Where Fear Walks

Mary was a tall slim woman of thirty five years.  She had never married, much to the chagrin of her family.  People had described her as plain, but when they got to know her they found that she had a delightful personality, everyone was better for knowing her.

Dan Archer was new in town, he had moved to Washington from the Midwest.  Jobs were hard to find as the economy was in a downturn, so he took the only job available, The Moton Pet Store.

Harry and Alice Moton owned a pet store in the town of Jethro, Washington.  They were animal lovers so when Harry retired from the business world they decided to open a pet store to do what they loved.  It was going well, so much so in fact that they needed to hire an employee.  Harry worked long hours and this would free up some of his time, so he could relax.

Mary Pierce worked for a local insurance agency as receptionist and secretary.  She loved her job.  Working with people was what she loved to do best.  She had been trained to be a helper since she was a child.  Her mother had been active in church and taught Mary to reach out to others, especially those less fortunate than herself.

There was a new pastor at the 1st Baptist church in Moton.  He came from California where he had pastored a church of fifteen hundred people.  Pastor David Melvin was well known in the evangelical stream of Christianity for his sermons on revival.  He had a large following on Facebook; mostly it was people who knew him or those who found him there and liked what he had to say.

Mary was a loyal member of the congregation since her youth.  Her mother Agnes was a founding member.  Agnes had raised Mary alone as Mary’s father had left her when she found she was pregnant.  He told her, “I didn’t sign on for this.”  Not to be daunted, Agnes turned to Jesus for help and He was her faithful partner.  Mary turned out good!

The Saturday before the fourth of July, Mary decided that she wanted to have a pet.  Agnes had died the year before and though Mary had an active busy life, she wanted a companion at home.

As it happened, Dan was working at the pet store when Mary walked in.  Dan had not married after he got out of college because every girl he met was shallow and vain.  Not one to dwell on the negative he took it in stride and moved on filling his life with friends and fun.

Mary asked to see the dogs, she was particularly fond of the Black Labrador breed.  Harry got pets for the store from several sources.  He had only recently acquired the Lab puppies from a source in a small town near them.  They were so cute and lively.  She fell in love with a male who seemed to be the most gregarious of the litter.

As she was paying for her dog, Dan asked if she knew what she was going to name him.  She replied, “Alphonso The Great”.  “Interesting name for a dog.”, Dan replied.  “Yes, I think so too.”  Mary responded.  “I will call him “Fonzie” for short.” Mary said.  “Oh, like on the old TV program, “Happy Days”? Dan asked.  “Yes, because “Fonzie” always wore a black leather jacket and my new dog is black, I think it is appropriate, don’t you?”  Mary said.  Dan agreed.

Dan thought, “Interesting girl.  Not much to look at, but she seemed to have a great personality and a sense of humor.”

Mary and Fonzie settled into what would become a routine over the next year.  He grew to be a full sized Lab and could take Mary for a walk instead of the other way around.  He was headstrong and wilful.  She decided he needed some training, so once again she went to the Moton Pet Store to get a lead.

Walking in, she noticed the man behind the counter was the one who had sold her the dog a year ago.  He remembered her and asked how “Fonzie” was doing.  Explaining her problem Dan told her about a man in town that had trained dogs for the United States Army.  He was highly recommended.  Mary contacted him and he worked with Fonzie and her to teach them how to work together.  Teaching Fonzie that she was the top dog was no easy task.

When Dan smiled, Mary noticed that he had a dimple in his right cheek.  “Mmmm nice, she thought to herself.”  Dan could not help but notice that Mary, who was wearing shorts that day, had beautiful legs. “The old-time movie star, Lana Turner, whose legs were insured for a million dollars, had nothing on Mary Pierce.” He mused.

As it happened, the Baptist church was having a revival the coming week-end; there were signs all around town announcing it.  A tent was to be set up on the vacant lot at the back of the church.  A famous evangelist was to hold the revival along with Pastor Melton.

Mary was looking forward to the meetings.  She asked Dan if he would be interested in coming to the meetings.  He wanted to get to know Mary, so he said he would be delighted to come.

