Spencer

Fool Me Twice – Fishing Trip

Fool Me Twice - Fishing Trip Texas

The next Saturday, I finally got around to doing what I’d promised my father I’d do for the last seven months. I picked Spanky up on the way to my father’s, then the three of us all went

fishing together. We got up early, packed the truck with several coolers filled with beer, sodas, and munchies, and made it to Galveston by mid-morning.

It was—believe it or not—Spanky’s first trip ever to the beach. I couldn’t believe it—fifteen years old, and he’d never seen the coast.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. The sun was shining, and the air was filled with the sounds of boats and seagulls and crashing waves and kids frolicking up and down the beach. And just like I had when I’d taken the boy to the zoo, I was seeing it all anew through the eyes of someone seeing it for the first time.

We found the longest pier on the island, a quarter-mile-long monster my dad had taken me to when I was still a kid myself. It was so big it had a bait-shop/convenience store built into it that was halfway between the shore and the end of the pier.

We staked out our own little corner, way out to the furthermost point, marking our territory with towels, fishing-poles, and folding lawn-chairs. Dad guarded our territory while Spanky and I made several trips getting all our supplies unloaded.

There was enough cloud-cover to keep the extreme heat mostly at bay, with the southerly breeze doing the rest.

Spanky got a huge kick out of feeding the sea gulls by hand, donating nearly our entire box of Ritz crackers to the hungry birds.

Throughout the day, the kid kept his own personal flock hovering over or near us at all times.

Spanky had, without a doubt, the time of his life, catching all manner of ocean-going critters, including a baby hammer-head, various types of crabs, two redfish, and an amberjack. It had been slow going at the beginning, though.

After getting his bait stolen a few times, Spanky turned to my father. “What am I doing wrong, Mr Evers?”

Hitching up his suspenders, my dad replied, “Well, let’s see what you’ve got here.”

And for the next half-hour, my father skillfully and joyfully imparted several generations worth of Evers family wisdom pertaining to the art of pier fishing—how to securely tie the tackle, where to place the bobber, and, most important, how to bait the hook—be it shrimp or worm.

It was the first time in a very long while that anyone had gone to my father for advice of any kind. He was delighted at the prospect of once again being useful, of actually being needed again.

As the boy listened reverently, my father took to the task as if the future welfare of the entire world depended on Spanky’s success as a fisherman.

It was plain to see the two genuinely liked each other. It was almost as though they’d been friends forever. But then, my father had always made friends easily. When I dropped my father off that evening, Spanky shared his thoughts.

“Your father’s great. I really like him.”

I smiled. “Me too, buddy. Me too. Back when I was growing up, all my friends in the neighborhood used to always say they wished their fathers were like mine. Matter of fact, he used to bring me and my friends to that same pier to fish. At night, you can catch all kinds of stuff. He’d sleep in the car while me and my friends fished through the night. I mean, how many fathers would do that?”

When I saw Spanky’s expression fall, I realized too late what I’d done.

With a despairing look on his face, he said, “I just wish…” His words trailed off as he stared into the distance.

I put my hand on his shoulder. “I do too, kid. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to… you know.”

I wasn’t intentionally trying to compare fathers with the boy. I just got carried away.

“But, look here, kid. If you want, we can come back and do this again. And next time? I’ll tell you what. Next time, we’ll charter a boat, and go waaay out where the water’s deep and blue, and the redfish are as big as a whale! How does that sound?”

He smiled at the prospect. “Really?”

“Absolutely!”

“I’d like that. I really would.”

As I was dropping him off at his grandmother’s house, I stopped him before he could get out of the truck. “Hey kid?”

He turned around, one foot still in the truck. “Yeah?”

I stared through the windshield at the dark night beyond, trying to find the right words for what I was trying to say. “Say, I’ve been meaning to tell you something, but just haven’t gotten around to it.” I paused to take a breath, then went on. “Anyway, a long time ago, probably around the same time you were born, I had a chance to be a father myself.”

