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What Can You Possibly Give the Man Who Has Everything?
“Taylor. George. Take a look at the beautiful stars,” stated their father, pointing at a group of stars in the heavens. “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Their mother nodded her head in agreement.
Both Taylor and George were mesmerized by the stars illumination. There was definitely something special and magical about being in the desert and having the privilege of gazing at the masterpiece that was the night sky. And if that wasn’t enough, Taylor and George’s father shared fantastic tales of sailing to distant stars.
“Papa,” shouted Taylor happily. “I want to sail to the stars!”
“Me too,” echoed George!
“You will,” replied their father, ruffling up their hair, smiling. “But right now, it is bedtime for you two. I will share more stories with you tomorrow.”
“Goodnight my precious Earth Angels,” stated their mother, kissing them both on the forehead.
Even though Taylor Roadhouse was only three years of age at the time of the fatal car crash that took both his parents’ lives, he still remembered the event as clear as day.
It was a warm sunny day in June, when out of nowhere, an oncoming car lost control and hit his parents’ car head on. Tragically, both of Taylor’s parents did not survive. The driver of the car that lost control also did not make it. However, for some miracle Taylor and his brother George survived the tragic accident. But luck wasn’t entirely with them! They were separated a year later. For some reason, they were adopted by two different sets of families. Taylor could not understand why these families wanted to break apart two brothers that loved each other so dearly! Taylor spent many nights crying, himself, asleep. Not only did he lose his parents, but his brother as well.
Why was life so cruel?
Even forty years later, Taylor did not have an answer to his question. All he knew was that a person had to take everything he could before it was taken away. Life is not going to feel sorry for you! Life is not going to wipe the tears from your eyes! It was solely up to the individual to make his mark in the world.
At the age of the thirty, Taylor became a billionaire. In his early twenties, he discovered the real estate game and made a fortune. This led to becoming a television producer, car manufacturer, and the owner of a very successful restaurant enterprise. Taylor was a genius at seeing trends before they happened. Just as the country was becoming more “green” conscious, there was also a growing population that went the opposite direction. Instead of creating a car that got 50 miles to the gallon or better, he put out a car called the Dinosario that got only 1 mile to the gallon and was a huge smash. To his surprise, Taylor received thousands of letters from car owners begging him to produce a car with even less gas mileage: a half mile to the gallon. The fact that the car’s $200 thousand dollar price tag did not deter people from buying the car was a testimony to the power of advertising. All you had to do is convince people that their lives were meaningless without the product! The same philosophy worked with his restaurant enterprise. People literally stood in line for days to try his Heartstop Cuisine. It did not matter that the customers were required to sign a waiver that stated that the restaurant would not be held accountable if you dropped dead after eating the meal! And it did not matter that $500 was the starting price for an entrée! If anything, these things made people want to try his food even more. In fact, folks traveled thousands of miles to experience his Heartstop Cuisine. What also led to Taylor’s success, besides his knack for trends, was his no-nonsense attitude. He was constantly thinking of new ways to make more money. Even on vacations, while sipping margaritas and mojitos, his mind was always thinking of ways to increase his cash flow. He detested lazy people! Those that did not devote themselves to the job 24/7 didn’t deserve a job, Taylor thought. It didn’t matter the circumstance.
“Mr. Roadhouse. Jack from accounting won’t be able to make it to work on Friday,” stated Martha, his secretary. “He will be attending a funeral.”
“Martha,” replied Taylor. “Tell Jack that he will be fired if he does not show up on Friday! I don’t have time for his foolishness. He needs to make a decision: Work, or being fired!” And to accentuate the seriousness of his statement, Taylor stormed out of the room, slamming his office door.
Although the future looked bleak for the children at the cancer treatment center, George Madison did his best to share his heart with these beautiful souls. Every Monday and Wednesday, he would bring in his acoustic guitar and share songs with the patients. They adored and cherished this. Some even helped George with the singing. This was always fun. George also read stories to the children, or on occasion, he would make one up from the top of head. In particular, the children loved his stories about sailing to the stars. He could see the twinkle in their eyes as he shared the magic with them.