Rain was threatening for the Revival week-end, but it was no match for the praying women.  The storm parted and went right around town.

Dan had never been to a revival.  He was not a believer, in fact, in his youth he had told his parents that he did not believe in a god he could not see or prove existed.  Naturally, his parents, who were believers, were devastated.  He had gone to church at their insistence,  but, since high school days Dan had not gone to church.  He had mellowed a bit and was not as dogmatic and argumentative as he had been then, but he still did not believe in God.  He believed in being rational and reasonable.  If it could be seen and explained, he was all over it.

Pastor David Melvin had brought his young daughter into the store to purchase a parakeet.  She was a sweet little girl with red hair that her mother had put into pigtails.  So adorable.  Dan loved little kids and hoped that someday he would have his own, though at age thirty, time was flying.

Dan saw Mary sitting up front; noticing a chair next to her he ventured forward.  “Hi, may I sit here?”  he asked.  “Yes, of course you may.  Good to see you again, I am so glad that you came.”  “I am glad to see you again, Mary.  I don’t know anything about this sort of thing.  What is the format?”  Dan asked.  Mary explained the general pattern of service, but offered that they just needed to be open to what God wanted to do.  Dan wasn’t thrilled with that remark, but chose to let it go.  He just wanted to get to know Mary better.

What followed for Dan Archer was nothing short of life changing.  In one night he experienced God’s power, a power that he had denied existed.

The visiting evangelist told the congregation about the love of God for them.  He explained that God was not mad at them.  “He loves you and wants you, just the way your are.  He wants you to come to Him, to know him.”  He told them that through the sacrifice of the Son of God for them, as if they were the only one who needed to be rescued from their miserable life, they could come to know this loving God, this Father.

Something was stirring in Dan, he felt very uncomfortable.  He wanted to leave, but he was sitting up front and would not make a scene.  He had heard this message before, but it had never touched him. “What is going?” He thought.  “I am a reasonable person, I don’t do emotional.”

Thankfully, it was over and Dan asked Mary if they could spend a little time together.  Mary suggested that they stop by her house and pick up Fonzie for a walk in the park.  He liked that idea and agreed.  He felt so comfortable with Mary, she was intelligent and could carry on a stimulating conversation.  He liked that.  A woman with a good mind was hard to find.

The next day was Sunday and the revival services continued at the tent on the grounds of First Baptist.  Monday morning Dan heard that a woman who had been hard of hearing was healed at the Sunday night meeting, so Pastor Melton decided to continue the meetings to see what God would do.

The praying woman in the community had been meeting together for over a year, asking God to move upon their town and revive it.  Now, it appeared that He was doing just that.

Dan called Mary to ask if she would like to have supper with him, this was Monday night.  Mary said she was going to the tent meeting, but Harry and Alice were having a get together at their house at noon, which he also had been invited to, and could they meet there?  The answer, of course, was, ” Yes!”

Dan loved picnics and Bar B Q’s, he loved the outdoors, so this was right up his alley, as they say.  He was delighted.  Mary arrived shortly after Dan did, she was wearing his favorite color: blue, and had on shorts again, showing her best asset, in his opinion.  He was finding himself increasingly attracted to Mary Pierce.  And, he liked it.

He watched Mary as she interacted with people.  He thought to himself, “How could I have ever thought she was plain, she is beautiful.”

Mary stood at the sink washing dishes and chatting with some ladies.  Dan watched her from the couch.  She seemed to be in her element when she was helping others.  What a great quality in a woman.

Mary noticed that Dan was watching her, she wondered what he was thinking.  He was so handsome and she wondered why no woman had snatched him up.  Feelings began to rise in her that she had not experienced before with any man.  She liked to be with Dan.  He was so interesting, but he was not a believer and she knew that she could not be joined to a man who was not of like mind and faith.

The food was eaten, the dishes were done and it was starting to get on toward late afternoon.  She had to get home, take Fonzie for a short walk and get ready for the meeting.  She hoped Dan would want to come, but he didn’t seem interested.

That night there were several people that were healed of long standing illnesses and diseases, as well as old Silas Crup who had been in a wheel chair for twenty years of his seventy years.  When all paralysis left his body, he got up and began to jump up and down like he was twenty.  The people were stunned to say the least.  No one had seen anything like it before.

