No one was there. Not one single soul was there. The house was empty.
The front door and all the windows were boarded up. The lot was
overgrown with weeds and trees. The house looked like it hadn't been
taken care of for several decades.
But the reunion invitation said to come to Grandpa's old home place.
Where was everyone?
Brushing the leaves, sticks, and debris off the front step, I sat
down dejectedly and decided to wait. In a few moments, an old guy
stopped at the front gate and wanted to know who I was and what I
wanted. I didn't think I knew the old guy but somehow he looked
familiar. I told him who I was and why I was there. The old guy said
"I'm Jess. Remember me from high school? I was your social studies
teacher." I said "Yes. Yes, I do Jess. Sorry I did not
recognize you." Jess said, "No problem at all, Ron. Ron, did
you get an invite to a reunion?" I was shocked and surprised.
"How did you know, Jess." Jess replied, "Well, it happens
all the time. I don't know why, or how, or who, but every few weeks,
someone shows up looking for a reunion at the old home place or some
such. They all have the same invite. They all have the same story. They
all want to see family. Sad. Really, really sad." "What do you
mean Jess?" I replied. Jess spoke in rather halting terms but
eventually he said, "They are all gone. They have all passed on.
All of them. All the people you came here to see are not with us any
more. Most of them have been gone for years. They were all fine people.
I miss them, but they are not here any more. If you think about it, they
would all be in their very late nineties or older." I sat there
dumbfounded and realized Jess was right. They would all be very, very
old folks. Jess spoke and said, "I need to move on. Nice to see you
again, Ron." I replied and said, "Nice to see you again,
How dumb was I? I didn't even think about it. I should have known the
invitation was a hoax. But who would do something so cruel? Who would do
something so hurtful? My heart burned within me so bad to see the old
folks, I didn't even think. As I stood up to leave, I thought I saw them
out of the corner of my eye…must have been a shadow or something. Then
I looked over at the old oak tree and there was my sister Janice
swinging in that swing grandpa put up when we were kids. Janice looked
young. She looked like a kid again. Not like she did a few years ago in
the casket. Then I heard grandma say, "Want some apple pie,
Ron." I knew my emotions were making fun of me so I didn't answer
grandma cause I knew she wasn't real. Then she put a plate with a slice
of her apple pie in front of my face, I took the plate and a fork, and
she said "If you want ice cream on it, you have to come
inside." Suddenly everything started to look new. The yard looked
like the grass was freshly cut, no weeds, no trees over growing the
yard, no debris, everything started to look perfect. I turned toward the
front door and the front door was not boarded up any more. I heard a lot
of familiar voices inside. I walked to the front door, pulled open the
screen, and there they were. All of them were there. It was kind of hard
to recognize them because they were all so young. They were younger than
I had ever known them in my youth. Grandpa, who looked like he was in
his thirties, said, "Glad you could join us, Ron. Grandma has the
ice cream in the kitchen." I didn't know what to say. I kept
thinking I was dreaming but dreams don't seem this good or this real. I
walked back toward the kitchen and in the kitchen mom and grandma were
sitting at the kitchen table. Everything was just as it was when I was a
little boy except everyone was so much younger. Mom and grandma looked
to be about the same age. Grandma said "Sit yourself down and I'll
get the ice cream. You love your vanilla ice cream on my apple
pie." I sat down, still silent. I didn't know what to say or how to
say it. Words failed me. Grandma brought me two scoops of ice cream and
dropped them in the center of my piece of apple pie. Everything just
seemed so perfect. Then mom spoke up and said, "You are not having
a dream Ron, this is a real place. You are being given sort of a preview
of things to come if you take care of some things with your oldest son.
I didn't get to know him when I was alive but I do know all about him.
You need to find him and apologize. You are not aware of it, but you
failed him when he was young. He has carried a grudge ever since. You
didn't understand him. You wanted him to be like you and to like what
you liked. However, he was not like you. You need to go back and show
him you have always accepted him, you have always loved him, and you
will always carry him in your heart forevermore. When you do these
things, you will get another invite. The next invite will be the one
where you can stay here with us." Still not speaking, I ate the
apple pie and ice cream. Delicious! Like they were made in heaven! The
apple pie and ice cream didn't just melt in my mouth, they became a part
of me and I became a part of them. Mom said, "Ron, you need to go
now but we'll be seeing you again." For some reason I cannot
explain, I put the plate and fork down on the table and got up to leave.
Suddenly, I was back on the front porch with all the leaves, sticks, and
debris. There was no swing in the side yard. Everything was overgrown
like before. I turned back toward the front door but it had been boarded
up years ago. I walked down the path toward the gate. When I got to the
gate, I pulled out my cell phone and called my oldest son. I told him I
needed to apologize for a lot of things and asked him if we could get
together day after tomorrow. He said "Sure, dad."
Luke 15:18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him:
Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. (NIV)
Just as fathers must forgive sons, sons must also forgive fathers. We
must all seek the forgiveness of God. We must all learn to forgive
article is fiction. The article first appeared in November, 2007, in the Virtual Church
web site at http://www.findthepower.com