“Uncle George,” inquired a young girl named Sara. “I want to sail with you to Orion!”
“Sure, my dear,” replied George, placing his hand on hers. “We can go together.” Sara smiled. George felt a teardrop fall from his eye.
“Mr. Roadhouse, here are the directions to the restaurant in Palm Springs,” stated Martha. “I want to wish you the best with your business meeting with Mr. Strickland.”
“Thank you, Martha,” replied Taylor. “That is very kind of you. I want you and the rest of the crew to take off early today. I have a good feeling that the meeting with Mr. Strickland will be a success!”
Taylor could not contain his excitement. He dashed through the front door. As Taylor got within a few feet of his custom made BMW that was fit for a king, he discovered a folded-up paper on his dashboard. He unfolded the paper and read the message:
“MONEY IS NOT EVERYTHING!”
Taylor laughed. He crumpled up the message and tossed it to the ground. Yeah, right! This person obviously doesn’t understand life, he thought. Taylor shook his head, climbing into his car. It was sad that people didn’t appreciate his talents. Right now Taylor was the producer for the most successful reality show in recorded history. People could not get enough of his hit show “Staring at Walls”. They absolutely loved the character in the show that had arguments with his wall. He cursed every four letter word that a person could imagine at the wall along with beer bottles, plates, and whatever he had handy for throwing. The angrier he got; the higher the ratings! His important luncheon today was to discuss with the network two more shows that they were eager for him to produce: “Staring at Ceilings” and “Staring at Floors”.
At the Peppermint Special Needs Center, an autistic boy named Timmy took George by the hand, leading him to the arts and crafts room. He wanted to show George a new drawing that he had just worked on.
“Beautiful artwork, Timmy,” stated George, smiling. “What do we have here?”
Timmy pointed to an individual on the left side of the drawing. “This man is angry. There is a dark cloud over him with lightning.” He, then, pointed to a person on the right side. “This other man is a man with a big, big heart. He is you!” Timmy smiled. I pointed at another object on the paper. “That is the road. He is driving on the road. He will find you soon!”
“Thank you very much, Timmy. Maybe an old friend is coming to visit.”
“No. He is more than friend.” Timmy smiled and went off to play with the other children.
“Do you guys know what connects the stars together?” asked the father. Both Taylor and George shook their heads. “They are connected by love. Just like we all are.” He made a sweeping gesture that acknowledged the entire family.
Taylor was enjoying the ride down the 10 freeway with the top down and the radio blasting The Beach Boys’ tune, “Catch a Wave.” He was so filled with enthusiasm that he wasn’t aware of the loud clanking sound that his car’s engine was emitting. It also didn’t help that the volume on his car stereo was cranked up. However, as he glanced down at the instruments on his dashboard, Taylor noticed that the check engine light was on. At this moment, he turned down his stereo and could, now, hear the engine clanking. It was getting louder by the second. Taylor took the next exit off the freeway. He made a right turn, but the car engine died about a block later. Great! I’m going to be late for my meeting, he thought. Taylor reached in his jacket pocket for his cell phone but to his surprise the cell phone was gone. Oh no! He reached in his back pocket for his wallet. That was gone too! The enthusiasm that he was feeling moments ago was taken over by fear. What am I going to do, he thought? Taylor realized that in the excitement that he left both his cell phone and wallet on his desk. His next thought was to contact his secretary to wire him some money, but then it occurred to him that she went home early. I’m stranded, he thought. Taylor could feel the butterflies in his stomach.
George was heading east on Emerald Street when he spotted a nicely dressed man in a BMW that appeared to need assistance. The man kept trying to turn the engine over but to no avail. George pulled right behind the car.
“Are you having car trouble?” George inquired.
“Yes,” replied Taylor. “My engine appears to have died. I would have called a tow truck, but it appears that I left my cell phone and wallet at work. Do you have a cell phone by chance that I could use?”
“No, but I can take you into town and have your car towed to the local mechanic. Mike can fix anything. They don’t call him Fix-It Mike for nothing.” George winked.
