Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Evolution of Elizabeth Grant

The Evolution of Elizabeth Grant
Paul R. Meredith
The following is a very brief synopsis of my newest story, an e-book on Amazon Kindle.

Imagine a six-year-old girl being taken from abusive parents and she and her three siblings placed in an orphanage.  What will become of her? It is not a pretty picture. But Young Teresa Harden endured and evolved from this rough start in life to a life beyond expectation for most people. Once adopted by loving parents, her life takes on challenges that most of us will never face. Her life as a young woman introduces her to life-changing events that caused her to live a secret and often shameful life for the middle years of her existence. Then after a happenstance meeting with a very special man, she feels she has to change her name and run away to save him. Years later after Elizabeth Grant is found by that special man, her life begins the evolution into a deep love and a life filled with treasures even she could hardly believe.
Here is the Amazon link to my book:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Remembering the Great World War II

Remembering the Great World War II


I was ten years old when the greatest war of my life ended. The official date was September 2, 1945, but we first heard the news about two weeks before. I remember my mom and dad and a few close neighbors wanted to go celebrate the end of World War II in downtown Decatur, Illinois, my hometown. Red and Lil Fleming wanted my mom and dad to go downtown with them to see the big celebration that was taking place. One of my aunts watched the other kids, but Dad and Mom took me along because I was the oldest kid and had shown more interest in the war than the others. My twin sisters could have cared less about the war because they didn’t understand it. I think my Uncle Harley met us downtown near the square.

            Red Fleming, our wonderful neighbor just across the street had served in the U.S. Army Cavalry and saw active service in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. He had been discharged and came home just a few weeks prior to the ending of the war. Red never told any us any stories about his war experiences, but we knew that he had been through hell over there. We knew he suffered some minor mental problems from what he had endured on the battlefield.

Red was a truly wonderful man in every respect. He had worked at Swift Ice Cream in Decatur prior to being drafted into the army, so when he was discharged, he went back to work for Swift again. He drove a truck that delivered ice cream to stores all over our part of the state. We loved Red because he brought a box of ice cream bars to the Meredith kids about once every week. We also loved his wife Lil and his dog Poochie. Red and Lil were childless, so they more or less adopted the Meredith clan, and we adopted them as our favorite neighbors. Poochie thought he was our dog a lot of the time because anytime one of us was outside, Poochie was there to play with us.

I remember we parked and walked two or three blocks to get to a spot where we could see the celebration festivities. We stood on North Main Street somewhere between Linn & Scruggs Department Store and the Lincoln Theater. People who lived in the apartments on the second and higher floors of some of the buildings were throwing paper confetti and making all kinds a racket with horns, firing shotguns, beating pans with spoons, and yelling. It was a wild and exciting time for a ten-year-old kid like me. A stage had been set up just across from the old Transfer House on the square and several people, I think including the Mayor of Decatur, gave speeches and made announcements that caused all the people to yell and cheer like crazy.

I think we stayed downtown for about two hours. I just remember I was really tired from trying to see through all the tall adults standing in front of me. There was a big parade with lots of military people walking down Water and Main Streets. There were also bands of all kinds and just a bunch of people following along singing songs. People were really happy the war was over and our soldiers, marines and sailors would all be coming home, except for the thousands and thousands who had been lost in battle.

On the way home, Red told me, “I brought something from the war back for you, Sonny. I’ll get it for you when we get back to the house.” I wondered what it could be, but as soon as we arrived back home, Red went in to his house and brought it over to me. It was a German soldier’s helmet that he had recovered in a fight somewhere in France. It was a black helmet with a big silver spike on the top of it. I treasured that helmet for many years, and sad to say now, I have no idea what ever happened to the helmet. My guess is that someone took it from our house. I hated that it disappeared.

Paul R. Meredith - Date: Unknown

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Getting Caught in the Closet

Getting Caught in the Closet:

There had been a really bad car accident one evening up near Maroa. Several people were involved in it, and I heard one person was killed. I was called to the ER to help transport patients into and out of the wait area and in to the ER hold area. One of the women, a girl I knew pretty well, was a patient from the accident and I ultimately was called to take her to my floor to the female wing where she was placed in a traction for multiple broken bones. She was sleeping during the time I transported her after her initial surgery, so she had no idea I was helping her in any way.

The day following the accident, I went in to see her, but she was sleeping, so I didn't bother her. But the third day I went to see her, she was awake and feeling decent, so we talked for a few minutes. I explained I had brought her up to this room after her initial visit in the ER.

The girl's name was Allis. She was a senior at school just as I was. She was going steady with a friend of mine named Gene.  He had also been hurt in the accident but was taken to the other hospital in Decatur, St. Mary's Hospital. I never knew why, unless it was due to overcrowding.