I turned away from Spanky’s inquisitive stare.

“And?” he said.

“Well… let’s just say, I sorta blew it. Actually, I blew it big-time. It was all about me, what I wanted. Screw everyone else. I let Lisa down. The saddest thing is, my parents almost expected grandkids. My dad really wanted me to have a grandson. That’s all he talked about, his grandson. Anyway, he would’ve been about your age now… if I hadn’t…”

Now it was Spanky’s turn to look away. “I think I understand.”

“But, what I wanted to say is… I just hope he would’ve been like you, kid.”

Spanky smiled. “Thanks, Paddy. That means a lot. And thanks for today. I had a great time. I never thought fishing could be so cool.”

I don’t know how to explain it, but at the end of the day, it was like two loose ends of my life had somehow been brought together- one from the past, and one from the future. Although Spanky wasn’t of my blood, still something real, something good, was passed down that day—from father to son, and hopefully, beyond. It was, for me anyway, the best fishing trip ever.

Hard Lesson – Five

Maybe It's Good

Many times when something bad happens to us – getting fired from a job, getting denied entry from the university of your choice, a car breaking down, you name it – there is something is going on behind the scenes that we can’t see. And in the end, what we thought was bad, ends up being good.

The bible, in Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Once, a long time ago, there was a farmer who had a prize stallion – the fastest and most beautiful horse in the kingdom. One day the horse ran away.

The farmer’s neighbor, always eager to put in his two cents, said to the farmer when he heard the news, “You’ve lost your best horse! That’s terrible!”

The farmer barely seemed to notice. “Maybe it’s bad,” he said. “Maybe it’s good.”

Weeks later, the stallion returned of it’s own accord, running back into his own corral, and with him brought an entire heard of mares he’d gathered to himself while out in the wild.

When the neighbor saw the farmer’s apparent good fortune, he exclaimed, “My goodness, man! You’ll be the richest man in the kingdom with all those horses! That’s wonderful!”

“Maybe it’s good. Maybe it’s bad.” said the farmer.

When hardships and suffering might be for the best - how to have a positive outlook through tough times - getting through pain, grief, loss.

A few weeks later, the farmer’s oldest son was breaking one of the new horses, when he was thrown, fracturing a leg in the process.

The neighbor came to console the farmer. “My, my, my!” he tutted. “You’ve lost your best hand now. That’s terrible!”

The farmer smiled. “Maybe it’s bad. Maybe it’s good.”

A week later, a war began with a neighboring kingdom. The king’s officials came through, conscripting the oldest male of every household. But when seeing the farmer’s son laid up with a broken leg, they passed on to the next household.

 

Since we never know what our future holds, we should always refrain from passing a negative judgement on something that happens to us, no matter how bad it may seem. To pass judgement on something we know nothing about shows a lack of critical thinking, not to mention such negative thinking often leads to anger and depression, both of which are bad for your health.

And there’s yet another reason not to prejudge something that happens to you as bad.

According to researchers at Cornell University, our minds find it easier to find evidence which confirms our judgements, rather than evidence that dis-confirms it, a phenomenon, called confirmation bias. So once we’ve judged a situation as bad, that conclusion will then cause us to perceive our life in a way that confirms our negative outlook.

The truth is, we never know what the future holds. The thing you dread now, that thing you must be dragged through, kicking and screaming, might just be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Over a year ago, I was denied compassionate release. The court’s denial meant that instead of getting immediate release from prison due to the Covid pandemic, I would have to serve the remaining four years of my sentence. It was one of the hardest things I’d ever had to go through.

Nothing good, I thought, could possibly come from such a situation. For months, I was inconsolable.

And then, lo and behold, as a direct result of getting my motion denied, I met the most wonderful woman in the world. That woman is now my wife. Had my motion been granted, I would have never met this woman. God truly works in mysterious ways.

We cannot know what He has in store for us.