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“You’re not going to like this,” stated the mechanic, handing Taylor a small paper bag with a few grains of sugar in it. “It looks like someone put sugar in your gas tank! You will definitely need a new engine. It will take two days to get the engine and two days to install it.”
“I suppose that’s okay,” replied Taylor. I will have to have my secretary wire you the money.”
“You don’t have to pay until the work is done.”
“Taylor, you can stay at my place until your car is repaired,” stated George, placing his hand on Taylor’s shoulder. “Hey, let’s get something to eat. I know a really great Mexican restaurant! They have the best enchiladas money can buy.”
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After enjoying a delicious lunch, George convinced Taylor to tag along with him while he made his visit to the cancer treatment center. What else am I going to do, Taylor thought? As soon as the two stepped foot into the center, they were greeted by a loving child that gave George a great big hug. George smiled. The child waved at Taylor. Taylor smiled.
“Hi Uncle George!” announced a child by the name of Jose.
“Hi Jose! It is great to see you.” George handed Jose a box of Legos. This is for you!”
“Thank you. Thank you, Uncle!” Jose gave George another hug.
“You’re welcome, Jose. Enjoy.” Jose smiled and eagerly took his new gift to his room. Taylor followed George to the second room on the right. There was a young girl about 8 years of age sitting up on the bed watching cartoons. Her eyes lit up when George walked through the door.
“Hi Earth Angel!” George kissed her on the forehead. “I want you to meet my friend, Taylor.”
“Hi Taylor! I’m Sara.” She put out her hand. Taylor shook her hand.
“Hi Sara! It is a pleasure to meet you.”
George handed her a brown teddy bear with a blue bow tie. “This is for you, my dear!” She hugged the teddy bear and gave him a big kiss on the top of his head. Both George and Taylor smiled.
“Thank you so much Uncle George! I love him!” She hugged the teddy bear, giving him another kiss.
“You’re very welcome, Sara. And by the way! You can record a message if you press the teddy bear’s bow tie. When you want to play back the message, pull the string in the back. You got it kiddo.” Sara nodded her head. “Good, we’ll catch you later alligator.”
“After a while crocodile.”
The next day George brought Taylor to the Peppermint Special Needs Center to meet the residents. Taylor was very impressed with the amount of care and love that the staff not only shared with the patients at the cancer treatment center, but with each other as well. He was quite sure that this place would be no different! And as Taylor thought this, a young child smiled at him from across the room. Taylor smiled back.
“Taylor, I want you to meet a very wonderful child named Timmy. He always has something very interesting to share.”
As they walked into the arts and crafts room, they found young Timmy with a crayon in hand, working on a new drawing. In the middle of the drawing was a fire pit with two individuals sitting around it.
Timmy looked up from his drawing and ran to George, giving him a giant hug.
“Uncle, so happy to see you!” He, then, looked at Taylor and grinned. “I see you found your brother.” Both George and Taylor had a blank look on their face.
“Brother?” George replied. “Surely you can’t be serious, Timmy. I haven’t seen my brother in nearly forty years!” Timmy motioned for them to come to the table.
“Uncle George, this person in the drawing is you. This other person is your brother. In the middle is the campfire. And up here,” pointing at the top of the drawing. “…is the night sky.”
The memory must have returned to them both, for they both had tears in their eyes.
The next morning George received an urgent call from the cancer treatment center. Sara was going to pass any minute now. Both George and Taylor jumped in the car and raced to the center, but sadly they arrived minutes too late. The beautiful soul named Sara departed from her body. Right before she died, she instructed the nurse to give the teddy bear to George and the handwritten message to Taylor. The nurse said that Sara recorded a message. George pulled the string and Sara’s beautiful voice filled the room:
“I love you Uncle George and Uncle Taylor! You are both in my heart forever.”
The nurse saw the tears in both men’s eyes. She, then, handed the folded up message to Taylor. He read it aloud:
“WE ARE ALL CONNECTED BY LOVE!”
Taylor couldn’t stop the tears from falling. He finally understood the message that their papa told him and his brother forty years ago.