“Holy cow! You can’t have anymore kids, there’s no more holes in your car!” Jimmy laughed out loud as he spoke over his cell phone. I watched from the doorway of the Hog City Diner. We had walked here from the office on 4th Avenue. It was our favorite lunch spot. Jimmy had the greatest sense of humor of anyone I knew. He was just funny and it made lunch fun. I listened to his end of the conversation.
“Yeah, well, that is just awesome, my friend. I’m honored. Congratulations again! You tell Abby that I’m real happy for her. Unless she’s not happy, of course.” He laughed again. “Okay, bub, I love you guys - see you Sunday. Bye.”
Jimmy folded his phone closed and turned toward me. “Wow, now that’s a brave soul.”
“Who’s that?” I asked.
“His name is Allen Curran. A close friend from church.” He led us to a table and we sat down. A menu was brought to us each. “Hi Liz. What’s on the special?” He asked our waitress.
“Howdy Jimmy. Let’s see…We got vegan meatball sub and fries, hot turkey sandwich and BLT with chips.” Liz said between chews of her gum.
Jimmy smiled. “That’s the same special you had yesterday.”
She grinned. “Yeah, and you’ll probably have the same thing you had yesterday too, I’ll bet.”
“Nope.” Jimmy responded. “Give me a regular Coke instead of a diet.”
“Oooo…What’s the occasion?” She asked, writing his order down.
“The man who helped me get clean is going to be a daddy.”
Liz smiled. “That’s big.”
Jimmy busted out laughing. “Bigger than you could possibly know.” His eyebrows raised and leaned toward her like he was telling a big secret. “This is number nine.”
Liz and I were speechless.
She headed for the kitchen to turn in our orders. I looked at Jimmy. “You know what Jimbo, I’ve never met anyone like you.”
He smiled. “It wasn’t long ago, I was a bag of bones and a needle. That’s where Allen found me. I was in the gutter and headed even lower.” He smiled, but a tear slipped from the corner of his left eye. “He said if it’s a boy, they’re gonna name him Jeremiah James.” He looked down at the desert menu he was nervously fidgeting with. “James, after me.” He fought for control of his voice, wiping his eyes. I hadn’t seen him like this before. I was a little embarrassed for him. Other than his fidgeting, he didn’t seem to be bothered by the public crying.
He looked straight at me, smiling as the tears flowed. “I’m sorry Brian. There’s so much in my life to be happy about.” He leaned closer. “You know I’m a Christian. I’ve never hidden it from you. But do you know why I’m a Christian?”
I didn’t have an answer. “Uhhh…No, why?”
“Because Christ sent a man to me to tell me how God could do for me what I couldn’t do for myself. Get clean.” He leaned back in his chair, inhaling deeply. Oh boy, I thought, here it comes. “He can get you clean too.” Mmm…This was a new approach.
“I’m not on heroin. But I will keep it in mind.”
“We’re no different. We have addictions and sins. You need to get clean from sin.” He took his soda from Liz and thanked her. After he stuck in a straw and took a sip, he continued. “You see Brian, I didn’t need to get cleaned up from drugs. I needed to get cleaned up from sin. Something no man including myself, could do for me.”
“But I thought you just said this Allen guy got you clean?”
“Allen led me to Jesus. When I experienced His forgiveness, the addiction went with my sins.
“And it wasn’t just the drugs being gone. It was what took it’s place. The love of Christ.” He looked at me with piercing eyes. “Last thing I’ll say on the matter.”
A lot of what Jimmy had been telling me for the last few months since we started working together was starting to make sense. And he was real. He lived what he said.
“You know Jimmy, I’d like to meet this Allen fellow you mentioned.” I said.
“No problem. Maybe he could meet us for lunch tomorrow.”
I thought for a moment. “How about you introducing him to me and Sally at church Sunday?”
Jimmy just laughed. Exactly how I expected him to respond.
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