Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: fathers (06/06/05)
TITLE: Overalls In Heaven!
By Pam Kumpe
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"Pa's wearing overalls and a straw hat and Ma is wearing her apron, the one with strawberry jam stains."
"No, daddy," Melody patted her father's arm, "I don't see them."
Pointing, he tried to raise his arm from the bed, "Over there, in the chair. Ma's crocheting a blanket, and Pa is standing behind her."
Melody looked over, a neatly folded blanket; one crocheted by Ma lay on the arm of the chair. A straw hat that of Pa's, hung on a rack, dangling in the air.
"Daddy, I don't see them. They are in heaven, remember. Your Pa died when you were a kid and your Ma when you were in your twenties."
"No, he is right there, brushing the dust from his pants and my Ma is there, too. I can see them." He insisted. "The have come to take me home."
Sitting beside his bed, she squeezed his crooked hand, praying for peace to soothe his heart.
"I'm going home to the cotton fields and I'm gonna have some homemade preserves," He whispered.
Daddy's sentence trailed off, then resumed, "It's because of me. That's why they have come. They are smiling at me. They have missed me so much."
Melody, although puzzled by his description of his parents, she was warmed by the reminder of them, and yet saddened by the reality of the moment.
"But daddy, you can't go. It's too soon." Her father's illness, his aged body and the recent paralysis told of the long journey, 80 plus years of living, now drawing to a close.
He lifted a finger, motioning to his daughter. "Come closer." She moved and leaned in. He puckered, kissing her cheek, and said, "You will be all right."
"But, no daddy," she cried. "God can heal you. He can."
"My dear, daughter. I am healed. I am running to Pa and Ma and the Lord, right now..."
He inhaled and exhaled, taking a long, slow breath, and she wept. She was not prepared to say that final good-bye and struggled with her feelings. The straw hat fell from the rack and drifted slowly to the floor.
"No, daddy...no!" She screamed. "Not now! I'm not ready!" Looking back, she grabbed the hat, clutching it to her heart. "Daddy....daddy..."
Covering him with the blanket from the chair, she smoothed the covers, and through her tears, she told him, "I will miss you so much. Don't forget me. Come for me someday, please."
She touched her face with her fingers, the cheek where a father's kiss left a lasting memory, a precious token of his love.
Daddy found his way into the fields of heaven and Melody pictured him with the Lord at the Masterís table, eating homemade strawberry jam, and yes, she figured Pa and Ma had joined in for the grandest meal of all time, too!
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