Tuesday morning the town was a buzz about the healings that had taken place.  People called their relatives and they told others and suddenly the town was full of people coming from the surrounding communities to attend the revival meetings.

Several people came into the pet store to talk with Harry and Alice about the revival.  “Were you there when my cousin Sadie was healed of cancer?” Leta Carpenter asked Alice.  “Yes.” she replied, “We could hardly believe it; if we had not seen that deep hole in her cheek fill in right before our very eyes, we would not have believed it could happen.”  “But with God, of course.” she added.

Dan heard all of this and wondered what was happening.  “Could it be true?  Does God really exist?  Could I have been wrong all these years?  No, I have studied this thing out, there is no such thing as God.  I know I am right.  This is just hocus-pocus.” He thought.  But the crack in his armor had taken place and Spirit of God was drawing him.

When the revival was over that evening Dan was waiting for Mary.  She came to get in her car and he asked if they could talk.  Reluctantly, she agreed, but said she had to go get Fonzie and take him for a walk.

Arriving at Mary’s house, he put Fonzie in the back seat of his car. Dan wanted to talk.  She didn’t know what was on his mind, but she agreed.  He headed downtown toward the pet store.  Dan turned into the lot behind the store, Mary saw the community service officer’s car hesitate as she saw them, but then recognized Dan’s car and kept going.

He stopped the car and they got out with Fonzie.  Dan had the leash in his hand, intending to walk him along the grassy area behind the store.  Fonzie suddenly reared up, showing his teeth and began to attack Dan.  Mary stood dumbfounded at what she saw happening, she was paralyzed with fear.  Dan yelled at her to get back and call for help.

Incredibly, when the story was told later, they realized an angel, sent from God, came and seemed to get in front of or into Dan as he wrestled with the dog.  Fonzie fell to the ground, apparently dead, and what stood before them could only be described as a satanic presence.  It was the ugliest evil thing either of them had ever seen.  It bared its teeth and growled that it was going to kill them.

That’s when I woke up and realized I had a dream.

Days are coming when God is going to show up and so is satan.  Maybe you don’t know it, but there is a war going on and to the victor belongs the spoils.  The spoils these warring kingdoms are after is the souls of mankind.  I have read the back of the book and I can tell you, God wins, satan is defeated and sent to Hell.  End of story!

Which side are you on?  Think!








The Case of the Grandfather Clock

The grandfather clock in the hall was chiming 7:00 A.M. when Nicholas walked out the door to go to his office.  Mary’s mother had given them the clock when her father died.  He and Mary’s uncle had made it back in 1954 when Mary was still at home.  She had always loved it and was thrilled that she had it in their home.

The day began just like any other, but it was not to end that way.  Life would never be the same when this day was over.

Mary was raised in the Midwest along with her three siblings. Mary’s father, John Carlson was a second generation Norwegian and a shopkeeper by trade.  He and Mary’s mother, Anna, had a little grocery store in the neighborhood where they lived.  The locals all frequented the store and became friends of the family.

When Mary graduated from high school she took a job at the local bank.  She worked in bookkeeping along with two other girls, it was fun and challenging.  She enjoyed being with people and soon was promoted to teller.  Her job provided her with enough income to be able to help the “little kids”, the ones still at home.

Mary and her friend Eleanor took a vacation to California and fell in love with the San Francisco Bay area.  Within the year they loaded their meager belongings into Eleanor’s ’49 Ford and headed west.

Mary was hired to work in the accounting department for Security Mutual Insurance Company.  She got the job right away and was so grateful to not have to go any further.  Nicholas Strousky worked for the company as an underwriter.  He had started when he was just out of college; he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley; his goal was to manage the company’s branch office by the time he was forty, a very ambitious goal.

Nicholas and Mary discovered each other in the company lunchroom and it was love at first sight.  Nine months later they were married, he was 27 and she was 25.

They were unlike most couples in their circle in that Nicholas came to America from Russia with his parents when he was sixteen  They had won the lottery to come to America and were able to do so immediately due to the fact that his uncle was already a citizen and could verify his ability to support them.

