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"Alone" Chapter Four
What a pleasure it is to get out and about again and smell the warmth of the earth all around us. To hear the birds joyfully singing the arrival of spring is special indeed. I have been told that in some south facing protected areas tulips have started to emerge. That in itself announces to me something is changing.
I have learned one thing about this area since arriving here. This time of the year expect anything so that means the snow shovel and ice melt stay within reach.
First and foremost I would like to thank the faithful who have been reading and leaving such encouraging comments. You are terrific and like always welcome to the Fireside. All is ready for you even for those who have left special requests. I have been hearing lately that the cookies are a favorite. They come in many different flavours and are good for what ever the occasion is or the mood you are in. Please enjoy and make yourselves comfortable and at home. Welcome to the fourth chapter of the book Alone... do relax and enjoy your time here.
"The Blessing" Chapter Four
I sat for several minutes thinking of the day that I just been through. Tears welled in my eyes as I remembered the blessing my dad had just given me. It was sincere and delivered each time in love and sincerity.
It was a yearly family tradition to receive the blessing. Generally it would come at the start of a new year. Sometimes I would be home but this year I was far from home. It was something I had looked forward to as a child and even later in life. As an adult I felt it was an affirmation of the love my father had for me.
My father and I had a special relationship. It was based on love and respect, yet offered with a firm hand when it was called for. We had little time together in my younger years because he was always busy with his business. Years later he asked for my forgiveness for all the time we missed together.
His day started at 9 AM and ended most nights at 11 pm; he only had breaks for meals. Each night the family gathered after supper and prayed the Rosary together. Even as a child I knew this was a special time. I recalled the look on my parents faces as we knelt in prayer together.
There were however, a few occasions when my father and I were able to do things together, like learning to shoot his 22-rifle. He was familiar with the use of guns because he had spent his early life in the military and served in England during the 2nd world war. I have pictures of him dressed up in his uniform standing proudly in Trafalgar Square.
The day he taught me to shoot, my target was an old oilcan we had tossed in a pond a few miles from town. There I learned the rules of gun safety and came to understand the terrible things guns can do.
After that I was allowed to take the gun and go hunting gophers alone. I was likely the only child in the town I grew up in who was allowed to handle a gun at the age of ten. It was based on trust even though mom was against it.
The owner of the local hardware store paid a bounty of 1cent per gopher tail. She even extended credit to me. I soon became a proficient marksman. A box of 50 rounds of ammunition sold for 35 cents. As long as I was careful I could pocket the extra 15 cents per box.
I had one hunting accident the first year that could have been fatal. I was stalking a rabbit, tripped over a log and fell forward. I forgot the rule Dad had clearly specified; I had forgotten to put the safety on.
It was a lesson well learned. The gun went off and the bullet sliced through my ring finger on my left hand, blowing the upper joint apart. The doctors were able to sew things together enough to salvage my finger. It has become a constant reminder of the weather changes coming, and the aching was a reminder of my foolish mistake.
There’s little doubt in my mind as I look at my hand that someone was watching over me that day. Interestingly enough my parents still allowed me to hunt with that rifle, even after the accident. Again the trust they had in me was special.
On another day my dad took me fishing for the first time. I laughed as I thought of that day: my father standing near the riverbank casting his line out and patiently teaching me all the tricks, everything he could. The river was small, a few miles from home; the day was cold and damp, and a heavy morning fog hung in the air. I felt nothing but pride that I had been invited to come with dad.
I recalled the first fish I ever caught. I never even took the time to reel it in. I simply ran full tilt away from the river, and the fish on my line became known as the Evil Knievel fish as it flew several feet in the air after it hit the bank. I never let go of that fish—its lower jaw broken and hanging open the entire morning. After all, it was my first!
My father was a man of great principle, a man I tested on many occasions. He had trusted me with many things as a child, and if I tested that trust he would remind me with an encouraging talk or a sound reminder of the razor strap that always seemed too close at hand. Either way his word was final and to be respected. Many times he shed tears when he had to discipline us children. He had great faith and love for his fellow man. I admired him in so many ways, but most of all for his strength in his faith.
As I sat looking over the river valley I thought of all the things my parents had taught me without even saying a word. They taught through their actions, loved no matter what, and supported others when and wherever they could. Love from a parent is a great gift, a gift that they gave freely. Often there was only enough food in the house for one meal. I made a choice early in life to venture out, work and help support the family. Later they were able to enjoy a full retirement travelling back and forth to Arizona in the winter months. At any family gathering the house would be filled with the blessings of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I watched as the river continued to flow as it had for how many centuries, and got lost in the moment, silently praying in thankfulness for the blessings of the day, especially for the Godly parents who had raised me.
I calculated the balance sheet of the good and the bad in my life. Right then it rested in perfect balance. I was in a place of peace and I thanked the Heavenly Father for all He had provided. Yes, this was where I needed to be that night, alone and away from the Great Sadness.
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