!

But just as Uncle Earle was gathering up his purchases, suddenly the girl, Fancy Pants, Little Miss Booty-ful, Honey Buns – appeared at the ‘out’ door. Tom hadn’t locked the OUT door yet. She was wearing loose fitting, white cotton jogging pants. Warm-Ups folks call ‘em. She was carrying a purse, her car keys, and a bag of groceries. Just as she reached to push the OUT door, she dropped her purse scattering small change across the floor.

Now this girl, the subject of much praise and adoration from the wolves of town, had never been given any overt reasons to suspect that her hind end was the subject of such extreme interest. Otherwise, she’d been more cautious in her actions. So when her change fell onto the floor, she innocently bent over to pick it up. Bad move. Or good move, depending on how you look at it. (Pardon the pun.)

Uncle Earle was in the process of following Sweet-thing out the door when she dropped the purse, so when she stopped and bent over, well – her adorable posterior was – right there. Those cotton warm-ups were not all that thick. When she bent over, they became quite form-fitting – right across the area of Uncle Earle’s deep seated attraction. Underneath, Uncle Earle recalled in vivid detail, she was wearing yellow panties – with pink and blue flowers. Uncle Earle has amazing recall for a man his age. What happened next will be talked about around the Wag-A-Bag for years to come.

Once a mountaineer was asked why he climbed the mountain. “Because it’s there,” he replied. And ‘it’ was there – right within Uncle Earle’s reach.

He told me later that it was those pink and blue flowers that did it. “Had it a-been those baggy pink bloomers what May wears, that would-a been different. It was them bloomin’ FLOWERS!”

In a daze, Uncle Earle dropped his bag of groceries, and reached out toward those twin fields of pink and blue flowers, taking a double handful of her well defined rump! With a scream that could be heard in the next county, the girl jerked erect, her arms flailing in terror. Uncle Earle stumbled backwards, planting one foot squarely in the middle of the egg carton. Racing out the door, the freaked-out girl barreled headlong right into the side of Officer O’Neill’s patrol cruiser. I don’t know if Tom would’ve called the police or not. And that poor girl was too hysterical to think of anything short of rearranging Uncle Earle’s face. So Officer O’Neill, who just happened to be making his rounds, took control of the situation and did the honors.

A few hours later, Aunt May and I were at the county jail bailing out Uncle Earle. “Why, Uncle Earle? What possessed you to do that?” I asked. Aunt May was both furious and mortified with shame.

“Them flowers, them flowers,” was all he could mutter. Tom Barnes banished Uncle Earle from EVER coming back to the wag-A-Bag, and the traumatized Honey Buns never came back either. It cost Uncle Earle a hundred and fifty dollars of his Social Security check to get out of jail. “Well I hope you’re satisfied Earle,” said Aunt May, as she slammed the money on the counter. “Was it worth it old man?” she barked, “Was it worth it?”

I could have sworn a saw a tiny smile creep across his thin lips… “Yup. Yup… it wuz.”

HOW I CAME TO WRITE

christmas-head

It’s only fitting that this first ‘official’ blog be a history of how I came to write. I was about 12 at the time, entering that bewildering wonderland between childhood and an adult. I had by this time made up my mind, heart, and yes, spirit – that I really did believe all those unbelievable things we read in the Bible. Yes, I knew that God really was real.

I’d been asked to give a short devotional in our Methodist Youth Fellowship Class. I was beginning to think deep 12 year old thoughts about this time, so I decided to WRITE my devotional! Other than short school assignments, this was my first attempt at ‘serious’ writing.

Easter was approaching, so an Easter devotional seemed appropriate. I found a very, very large nail among my Dad’s tools, and planned to use the nail, a piece of 2×4, and a large hammer as props. Then I began to write.

My thought process centered of Christ’s sacrificial death for our sins.The more I focused on this truth, the more unbelievable it seemed to me that His own people could have rejected Him! And then, I remembered that people of my day were still trying to push Him aside, out of the way, out of their lives. For the first time, the use of ‘X’ for Christmas – as in ‘Merry Xmas’ suddenly seemed all the more repulsive. It was truly sad, and unbelievable. I worked this into my Easter story. I entitled the piece, ‘THE MAN CALLED X.’

That was 60+ years ago. I’m still writing. People are still replacing the real Easter story with stories of rabbits and eggs. And people are busier today celebrating anything and everything but the true meaning of Christmas. Who would have thought 60 years ago that it would not be considered ‘politically correct’ in 2016 to say Merry Christmas! More than ever before, our once Christian nation is X-ing Him out! We know what happened to the Jewish nation when they did that. Let’s pray it’s not too late for us. Bill Murphy

 

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