Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)
TITLE: DUTY CALLS
By Mary Alice Bowles
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He is age 7:
I am running just as fast as my two legs can carry me toward the big huge swing set in Central Park, screaming at the top of my lungs, “Junior you cannot do that! You can’t take your wagon up the slide and ride it down”. I get there just in time as the wagon runs down the slide with him inside, riding like a sled down a snowy mountain side. Giggling, he says, “What’s wrong mom”? How come I can’t do it? Johnny did it and he’s ok”. I said, “Honey you cannot do everything that Johnny does. If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you jump too”? He said, “No mom, I don’t like jumping, I just like swinging and sliding on the slide”.
He’s 11, the valedictorian of his class, a boy with long muscled legs, fawn brown eyes and unruly brown curly hair. All the girls think he’s beautiful, but they’re afraid of all that integrity. Susie liked him, but she gave him up for Johnny, who became the star basketball player of the fifth grade. Oh well, I won’t worry about puppy love right now.
As I roll out the dough for his favorite chocolate chip cookies, I decide this will be the day that I will have another talk with him about drugs. He came through the kitchen door, headed straight for the dough bowl, and I said, “Honey, can we talk”? He said, with a lop-sided smile that made my heart have love drops. “Is it the same talk, mom”? Mom, this is my final answer, I will always just say, “no” to drugs because this beautiful lady I know told me that drugs would fry my brain. Mom please remember that I still want to be a doctor”.
His dreams become nightmares; I always get to him just in time before the enemy shoots him down. I sat on the edge of the bed and stroke his curly brown head. I said, “Talk to me honey, what is happening”? He said, “Mom, I don’t know, I’m on the ground standing looking up and all of a sudden, enemy planes are all around and they come closer and closer, they have machine guns hanging out the window and they start emptying them out on me and someone always saves me before they hit. What is it mom? Sometimes I am so scared”.
I said, “Baby, what do you fear”? He said, “Mom, if I tell you, you won’t think I’m a sissy will you”? I said, “No honey, I will never think you are a sissy”. He said,” It’s the draft, I fear the draft. The fighting is getting worse and the president needs more men and you know I am just the right age”. I held him close to my bosom and cuddled him like a baby as I shared my fears with him. “Honey, I’ve been thinking the same thing and I will share this one with you, “you are my only son and I don’t think you will get drafted”. If you do, there will be special forces watching over you. I’ll send to you angel forces from Gods mighty army.
The Local paper: The Orange County Journal
One of our local doctors, Andrew Walter Campbell Jr., is in the Army Reserve; he has volunteered to join forces with the American war effort in Iraq as an American doctor on the combat field. He will be leaving from the John F. Kennedy International Airport on June 12. If anyone wants to say their last good-bys, be there by 7:30 on Wednesday morning.
My Last Good-by:
I threw my arms around his neck and laid a metal emblem in his hand, it read, “Jesus, My Lifeguard”. He opened his hand, looked at it and gave me that toothy smile, kissed me ever so lightly on the cheek and said, “I love you, Mom”. I reached for his other hand and laid the Purple Heart inside his palm, the one he received in, "Operation Desert Storm".
As I watched my only son wing off into the morning light, I said, “Oh Lord I now give him over to you once again. I place his care in your nail scared hands. When all is said and done, my Father, you are the only lifeguard he will ever need”!
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