But if we are patient, if we accept with gratitude and an open heart the things He has set before us, we will often find that in the end, what we thought was a painful loss, was in reality, a supreme gain.

Hard Lesson – Four

Tomorrow Isn't Guaranteed

How many times have I heard it?

“When I get out of prison, I’m going to study this, or learn to do that.”

“When I get out, I’m going to turn over a new leaf.”

“I’ll change when I get out. I’ll do this or that, when I get out.”

I once had a celly, named Roy “Big Moe” Moe.

Big Moe lived for riding motorcycles. A couple of years before his release, Roy began making plans. His brother was having a pair of custom motorcycles made just for them. They planned to spend several years touring the United States with a large RV and a trailer on the back pulling the bikes. The plan was to hit all the big sights – The Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone. During the day they’d tour around on the bikes, while at night they’d sleep like kings in the RV.

For months it was all my celly talked about. He had pictures of the bike as it was being built. The pictures were his talisman. He carried them with him wherever he went on the yard, showing them to anyone who was interested.

It was pure joy watching him – the look in his eyes.

There wasn’t a soul on that prison yard who didn’t envy Big Moe.

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Roy was so excited he barely slept that final night. On the day of his release, when I said goodbye, I told him, “remember me when the wind is in your hair.”

That morning, Roy’s brother drove up to the prison in the RV, with the two custom bikes on the trailer. Roy backed his bike off the trailer right there in the parking lot.

We couldn’t see him, but I was standing outside in the yard with several other inmates. We listened as Roy revved his bike and rode it around the parking lot several times before heading off down the highway, with his brother trailing behind in the motor home.

We all had this dreamy far-away look in our eyes, and there wasn’t a man among us who wouldn’t have gladly traded places with Roy that day.

Approximately thirty minutes later, in a small town called Carnes City, an old woman pulled out in front of Roy, and there was a terrible accident. Roy was life-flighted to San Antonio, but passed away two days later in University Hospital.

That was the day I stopped living for some ideal day in the far-off future, when I’d finally get back to that mythical free-world. Many inmates spend years fantasizing about that day, as if it’s guaranteed. But just like outside, people in prison get sick and die all the time.

Tomorrow is never guaranteed.

So if you’re incarcerated, and you find yourself wasting too much time on television or slamming dominoes, it might be time to stop counting the days and start making the days count. Make a conscious effort to appreciate everything you have left, rather than worrying about everything you’ve lost.

Start reading everything you can get your hands on – history, philosophy, psychology, religion. Learn something. Study something. While you may never get to apply it in the real world, you’ll learn something valuable: That learning and knowledge don’t have to be applied to have value.

Study and knowledge have their own intrinsic worth.

Learning for the sake of learning can itself be valuable.

It’s fine to make plans. I highly recommend it. But never forget, all we have is today.

Hard Lesson – Three

Quitting is not an Option

For those of you who think suicide is some sort of noble deed requiring great courage, I say this: Killing yourself accomplishes nothing.

It only serves to hurt and sometimes even destroy the people you love most. Suicide makes life that much harder on the survivors, who are now forced to pick up the wreckage you’ve left behind, while further burdening them with guilt. It’s the coward’s way out.

If you’re incarcerated and serving a long sentence (or even a short one), there will be days when you feel down and depressed. Days when you think you just can’t go on. After nearly 26 years inside, I speak from experience.

Know you’re not alone.

Even out in the world, there are many people who share your feelings of hopelessness and despair. Many people who are outwardly successful – even rich and famous people – feel as if there’s nothing to live for.

Maybe you think there’s no way you’ll ever possibly make it through another five, ten, twenty, or even fifty years. Thousands of people in this country face decades behind bars. But even short sentences can play havoc on emotions.

I once had a newly-arrived inmate come to me seeking advice. Within seconds of introducing himself, this man broke down in tears. “I just don’t think I can make it,” he cried, with a look of abject despair.