While Allis was in the hospital on my floor, but down in the women's wing, I generally stayed over after I got off work at 12:30 to go visit with her for half an hour or so. After about the third or fourth day, we started kissing. I had her trapped in her tractions devices, because both her legs and one arm were broken, as well as her collar bone. She was really bruised up badly, but not so badly that she didn't enjoy the kisses. Eventually the kisses turned rather more passionate than before, so they progressed into more serious touches of her body (and mine). Of course the traction setup and her pain wouldn't allow much of anything further, but we still enjoyed the signs for the future when she would be released from the hospital, although there were never any firm promises for intimacy. She still had her boyfriend Gene to consider, as I did my girlfriend Karen. Karen and I had been going steady for a year plus, but I was growing restless with her. She wanted more freedom to move in her social circles than my six-day a week night job could offer. I knew the relationship would have to end sooner rather than later. I did not want to waste another birthday or Christmas present on her.

On the last evening I went after my shift to visit with Allis, we were really busy smooching up a storm, when what to my sensitive ears did I hear but the clomp-clomp of what I knew beyond any doubt was Mrs. Draggert's hard-heeled shoes. They were coming down the hall towards Allis' room. I quickly covered her up and jumped into the stand-up closet that was in her room. I barely could fit in the narrow closet, but I managed to squeeze inside just as Mrs. Draggert entered the room. She saw Phyllis was wide awake, so she went to her bedside and said, "Good evening, my dear. How are you feeling now?"
                Allis muttered something incoherently in response. I could not make it out clearly, but I could see through the narrow crack of the slightly opened door that she was sweating bullets. I think she might have said, "I am good," or something like that.
                Mrs. Draggert smiled at her and said, "That's good to hear. Now, I was really looking for my orderly, Paul. Have you seen him this evening?"
                "Whhooo?" Phyllis said.
                "My evening-shift orderly, Paul. You do know him, don't you?"
                "Uh, yes, we go to school together. He is in one of my classes at school."
                "So have you seen him this evening?" Mrs. Draggert asked again.
                "No, but I think he's off work by now, isn't he?"
                Mrs. Draggert said nothing more to Allis, but she turned on her heel and marched right over and jerked the closet door open and told me, "Step down out of there, Paul."
                I did, and she grabbed me by my ear and walked me straight down past the three nurses at their station as they stared in awe at me wincing in pain. We went straight to Mrs. Draggert's office where she tossed me in the chair facing her desk. "Now, I am going to give you exactly three minutes to explain to me why you were in that girl's room, what you were doing with her, and why I should not fire you this very minute."
                I was rubbing my ear as I tried to explain. "She is a good friend of mine from school. I was just seeing if there was anything I could do to help her."
                "Yes, and I could tell that you were attempting to do just that about the time you heard me coming, right?"
                "Uh, well, it wasn't exactly what you might think. We're just friends."
                "Very close friends I must assume, because I definitely could tell there was something sexual about to happen."
                "No, that would not be possible. She is in traction," I insisted.
                "Yes, and I must say it was skillfully manipulated so that you could crawl in bed with her. Did you realize we were about to bring a new patient into that empty bed beside her in a few minutes? The new patient was being prepped to go into that room with your friend. Do you realize what would have happened if they had brought her in while you were busy doing whatever you were about to do? You would have shamed the hospital, plus probably have cost several of us our jobs."
                "I'm sorry, but I really wasn't doing all that much wrong."
                "Oh but you were. So now tell me why I should not fire you on the spot, Paul."
                I sat there as I tried to think of an answer. "I won't do it again," I told her.
                "Oh, believe me, I can guarantee you that I know that," she said. "Now, again I ask, why should I not fire you right now?"
                I was very nervous, realizing it was about to be curtains for me and my job. "Because I am the best orderly here at this hospital and I have not missed one day in more than two years of employment. And besides that, my patients and my nurses all get along really well with me." I sat in silence while she gave me that special Draggert stare that sliced right through me.
                Then she spoke. "Paul, I am very, very angry at you right now. I am also very angry with Brenda and those other nurses for allowing you to stay with that girl like that. Don't you dare try to tell me they didn't know, because I know they did. I will not ever tolerate that kind of behavior from you or from any of them again. I intend to go speak directly with them tomorrow as soon as they come to work." Then she just sat there. Finally she told me, "Get out of here."
                I stood to leave, but I had to ask, "So, am I fired?"
                She stared at me again in that special way. "Did I say you are fired?"
                "I don't know for sure, but I don't think you said it directly."
                "If I didn't say it, it must not have happened. I will see you tomorrow.
                Man, I could not wait to get out of her office. She was a really mean woman. That is why I feared for what she would say to the nurses the next day. Everyone was petrified of her.
Allis and I never got together after that--not at the hospital or even later when she was released. I continued dating, but not with Karen. I had moved past her and found a new girl by then. Allis and Gene continued to date through high school and eventually they were married.

