Coming Home at Christmas

I met Bill Green when I visited my grandparents on Tucker Street in Dyersburg, TN. We enjoyed playing as young boys did in those days and I really liked Bill. He always seemed like a good kid and in our early years we spent a lot of my Dyersburg days with one another.
Sometime later just after Bill got out of high school his girlfriend told him that they were going to be parents. Now you have to understand the times in which we lived then, this was a big, I mean BIG no, no. Bill was broken, he thought about his parents and how they would be broken and humiliated by this news, he loved them and hated to see them go through the gossip, judgment, and other heart break that this would cause to the two people he loved the most. Sure he loved his girlfriend, at least he thought so, but at 18, what did he know?
Going by the pool hall that night he told a couple of his buddies, but instead of concern they just laughed at him and called him dad. He hit a couple of them and soon a fight broke out that left all of them bruised and bleeding. Bill headed for home, as he passed the downtown shoe store he saw his reflection in the window and knew that he could not go home looking like he did; so Bill made another bad choice he went to the IC railroad yard and caught the first North bound freight that slowed down enough for him to jump aboard.
Some almost three years later he left the store where he worked in Chicago, got on the L to go to the rooming house where he lived and heard someone say; Bill Green, is that you Bill? He turned to see a neighbor to his parents and admitted that the man was right, his name was Bill Green. “You need to go home boy, the man said, you really do need to go home Bill, your parents are worried to death about you.”
Bill caught the next train out of Chicago that went through Dyersburg and on that Christmas Eve walked from the station toward his parents’ home on Tucker Street. As he turned into the walk leading up to their porch he saw a baby crib on the porch and couldn’t imagine why it was there. When he knocked on the door his mother opened it and people all up and down Tucker heard her scream. His dad came running from the back of the house and he looked up from the entry to see his girlfriend brining a very small child down the steps from the upstairs.
When Bill told me this story years later at my uncle’s funeral he told how they had gotten married in Kentucky the next day and had added another child to their family. When his girlfriend’s parents had thrown her out of their house his parents had taken her in and cared and loved her for themselves and him. He said, “Ivan that was the longest train ride and walk in my life, but it turned out to be the best, for I learned that day what Grace is really about, my family lived their grace.” A little grace a Christmas, I think it goes well together.

Published in: on December 14, 2014 at 11:05 pm  Leave a Comment  

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