“Well, how long do you have?” I asked. Judging from his despondency, I expected an answer of at least a decade.

“Nine months,” came his reply.

The point is, if you’re the one serving it, if you’re the one separated from your spouse, friends, or children, any sentence is a long sentence.

Quitting is not an option - how to get through today - one day at a time - depression, fear, anxiety, prison, hardships, pain, grief - making it through tough times.

Rule number one – never give up.


Maybe you feel you really can’t do another five, ten, or twenty years. The good news, my friend, is you don’t have to. The only thing you have to do right now, is follow rule number two.

 

Rule number two – get through today. Survive.

Because if you can just make it through today, if you can survive the day ahead, chances are, when you wake up tomorrow, things might not look quite so hopeless. But if they do? Go back to Rule Number One.

Here’s a list of ten things that are guaranteed to help you make it through today. Things that can help you shake off the despair you may be feeling right now.

  1. Get up and move. Do twenty-five push-ups. Or a hundred jumping jacks. Or fifty pushups. If you can’t do fifty, do what you can do. Nothing beats exercise for fighting off depression. The hardest thing is starting. Once you get past the inertia, it begins to get easier.
  2. Clean something – your cell. The tier. Your laundry. And every time you scrub something, visualize your mind and heart being cleansed of hatred, bitterness, or resentments.
  3. Find an elderly inmate, and ask them if they need help with anything. Maybe their cell needs cleaning, maybe they need a letter written. Whatever it may be, do it with a smile.
  4. Write a letter to a loved one or friend on the street, telling them how much you love and appreciate them.
  5. Write a list of ten things you’re thankful for. If you can’t think of ten, make it five. Or even one.
  6. Find an inmate with a drug problem, and tell them there’s a better way. If you yourself have a drug problem, find another inmate who shares your desire to get sober, and make an agreement – a partnership – to help one another in your endeavor to gain and maintain sobriety.
  7. Make a list of five goals you’d like to accomplish before you get out of prison.
  8. Make a list of five goals you’d like to accomplish after your release from prison.
  9. Make a list of five ways your life could be worse. This will help you put things in perspective, and see that perhaps things aren’t as bad as you thought they were.
  10. Pray or meditate – sit calmly and focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Then send thoughts of loving kindness to a loved one, or even better, to someone you don’t particularly like. You’ll be amazed at the results.

So when you feel like giving up, always always remember the true secret of happiness – helping and serving others. There’s always someone worse off than yourself. If you can find that person, and help them in some small way, in the process you will find you have helped yourself as much as you’ve helped them.

Hard Lesson – Two

No One Can Save You But You

No one – not even God – will force you to make the right choices in life. Praying for God or Jesus or Buddha to change you only sets you up for failure. Because such a course removes responsibility from there it belongs (on you) and places it on God.


“Well,” you say, “I asked God to change me, and he didn’t.”


If God made you stop drinking, or using drugs, or cheating on your spouse, then you wouldn’t be human.

You’d be an automaton. You would no longer have free will. What we can do, is ask Him for wisdom, for the discernment to see the harm we cause ourselves with our self-destructive actions.

No one can save you but you - even God can't make you choose to be saved - your actions are your choice - making the right decisions, self-discipline and free will.

Ultimately, change comes from within.

That’s why God gave us a brain, and common sense.

That’s why He gave us two eyes with which to see, and two ears with which to hear.

Using the eyes God gave us, we are able to see the destruction in our lives caused by addiction.

Using the ears God gave us, we can listen to the lessons life is trying to teach us.

And with this knowledge, we can then use the brain God gave us to conclude that a decision is called for. A decision to stop our self-destructive behavior.

Only you can make this decision. God cannot make it for you.

And know this too – that choosing not to decide is still a decision. If you’re an addict, and you choose not to decide to get clean and sober, it’s the same thing as choosing to be a slave.

