Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: TRAVELER (01/28/16)
- TITLE: The Witness
By Kristine Baker
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As I wiped down tables, I imagined the types of conversations and laughter that may have happened in each booth just hours before my arrival. With the juke box quiet and its lights no longer flashing to the beat of the Top 40 Hits, I found the nights to be long and sort of eerie as I worked alone. To combat the silence, I listened to my portable radio.
A soothing deep voice began, “Hello radio friends and welcome to tonight’s edition of The Witness. My name is Milton Woods and for the next hour, I will share with you my adventures in Key West, Florida.”
As I began to wipe down the bar stools, I found Milton to be very engaging. His descriptions were so detailed I felt as if I were in his experience.
“Key West is the southernmost subtropical paradise in the United States. With sand between my toes, I strolled along the Gulf of Mexico shore and was captivated by how the blue-green water unrolled into the horizon. As the balmy breeze rustled the leaves of the palm trees and the song of the seagulls carried through that breeze, it reminded me of an audience clapping and praising God.”
Milton took a breath and continued, “The magenta and orange lined sunset sky was the backdrop to the many street performers who threw fire in the air and caught it without going up in flames or burning their hands. The man creating balloon animals made a green turtle with a red hat for the little boy standing with his parents just in front of me. The female contortionist twisted her body like a pretzel and made it appear that she lacked a spine. The sailboats lined the horizon for a closer send off to the setting sun; and God gave us a glorious sunset that day.”
I caught myself longing to be in Key West, but the splash of the water in the mop bucket brought me back to reality.
Milton ended his radio show by saying, “Life is a journey. You may not be able to see what is before you, but take hold of the hand of God and he will always lead you. Thank you for listening, and Lord willing, I will be here tomorrow to share more of my adventures.” After a few advertising commercials and an update on the local weather, light jazz music kept me company as I finished my shift.
I worked at Beer Thirty for almost a year before I found a full-time, first-shift job. I told Lisa that when we get back on our feet financially, I have a list of places to visit since listening to The Witness. While I was up one night with my infant son, Jacob, I tuned my radio to listen to The Witness, but Milton’s show was not on the air. Since Jacob was wide awake, I searched for our daily newspaper to catch up on the latest news.
On the third page of the paper, the headline read, The Witness Travels to Eternity. A picture of a man, who looked to be in his thirties and in a wheelchair wearing sunglasses, was included under the title. In shock, my eyes darted left to right reading that Milton Woods had been blind since birth and became a paraplegic at the age of three from a car accident that killed his father and brother. He was a gifted storyteller and loved his radio program, The Witness.
I am thankful we fell on hard times in late summer of 1994. I understand now what Milton meant at the end of each show when he said, “Life is a journey. You may not be able to see what is before you, but take hold of the hand of God and he will always lead you.”
Milton not only kept me company at Beer Thirty, but also taught me how to look at life through the eyes of my heart.
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