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Friday, May 18, 2012

Excerpt From Johnny Oops - My Grandfather's Genes

As I got out of the shower I heard a car screeching to a halt in the driveway and my father pounding up the stairs shouting, “Johnny, Johnny, are you alright? Let me look at you. A teacher at your school saw the whole thing he said you were magnificent. I’m so proud of you.”

Dad grabbed me and hugged me so hard I was embarrassed. Had to push him away. I was still soaking wet with nothing but a hastily grabbed towel around my waist “It was nothing. I don’t know where I got the courage to do what I did.”
Dad stared at me and said, “Tomorrow you are going to find out. We are going to visit your Grandfather in the Hospital.”

Suddenly the image of my grandfather, Elijah Wilbert, flashed into my mind. I hadn’t thought about him in a long time. He was dying, and my father was taking me to the hospital to see him for the last time. Elijah Wilbert was a well-known Presbyterian Minister in Maine. I remember him as being kind of stern and rarely smiling. I’m fourteen years old and frightened by the specter of death.

He struggled to pull himself up in his hospital bed when he saw me; his shoulder length hair was all white and wavy. The room smelled antiseptic. He grasped my shoulder with his gnarled arthritic right hand, scaring me half to death, drew me close to his mouth, and in a soft voice whispered, “Always remember, Johnny, you come from good stock.”

I didn’t know what he meant at first, but driving home with my Dad I found his words very comforting. I got this big grin on my face. I come from good stock. I come from my father and grandfather’s genes. Means a lot to me. Means I’ve got a history. I’ve got the genes to do something worthwhile. I can be strong like my grandfather and father. I can make a difference. Must be God’s Will. Now it’s my turn. I just wish I knew what I’m supposed to do. Why am I sweating?

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