But I Love Him

Garden Angel

Garden Angel

Saint Peter sat at the pearly gates when AJ showed up. She asked for entry. Saint Peter asked her to tell him her life story.

AJ began. I was born to fabulous parents, they never fought nor argued, they brought me up a loving, gentle, caring person. A couple of years after I entered the picture, my parents presented me with a glorious gift, a sister. Sis was my responsibility to get to school everyday. That sounds easy doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t, Sis didn’t want to go, so I would up shoving her while I held the back of her collar.

During high school, I had an admiring boy friend, Elwood. He wrote poetry and left it in my books. He wrote about his true love for me, but somehow, I didn’t think Elwood was my type.

After high school, I got a job and took a bus to work everyday. One day, the bus driver a handsome dark-haired man a little older than I struck up a conversation. Soon we fell in love. We married. We went on a honeymoon, it was wonderful. We came home and my problems began. He beat me. He left me helplessly black and blue, but I loved him. I thought, I will become a better wife so he will treat me nicer, but he continued to beat me, but I love him Lord.

A couple of years later the beatings continued. I became pregnant. What a happy day it was when my son was born, now I loved two men. The beatings continued. My family wanted to kill my husband, but my mother put a stop to it, because he loved me.

As my son grew older, he watched his father beat me, I couldn’t leave him now Lord, because he loves me. My sister came to my rescue and took me to her home, but he called and told me how much he loved me and how sorry he was, and I went back to him, because he loves me.

My son started drinking and taking drugs in eighth grade. I didn’t say anything, because he had such a hard life watching his dad beat me so often. I couldn’t leave them both now could I, because I love them?

Sis got a phone call from a stranger, a woman, asking if she could get in touch with me. The stranger was in the process of annulling her marriage to my husband. How could he? He loves me.

My son is a man now, but he is always stoned and always in trouble with the police, but he loves me. Eventually, sonny boy commits a felony and gets caught. He spends time in prison, while his father continues to beat me. I can’t leave them Lord, they love me.

Eventually, I got smart and filed for a divorce. It was hard because my religion doesn’t allow divorce. He calls me on the day I get the decree, Free at last, except he tells me how sorry he is, and I go back with him, and he physically hurts me, but I love him.

Years go by and I finally disappear, I left them without telling him or my son where I am, but they love me Lord, and it is hard to live without them.

They find me. My son needs a place to stay, he has no job, nor does he want one. I love him Lord, so I take him in. Then my son tells my ex where I am, and he shows up. He loves me Lord, but now he has my son who is six-foot three and two hundred pounds standing between me and him. He doesn’t beat me anymore, but he certainly gets verbally abusive. I tell him to get the heck out and he goes away, for a while. He returns with gifts to make amends, and I let him visit, because he loves me.

Life is bearable for the first time in sixty years. Sonny lives with me and protects me, but I am very forgetful now, and Sonny must watch me constantly. My ex comes and goes, and every once in a while I throw him out, but I love him Lord.

My son disappears at times after his welfare check comes. I suppose he is off buying and using drugs with his friends. He comes back when he is out of money. Sis tells me again, and again to throw Sonny out, but I love him.

Sonny disappears again, and my memory is failing me Lord. I don’t have food in the house, and I am hungry. I knock on my neighbors doors asking for food. My friends share with me and I am happy. They tell me to kick Sonny out, but I love him Lord. A few weeks later he leaves me again, this time for a week or more. I walk out of the condo to find some food and help. I walk to the priest’s home and ask him for help. He promises to send someone soon. The police come and take me home, but I still don’t have food, and I am hungry Lord. I begin knocking on doors in the neighborhood asking for food. Many doors slam in my face, then the police come. This time they take me to a hospital, and they admit me. I don’t remember where I live anymore, nor my phone number. I remember Sis, and her name, and where she lives. The hospital calls Sis. She comes to visit, I can’t tell her about Sonny abandoning me because he loves me. Sis knows anyway, I didn’t have to tell her.

Saint Peter, for the first time in my life, I found a place where I am happy. Sis, and the Public Guardian found this place where nuns take care of me. The best part is that my ex and Sonny didn’t know where I was, but I know they love me.

Within a month, they found me again. They began to visit, and sweet talk me like they did before. This time, though the sisters are aware of their intentions and they watch the visits. I am truly happy, I go to mass daily, I have food three times a day, I have met new friends, and once a week, Sonny comes to visit. Sometimes he brings his father with him. I love them so.

Lat week, something strange went on in my head, and I fell smashing my head and hurting it even more. Then, I had a stroke which left me completely limp and in a coma.

Sonny has been with me right up until the time I saw the light where I saw Jesus standing at the end waving to me. I lifted myself up from the bed and walked toward Him. He took me by the hand and walked with me. Now I find myself talking to you.

“Why didn’t you ask us for help,”  said Saint Peter.

“I kept forgiving my ex and my son because that is what the Lord would do, and because they love me.”

“AJ,” he said, “Prepare yourself for some excitement.”

“What kind,” she asked?

The pearly gates began to open and there behind the gates a huge crowd cheered, all clapping, whistling, and shouting for AJ to come in.

AJ stood in shock, but soon a smiling woman she recognized stepped out of the crowd and ran toward her with open arms.

“Mom,” I yell, “he loves me.”

“AJ, you are home at last.”

Dear Lord, We Thank You For. . .

I wish all  my friends, relatives, enemies, a very happy Thanksgiving.

You cannot eat healthcare.

Kick It Into High Gear

It is time to reflect on the past year and to account for the precious time granted me by the Lord. I struggled with my accomplishment list as I took inventory of what I did. I recalled that during my working years, at the end of a busy day, I often told my staff, “Well, we didn’t get much done today, but we will give it hell tomorrow.” So here goes my advice to myself, “Well Joe, you didn’t get much done in 2010, so give it hell in 2011.”

My accomplishment list is short this year, but the projects were larger. Here is a short list of things I am proud of:

I posted one hundred and seventy-five pieces on my BLOG. Among these posts were fifty-six political cartoons. Some of them were genius, others mediocre.

I wrote two children’s stories and submitted them to publishers: “FLYING TO THE SUN,” and “MOON CAKES TO GO.”  I rewrote a children’s story titled “FIRE FLY AIR FORCE,” for summer, and two Christmas stories, “SANTA IS MISSING, and “THE GIFT,” in time for Christmas.

Peggy and I spent twelve weeks basking in the sunny climes of Arizona while my kids stayed home to shovel snow. We visited cousins and friends in California.

Lion Joe organized and led the STRIDES: Lions Walk for Diabetes Awareness, with a team of really great Lincoln-Way High School teachers, and Lions.

In between those activities, Grumpa Jose  kept the garden in order, and the lawn maintained. This is the first year, I was proud of the green grass in front of our home. While I was tending the front with loving care, the backyard lawn turned  into thistle and chickweed.  Jose also waged a war with the Wabbits and built barriers around his flower beds. The Wabbit wars were documented on the BLOG. Just as the fence along our southern border fails to keep out drug runners, my fences were no match for the Wabbits. It turned out that West Nile virus is a more effective deterrent. While I waited for the virus to kick in, the Wabbits consumed my prize perennials.

In order to keep my sanity during this activity called 2010, I kept calm and chilled by consuming eight cases of red wine. Of all the accomplishments, the wine tasting was my favorite.

Finally, here is some  wisdom for my friends:

I know you didn’t get much done in 2010, so kick it into high gear, and give it hell in 2011.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

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