Again, you can ask God for strength, or wisdom, or discernment. But ultimately, it’s your decision. And if you find yourself praying for the strength or wisdom to make a decision, that’s a pretty good indication you already know in your heart that a decision is called for.

So in reality, you don’t need strength.

Or wisdom.


You simply need to make up your mind to do what’s right.

In such a case, it’s not a problem of strength, or wisdom.

It is, rather, a problem of attachment.

How much strength does it require to let go?

The problem therefore, is not a lack of strength. The problem is indecisiveness.

Hard Lesson – One

Truth About Happiness

Many people – especially addicts and alcoholics – have somehow come to the misguided conclusion that we’re supposed to always be happy.

We always want to feel good. No matter what the circumstances. We’re always craving that next hit, that next drink, and next slice of chocolate cake.

The trump card about happiness - what really makes you happy? What can you do to be happy when things are so hard?

For many it’s a constant struggle to perpetually feel good. We’re always on the lookout for the next new way to get high and feel good. As if feeling good were the end-all be-all of existence. We search in vain, high and low, for the secret to happiness.

But the secret to happiness begins with the knowledge that we weren’t put here just to be happy. We were not put on this earth merely to feel good. We were put here to learn, to grow, and to evolve.

And the funny thing – the miraculous thing – is that the more we learn, the more we grow and evolve, the more we find ourselves wanting to help others.

And the more we begin to help others, the more we find that, lo and behold, we ourselves are made happy in the process.

By putting others before self, through the path of service to others, we then find the true secret to happiness.

A Letter to the Incarcerated

Advice From Beyond From My Father

In 2018, I had a dream. Several months after my father passed away, he appeared to me in a dream. He spoke to me for several minutes, and as soon as the dream ended, I woke up, and as fast as I could, wrote down what he’d told me as best as I could recall it. The things he told me could apply to almost any inmate in prison in this country. This was what he said.

“Look at yourself, Son. Ask yourself – What’s this life all about? Look around you. What motivates you? What’s important to you? Look how small-minded and petty it all is.

Will you ever break free?
Not just from the outer, physical, prison. But from the prison inside you? The prison of sickness and disease?

And if it IS a sickness, who or what can cure you?
If you were released tomorrow, what would happen to you?

Freed from your physical prison, you’d carry around your spiritual prison like a ball and chain. Listen to me. For once in your life, listen to me.
Now is the time. If not now, when?
You have the strength and power within.

You need only make up your mind.
Is this what you want? Is this how it all ends?
You need to dig deep. Reach down. And rise above all of this. There’s nothing more to it.
You must prepare yourself for freedom. Otherwise, it will kill you.

Finding Peace and Freedom From Incarceration

Do you want a life beyond this place? Do you wish to move beyond this petty existence and into the real world? Or are you comfortable where you are? I hope you want something more out of life. I hope you aspire to more than this. You must free yourself, so what when you’re released, you will be truly free.

The world beyond is going through birth pangs of its own. You must be ready, Son. Or you will not survive.”

I’ve carried these words around with me, on a piece of paper that’s now so worn it’s literally falling to pieces. I wanted to share them with inmates out there, as words to consider. Or even words to live by, particularly for those nearing release.
It is my hope that someone, somewhere, will read these words, take them to heart, and above all, put them into practice.
Because for many inmates, the “freedom” awaiting them on the other side of the fence, is not true freedom.

The years they’ve spent inside have often been wasted playing cards, reading trashy novels, or watching endless hours of television. Instead of getting better, they while away the the years growing bitter. Blaming their troubles on everyone from their parents to their eighth grade math teachers, they often refuse to turn inside to the real origin of their problems.

If you’re one of those people, and you’re reading this now, it’s not too late. It’s never too late.
If you are tired of what you see when you look around you, tired of the pettiness of life inside prison, then maybe it’s time to turn inward. To dig deep, and begin to rise above. It all starts with you. Right now.

If not now, when?

