The rain tapped on the window, as if to make its arrival known. Norman sat at his desk staring into the flames dancing around the logs in the fireplace. I really believed God had called me to write this, he thought.
He thumbed through the pages of the manuscript, a manuscript he had poured his soul into. Trash…utter trash, he shook his head and rolled his chair away from the desk. Checking his watch he headed to the kitchen.
He walked up to his wife, standing at the kitchen sink, and dropped a kiss on her head. Then joined his children at the table.
“What do I owe this pleasure to? Don’t you have school today?” he said.
“Father, you know we’re on Christmas vacation.” Margaret ran her hands through her hair and pulled the curls over one shoulder. “I could have stayed at the dorm and studied.” She giggled.
“Then I wouldn’t have to share a room again.” Elizabeth said.
Ruth turned from the sink. “Liz, you love having your big sister home from college.”
“Mom, Robbie wants me to come to his house.” John said.
“We’ll see, let’s finish lunch first.” Ruth said.
After lunch Norman went into his office. Ruth walked in and found him staring at a stack of letters with a defeated expression.
Putting her arm across his shoulders, she laid her head on his. “Another rejection letter?”
“Yes. And now I know what to do.” He placed the manuscript in the trashcan.
Ruth reached for the manuscript and before she could grasp it, Norman placed his hand on hers.
“Leave it, that’s where it belongs. I plainly went outside the will of God.” He said.
“Norman, you can’t mean that. I read your manuscript. It has the potential to make a difference in peoples lives.” Ruth wiped a tear.
“Dear, we have to face reality. The manuscript is where it belongs. I’m going to the church for a while.” He took his hat from the rack by his office door. He turned and gave his wife a hug. “I’ll be back before dinner. I love you.”
“I love you too.” She said.
She turned and looked at the trashcan. What am I going to do?
She smiled, and knew exactly what to do. She hurried and changed her clothes. Putting on her coat, she called to her son.
“John, come on and I’ll drop you at Robbie’s.”
She opened the door of the girl’s room. “I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”
“Mom, what’s the trashcan for?” John said.
“Come on John, get in the car, I’m in a hurry.”
After dropping John off, Ruth drove to the business district. She pulled open the heavy glass door to the offices of, Prentice-Hall Publishers.
The secretary looked up from her typewriter. With a frown she asked.
“May I help you?”
Ruth shifted the trashcan to the other arm. Uncomfortable with the glare the secretary was directing at her. “I want to see the person in charge of publishing, please.”
“Do you have an appointment?” The secretary said.
“I need to give this…this manuscript to the publisher.” Ruth said.
“I’m sorry, but...”
A man came through the doorway behind the secretary’s desk. “Susan, I need the file for…I apologize, I didn’t see you were talking to someone.” He stepped around the desk.
“What’s this?” He said.
“It’s my husband’s…manuscript.”
“May I see it?” He said.
Ruth pushed the trashcan towards him.
“No, I mean the manuscript.” He said.
“My husband asked me to leave it in the trash.” Ruth hugged the trashcan against her chest.
He removed the manuscript from the trashcan. “I’ll look at it when I get a chance. What’s your name?”
“Nice meeting you Mrs. Peale, I’m Mr. Hall. Leave your phone number and address with my secretary.”
The following weeks Ruth listened for the two short rings, which meant the phone was for them and not another party on the party line. The call didn’t come.
One morning, they were finishing breakfast when the sound of the doorbell echoed through the house. Ruth wiped her hands on her apron. Opening the door she found Mr. Hall standing on her front porch.
He removed his hat. “Hello Mrs. Peale. Is your husband home?”
“Please, come in.” Ruth showed him to the sitting room and went to find her husband.
Mr. Hall spoke with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. In 1952 Prentice-Hall published, The Power of Positive Thinking.
Note: Based on a true story.
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