Life went along pretty peacefully for several years, promotions came on a regular basis for Nicholas, he was moving up the corporate ladder.  His superiors had only positive comments for him at review time.  His income was commensurate with the promotions and he and Mary lived pretty well.

Up until this time they had lived in a condominium, but the desire for a home of their own was strong.  They wanted to have a dog and could not where they lived.  They were also considering having a family.  The agreement was that Mary would be a stay at home Mom at that point.  As you can see they were goal setters and they pressed forward toward their goals with diligence.

Last Sunday afternoon, Uncle “D”, as Mary called him. came over to their place for Dinner.  Mary made his favorite meal, beef roast, borscht, boiled potatoes and cabbage.   They had a nice visit and he left around nine o’clock.

Walking out of the house that Monday, Nicholas got into his car and headed for the office, Mary had started a new job with a decorating company called “Inventive Designs”, they went into a client’s home, working with them on room design, color, furniture, furnishings etc.  Mary loved it as it gave her creativity an outlet.

At 5:00 P.M. the local TV station, KSGN, broadcast the news that Dominic Strousky had been arrested as a Russian Spy, further reporting that he had been taking kick backs from Russia for years.  The FBI began an investigation.

Nicholas had just gotten into his car when the announcement was made over the car radio of Dominic’s arrest.  He sat in stunned silence.  How could this be?  Uncle D” had always been a favorite, he even felt that he was more than family, he was a close personal friend to he and Mary.  He called Mary and asked if she had heard, she hadn’t.  She too was absolutely flabbergasted.  This was incomprehensible.

As the investigation played out, it was noted that Dominic had received $50,000 in cash for taking pictures of a sealed off area known as “Area C”, it was in the Nevada desert.  The money however, was nowhere to be found.

Nicholas and Mary were heartbroken over the events that unfolded.  They still found it hard to believe.  Because of the close relationship to Dominic, the FBI was investigating them as well.  It was very unnerving, even painful to have your loyalty to America questioned.  Nicholas had long ago become a citizen and was so grateful to his chosen country.  They both loved America.

If it wasn’t bad enough being questioned by agents who assumed your guilt without proof of wrong-doing, or the FBI prying into their finances, and the continual stake outs watching their every move; the San Francisco Bay area shook, rattled and rolled to a 6.5 earthquake. “What next?” They asked each other.

When Nicholas arrived home that night, he found the grandfather clock face down; when he set it up he could not believe his eyes.  The door on the bottom had sprung open, in it and spilling out was $50,000 American dollars, the exact amount that Dominic was accused of taking.

When Mary arrived home she found him sitting on the sofa staring at the money on their coffee table.  “What on earth do we do now?”, he asked Mary.  “If we go to the police and tell them, they will think that we were complicit.”  “But we can’t keep it.”, Mary said.” Nicholas had contemplated when Dominic had put it there.  “He had to have put there on Sunday when he was here for dinner.  What do we do Mary?”, he asked.

They got little sleep that night.  They agreed they could not keep the money, that was a given.  The only option that seemed reasonable was to take it to the police and let them contact the FBI.  So they did.

The next several months were like Hell on earth.  Their employers questioned their loyalty, their friends were suspicious and the government assumed guilt by association.  They had no choice but to hire a lawyer.

Rudy Langford was the best lawyer of the best.  His law firm had managed to get a high profile Basketball player free, even though most people believed he was guilty.  Their hopes to purchase a home went out the window, the money eaten up in lawyer’s fees.

The trial of Dominic Strousky for treason lasted four weeks.  The government proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was involved with the Russian mafia, and was extorting money from people, as well as spying on the American government for Russia.  He was convicted and sentenced to death for treason.

Rudy Langford’s presentation, maintaining the innocence of Nicholas and Mary Strousky, convinced the jury that they were above reproach.  There was no incrimination, they were exonerated.  But the cost to Nicholas and Mary was much more than just money, their lives would never be the same again.

In the ensuing year, they both quit their jobs, moved back to the Midwest and began a new life, putting behind them the case of the grandfather clock.