Spencer Lane Adams

 

Fool Me Twice – Mac Takes Off

Halfway to Mac’s nephew’s house, we pulled in at a convenience store to grab something to eat. We’d planned on waiting till we got to Spanky’s grandmother’s house, but since we hadn’t eaten anything all day, we both decided to make a pit stop before that.

When he pulled in to the 7/11, I told him to make it fast.

He looked at me with a sheepish grin. “Would ya mind? I’m kinda drunk.”

He wanted me to get the food.

I rolled my eyes, but agreed nonetheless. “All right, you lazy ass. Tell me what you want.”

He grinned and rubbed his hands together. “Okay, I want a big bag of trail mix. I want a hotdog with mustard and relish. I want a glazed honey bun. I want—”

“C’mon, Mac! You want a fucking filet mignon too? Hurry the fuck up!”

After repeating his order back to him, I walked inside the store and proceeded aisle to aisle, filling Mac’s order item by item. I then carried it all up front, piled it on the counter, and headed to the back to get some drinks. When I happened to glance out the window, it was just in time to see Mac pulling the truck out onto the street and driving away.

I know I’m stereotyping, but the clerk in the store looked and sounded just like Babu on the Simpsons.

Standing at the window, I was too stunned to speak or yell or even move. So, I just stood there with my mouth wide open.

“Are you okay, Sir?” asked the clerk.

No, I was not okay. I was definitely not okay.

“Excuse me, Sir, I’ll be right back.”

I hit the front door of the store running—across the parking lot, and out into the street, where I stood transfixed as I watched Spanky’s old truck drive into the distance. I continued watching as it turned onto the feeder road, got on the freeway, and then disappeared.

In despair, I turned around and walked back inside the 7/11.

The clerk eyed me sympathetically. “You do not look well, Sir. Do you need an ambulance?”

I felt like I’d been punched in the gut, “I’ll be all right.” Motioning towards the pile of stuff on the counter, I said, “But I won’t be needing any of this. I’m sorry.”

He immediately began gathering the items up in his arms. “That’s quite all right, Sir. Will you be needing a ride? My wife can watch the store.”

I stood there, slowly absorbing my situation. In the process, I almost broke down crying. “No thanks,” I said. “I have a phone. I’ll just call someone.”

The one thing I did buy, was a six-pack of longnecks. Then I walked outsides in a daze and sat down on the curb in front of the store, head spinning.

Maybe Mac was just playing a joke on me. If he was, it definitely wasn’t funny.

Suddenly, I stood up and then lurched around to the side of the building and threw up. I pulled out my phone, and with hands shaking, tried calling Mac’s number. When his voicemail picked up, I instead called Spanky and told him to come and get me.

He was surprised to hear my voice. “Already? I didn’t expect you for another hour.”

I sighed into the phone. “Something’s happened. I’ll tell you about it when I see you.” I gave him directions and hung up.

After walking back to the front of the store, I sat down on the curb once more and opened a beer. In my head, I mentally replayed everything that had occurred in the last few minutes. It was the same old bullshit questions that I always seemed to find myself asking: What if I’d done this? Or, what if I’d done that? Or, why hadn’t I done such-and-such?

It was the story of my life, writ small. And the more I thought about it, the clearer it became to me. Nearly everything Mac had said or done since I’d tracked him down, had been designed to lull me into thinking he was my friend. It all fit so nicely into my cynical worldview—just one more confirmation of my distrust of mankind in general.

Now I was forced to ask myself a question. Had anything Mac ever told me been the truth?

The story about his brother? About Tony the Toad? Or Louie Brocca? Had it all been bullshit?

By the time Spanky arrived, the beer was gone.

Fool Me Twice – Mac and the Officer

Mac smiled at me. “We’re home free now, buddy!”

But he spoke too soon.

“Oh, fuck!”

“Shit, what is it?” Mac said, voice cracking.

As he turned the corner to the front of the building, a cop car was slowly pulling up to the front gate, blocking us in.

