You know, when you write a little story each week and try to keep the subjects fresh, there are times when you really have to sit back for a while so you can bring forth — through the keys on a computer keyboard — something that may interest a reader. It is a huge burden if you are young and truly haven’t seen the world in the good light or with a little story that is interesting only to the writer.
Perhaps you sit up straight and shout “Eureka!” Then, when you start to pound on the keys, it becomes clear that no one who hasn’t experienced the story you are about to write will read past the first 10 words.
This happens to me just about every time I try to bring something to you on a printed page that will jar your memory and encourage you to sit back, and say to yourself, “Hey! That happened to me one time!” Take this week’s scrabbling…
This is the Christmas season, and even if you receive this paper after you have opened all your presents, the story that I will tell you is about a road that I have traveled or a trail I have walked.
This Christmas is special for me and my family. My wife’s precious mother has turned 90 this past year, and a few weeks ago she was required to be sedated and operated upon. I won’t say that we were all frightened by this, but no one got a good night’s sleep that night.
We are a Catholic family and we pray often. This was probably a small thing to the Good Lord. He surely could handle this little hiccup of life. And you know what? He did. She had to stay overnight, and that wasn’t good news, but the next morning she came home and almost had a spring in her step. God is good.
I’m sure that many of you have stories like this. Perhaps your loved ones didn’t have to be operated upon or spend the night in a hospital, but as sure as “God made little green apples,” as my wonderful mother used to say, you know of what I write. This has been one of the most wonderful years I have ever experienced. Of course, a lot of that was the news about my mother-in-law, but other miracles were showered down upon my house this past year.
Things I have dreamed of and hoped would happen, have happened to me. I am being given an opportunity that I have prayed for. I’m not sure if this will be an ongoing opportunity or not, but at least I am being given the chance. I hope that I will be able to report back to you soon.
I can remember times when I didn’t ask the right deity or make promises I was pretty sure I couldn’t keep. What I can’t remember is when I started believing that my prayers will be answered.
They were little things. “Please let me get a bicycle this year or a special pair of shoes.” These were futile wishes. I was pretty sure even at a young age that God doesn’t answer every prayer. I didn’t NEED the shoes, I just wanted them.
I lived in Arkansas at the time and most all the students of the school in Quitman, Ark., didn’t wear shoes in the spring or summer. Yet in both of those two selfish prayers, I was rewarded. I didn’t get a new bike, but it was new to me. And the shoes did not get worn out. They just got old and stiff and my feet got bigger.
I’m going to take a different tack for the next few words. Last week I told you of a Christmas party that my love and I were invited to. I said I would tell you more this week, so here it is.
Christmas parties are pretty good times most of the time, and this party was no different than usual. There were lots of wonderful people, singing carols and laughing heartily playing games and happiness. That night my life seemed to be the best life that I could have. We came home with a warm heart because it was people that we care about and new friends that will soon be old friends.
Another thing my Mom used to say was, “God works His miracles in mysterious ways.” As Lorraine and I were getting ready for bed, we were laughing and reliving the wonderful night when the phone rang. Not much good news is transmitted when it is late at night. We looked at each other and I gave her the phone. I’m not much for late calls, usually you think of your children first. So Lorraine took the phone and listened to the caller as her face turned a little pale.
I asked with a little hesitation, “What is it?” I started to walk to her when she turned to me and said, “Sarah’s father passed away.”
“Sarah” was Sarah Sarmento. I actually fell to my knees. Her dad, Bud Sarmento, was one of the greatest guys I have met. I could speak to him for a few moments and it would seem as though we had known each other all our lives.
He could take a deep breath and tell the most wonderful story about anything. I have prayed that I could write as well as him. It was through his encouragement that I even attempted to write something each week. He had set the bar very high. He always had a good word for everyone.
He would call me up after a column of mine was printed and tell me how great it was for me to write. He had been in pretty rough shape for a while, and I suppose this is one of the “mysterious ways” my mother used to talk about. His persona will probably never be equaled.
Bud Sarmento was a gigantic reason for me to even contemplate writing things that people would be able to read and actually wanted to read. Every time someone tells me that they like my column, I say a little prayer for Bud. I cannot believe that I will ever duplicate any of his.
God Bless you and Happy New Year!