“Oh, shit.”

“Just chill out,” I said. “He’s already seen us. Just take ten deep breaths, and play it cool.”

He began panting. “It’s not working, Paddy! I’m getting dizzy.”

“Mac, look at me!”

When he turned to face me, I slapped him. Not hard, mind you.

He put his hand to his cheek. “What the fuck?”

“Dude,” I said, “you’ve gotta get a hold of yourself. Just get out there and do what you do!”

“What do you mean what I do? What the fuck do I do?”

“C’mon, Mac! You oughta know by know. You’re the king of bullshit!”

“I am?”

“Hell yeah! Remember that cop in Galveston? Instead of throwing us in jail, he invited us to go fishing! Snap to it, buddy!”

A steely glint began to shine in his eyes as he pushed his chest out and clenched his jaw. I was on the right track.

“And remember those chicks in that restaurant? You had those girls eating from your hand! That was you!”

“Yeah!” he said. “I did do that, didn’t I?”

“Hell yeah, you did! Now listen to me. You’re Stuart Heywood’s little brother and business partner. You own this fucking place. You hear me? Get your ass out there and tell him we’ve got shit to do. But he’s in our way. Tell him you’re a busy man and you don’t have time for his bullshit. You’re Jerry Heywood! Understand?”

He gripped the steering wheel, anger flashing in his eyes. “You’re damn right! I am a busy man!” He bobbed his head up and down. “That’s right, motherfucker! Nobody fucks with…” He turned to me. “What’d you say my name was?”

“Heywood, Jerry Heywood.”

He put the truck in gear and pulled up to the gate. Then he got out to meet the officer, who was already standing next to the fence.

“Afternoon, Officer.”

Without acknowledging Mac’s greeting, the cop said, “Where’s Stu?”

Mac’s eyes glazed over. “Who?”

I buried my face in my hands, C’mon, Mac. You idiot!

“Oh! You mean Stuart? My brother? You just missed him.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. But the cop continued to eye Mac warily.

“And who might you be?”

“Name’s Larr-I mean, Jerry. I’m Stuart’s little brother. And his business partner too.”

The cop took off his mirrored sunglasses to get a clearer look at Mac. After a few seconds, he said, “Ol’ Stu and I go way back. Don’t ever recall him mentioning a brother. Or business partner neither.”

Mac chuckled nervously. “Well, I’m his half brother, actually, you know… from another mother.”

I shook my head.

“This your truck?”

“What, this truck?”

The cop just stared at Mac. C’mon, Mac, say something, you idiot.

“Um, actually no. We were just going to pick up some food. But Junior’s inside, if you need to speak to him.”

I threw my hands in the air, certain that Mac had just blown it.

“Yeah,” the cop said, “as a matter of fact, I do.”

That was it, I thought. It’s all over now.

I wondered exactly how Mac planned to get himself out of this.

“Well, is it important, Officer? He’s actually kinda busy right now.”

“I left my truck here last week,” he replied. “I kind of need to know if it’ll be ready on Monday like he said it would.”

“Sure thing, Officer. I’ll be right back.”

As he turned to go inside, Mac gave me a desperate look. The evil eye I shot him in return probably scared him worse than the cop did. I almost volunteered to go get Junior myself. That way, I could duck out through a window and be two blocks away before anyone even noticed I was missing. But there was no way I’d ever desert Mac like that. And so I waited.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl. Until I finally began to wonder if maybe Mac hadn’t deserted me. But finally, the door opened, and out popped Mac with a new spring in his step. Though there was no sign of Junior, Mac had a confidence that was missing before.

“Sorry for the delay, Officer Perkins. I took the liberty of checking the computer. Yours is the Chevy S-1O, am I right?” Mac’s demeanor seemed to put the cop at ease.

“That’s the one.”

“Great! Your truck will be ready Monday, like Stu said. And by the way, Junior’s napping. He told me to handle it.”

The cop nodded. “That’s great. I’ll see you Monday, then.”

I was so proud of Mac. He’d handled it beautifully. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to leave well enough alone. His mouth always seemed to have a mind of its own.

“Yeah,” he said, “we would’ve had it ready sooner, but we had to order a spare part.”

The cop scrunched up his face, confused. “A spare part? What kind of part?”

Mac tugged at his ear. “Uh… it was a uh… a flux capacitor, I think.”

The cop nodded his head, but then did a double take. “A what?”

Shit, Mac. Why would you say something stupid like that?

“A flux capacitor,” he repeated. “Where have I heard that before?” the cop asked.

And without missing a beat, Mac said, “They um… they equalize the transometer diffusion.”

I could almost hear the cell bars clanging shut.

Suddenly, the officer appeared to get angry. “Look, I told him all I wanted was a damn paint job. We had this same problem last time!” After huffing and puffing for several seconds, he said, “I need to see Stu Senior, right now!”

“You don’t understand,” Mac said, “the flux capacitor was for our paint sprayer. That’s what keeps the bubbles out of the paint when you spray it.”

The cop had a dull expression on his face that told me he was as ignorant about cars as I was.

“I see,” he said, meekly. Mac had done it again.

Putting his hand on the officer’s back, he said, “Now, if you’ll excuse us, Officer. I haven’t eaten all day.”

With a disoriented look, the cop got in his car and backed out of the drive.

I turned to Mac, holding my chest, “I swear, Mac! One of these days you’re gonna put me in an early grave.”

He wiped a dab of sweat from his forehead. “That was close, wasn’t it, buddy?”

Peace On Earth

Imagine today is your last day on Earth.

You have twenty-four hours to live.

Twenty-four hours in which to prepare for your final journey. That journey from which no traveler ever returns. What will you do? How will you spend that final day?

 

If you”re like most people, your primary concern will be to die in peace. At peace with yourself, and at peace with your
Creator. To accomplish this task, maybe you’ll want to make some small gesture, bestow some gift, or perform some random act of grace or mercy in order to leave the world a better place than when you found it.

 


I once had a friend who declared that if allowed, he could at last bring about peace in the middle-east. Then I reminded him of his decades-long estrangement from his brother over a real-estate deal gone south. The amount of money in dispute over the deal was less than a thousand dollars.

 


Maybe twenty-four hours isn’t enough time to bring about world peace, or to otherwise change the world. But it’s plenty of time to change your world. Is there someone you need to reconcile with? Someone you need to forgive? A debt owed, but never paid, perhaps? Maybe you’re estranged from an old friend or family member and can’t even remember why.

What do you want to change today? Start with forgiveness in your world first...

The Bible says don’t let the sun go down on your anger.


So if there’s someone you need to reconcile with, someone you need to forgive, or obtain forgiveness from, then go and do it. Today. Do not wait a moment longer.

 


For to heal a broken relationship is to heal your very soul.


To bind up old wounds that even years later still divide, to reestablish a broken relationship that was once tender and loving, is one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves. One of the greatest words in the English language (or any other language, for that matter) is forgiveness.


For-give.


To give for.


But to give for what? That’s the question.

 


I’d venture a guess – to give for peace. Peace of mind. And peace of heart. For no one who harbors ill will in their hearts can be at peace.

 


It is true forgiveness requires great love, courage, and humility. Then there’s no guarantee the person you seek to reconcile with will either grant you forgiveness or accept your forgiveness. But surely the payoff in peace you’ll receive in return will make it worth the effort. And while most of us assume we have plenty of time left in our lives in which to accomplish such tasks, tomorrow is never guaranteed.

 


Let us not, therefore, continue to put off until tomorrow, a small act of grace that would make the world – your world – a better place today.

 

For those of us aspiring to change the world, there’s no better place to start than our own little corner of it.

 

 

Spencer Lane Adams

01/2022