This continued my record of never having been fired from any job I ever had in my life. I came close a couple of times, but I always managed to salvage the situations somehow. This trend continued for the remainder of my life until now, and since I am retired, I assume it will be a lifetime of never being fired. Not too many people can say that.

Paul R. Meredith


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bicycle Finance


Bicycle Finance
       Dad and Mom bought each of the twin girls, Marlene and Darlene, a new Schwinn bicycle for Christmas. They would be in their teens on their next birthday in March. I knew it was a real stretch for our parents to buy gifts as expensive as new bicycles, but they did it by saving up for a year. The bikes were a beautiful light blue color and even had battery-powered headlights on the front fender.
As for me, I already had a new Monarch bike that I had purchased with money I made from my paper route. I used my bike to get back and forth to school and to deliver my newspaper route.
       Although I made pretty good money delivering the newspaper, I figured I could always use a little extra money to buy neat things I might want. So I started using Marlene's and Darlene's bikes to rent out for short rides to other kids in our neighborhood. I tried to do it when the two girls weren't using them, but there were a few times I had to take them away from the girls when I had clients to whom I had promised rides. I told the girls that my bike had problems and I needed to use their bike for a short time. I always kept my bike chained up with a lock so they couldn't know whether I was being truthful or not. This did not make the girls happy, so they told Mom on me. Of course she scolded me, but I told her the same story about my bike having troubles. She seemed to buy the story, although I feel sure she noticed that my bike was always good for delivering my newspapers at four o'clock in the afternoon.
       My method was to ride the bikes to the renter's house away from our house, so the girls always thought I was actually using the bike myself. I tried to be careful and only use one of their bikes at a time, but there were times I had both of them rented out at the same time. That was when I had to come up with tall tales in order to confiscate both bikes at nearly the same time. My fee for renting their bikes was ten cents each half hour or fifteen cents for an entire hour. Weekends were my busiest rental times, especially Saturdays.
       One day one of my twin sisters (I forget which one) saw one of my clients on a bike exactly like theirs. They told the kid they had a bike just like the one he was riding. My side business started to seriously unravel at that point because that kid told my sister that he didn't own the bike, he was just renting it from their brother, which was me.
       I don't recall all the details now, but suddenly my lucrative side business hit the skids. Mom went down to talk to the boy who had the rental bike and he told her he was renting it from me.
That pretty much ended my extra income potential. Of course Mom was very angry with me and told Dad what I had been doing with the girls' two rental bikes. Dad was really upset with me too, but for whatever reason he did not beat me. Maybe it was because he thought I was too old to get the kind of whippings I had gotten before. Whatever the reason, I was extremely thankful.
The End
Paul R. Meredith
Circa 1984
















Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Grandma Meredith Dies

Grandma Meredith Dies

It was the summer of 1944. I had just turned nine years old a few months earlier. I heard the phone ring while I was in bed. Dad answered it quickly, attempting to keep from disturbing everyone who was sleeping. The call was from Dad’s father, my Grandpa Meredith. I only remember hushed voices between Dad and Mom after he put the phone down. “It’s Mom, she’s pretty bad off. Dad thinks I need to come,” Dad told Mom.
            “Is she going to make it?” I heard Mom ask.
            “Doesn’t sound like it,” Dad replied. I heard our old Chevrolet fire up and indicate Dad was leaving the house.
            A couple of hours later the phone rang again. By this time it was early morning and I jumped out of bed. Mom told me Grandma Meredith had just died. I broke down and cried my eyes out.
            Nobody would ever understand the relationship I had with my dear Grandma Meredith. I never loved anyone more than I loved her. Let me tell you why. During the summers when school was out, it was common for me to spend a lot of time with Grandma and Grandpa at their Grand Avenue home in Decatur. For whatever reason, Grandma Meredith wanted me to come and stay with them for days on end, often for two or three weeks. While there, Grandpa worked at the Grand Avenue Cleaners establishment, so Grandma and I would do some cooking, go downtown to shop, and generally just hang out together. I learned a whole lot about life from that wonderful woman. She was a peach in every way.
            Every Saturday that I stayed with her would be an adventure for me. We went to the Seventh Day Adventist Church a couple of blocks from her house, and after church we would ride the bus downtown. Grandma just never ever wanted to miss church, although I do remember a few times she was too ill to go. The bus stopped for us at the bus stop on the corner of Edward and Grand, less than a half-block from her house at 419 West Grand. We generally got off at Main and North Streets and walked the one block up to North Main Street. For whatever reason, Grandma loved the Walgreens store just a block north of Central Park on Water Street, so that is where we would have a light lunch. Grandma always bought me a big old chocolate milkshake before we left. Other than lunch and a milkshake, I no longer remember what else we shopped for, but she always had some little thing she had to get.
            I remember helping Grandma make bread and noodles with homemade dumplings. She always let me roll out the dough and cut the biscuits out, plus she always allowed me to do the dropping of the dumplings into the noodle broth. It made me feel like I was a really big help to her. I will never forget once when she made me a sandwich for lunch. It was the most delicious thing I ever ate. I loved the meat and I always asked her to put mustard on it for me. Well, that sandwich was so good I asked if I could have a second one. She marched right into the kitchen and pulled out a platter from the old icebox (she didn’t own a refrigerator at that time) and set it on the table. She uncovered it and started to slice me some meat for a sandwich. It nearly made me gag. “Grandma, what is that?” I asked.
            “It’s beef tongue,” she replied.
            “Yuck, I can’t eat any of that,” I told her.
            “Well now, Sonny, you’ve already been eating it most of your life, as well as just a few minutes ago. You told me then that you loved it.”
            I ran into the bathroom and almost threw up (maybe I did throw up, although I have long since forgotten). Grandma followed me to make sure I was not going to be too sick. I guess I got past the horrible image of that big old cow tongue on that platter, although there are times when I still remember that horrible day when I discovered what I had been eating.
            It was much later when I discovered that not only had I eaten that cow tongue, but also chitterlings. I never knew what they were either, but once when I saw her cooking them while burning a brown paper grocery bag on top of the stove, I asked. I know for certain I threw up when she told me about those horrible things I had eaten at her house many times. Every single time I ate there after learning about chitterlings and cow tongue, I always asked for identification of what I was about to eat.
            Grandma had a window box where she kept her butter and milk in the winter. She could only get ice for the icebox delivered in the summer months, so Grandpa Meredith had built her a way to open the kitchen window and store her spoilable food items outside. I know Mom also had one that Dad had built for her. She also kept all her leftover meat in the window box when it was cold outside. Most of the time Grandma purchased her food things daily. Scanlon’s Super Market was less than a hundred feet from her front door.

Grandma always wore a head covering wrapped around her head that she fashioned from a scarf. I never saw her without it. One day I asked her, “Grandma, why do you always have that thing on your head?”
            She told it was to keep her head warm, even in the summer. Being a stupid young kid, I bought her answer without question. It wasn’t until after she died that I learned she had suffered from cancer of the head for several years. She wore the scarf head covering to hide the cancer from sight of those around her.

The day of Grandma Meredith’s funeral, I wanted to go to it. Until then I had never experienced seeing anyone dead. Mom and Dad thought I was too young to go to the services, so they left us with one of my aunts, maybe it was Aunt Vade, although I forget who for sure. I had heard Mom and Dad talking and I learned Grandma was to be buried in Fairlawn Cemetery, a cemetery I was very familiar with due to making so many trips through it to get to the Duck Pond at Fairview Park where many of the neighborhood boys went to fish. I told Aunt Vade I was going down to play with one of my friends, but in secret I was going to go to the cemetery to see if I could find out where Grandma was to be buried.
            I scurried down Taylor Street, over to Dennis Street all the way to the cemetery. I climbed over the fence and walked just a short distance over the train tracks to where I saw a tent canopy erected and many cars pulling into the area. Almost immediately I saw Uncle Harley’s big old green Studebaker pull in. He had taken Mom and Dad to the services. I sneaked my way to within about half a block or so, where I hid behind some evergreen trees and some bushes. From there I could hear the preacher from Grandma’s church say some words of prayer in a loud voice, and then everybody started crying. I waited there until the service was over and all the people left. Two men came and lowered Grandma’s box down to the bottom of the hole and they started throwing shovels of dirt on top of her box.
            I cried all the way home and for several hours afterward. I had not only lost my dear Grandma Meredith, but also my very best friend. I had bad dreams about her funeral for a number of years after that. Even today, I still think how those two guys threw dirt on her grave, as well as a few cigarette butts they smoked. I remember them laughing as they worked, while I sat on the hillside crying.

Years later at the age of eighteen, I learned I was adopted. It came to light that my dad wasn’t really my real dad at all, which also meant that Grandma Meredith wasn’t my real grandma at all. For many years I wondered why she would treat me so much better than any of the other Meredith kids. None of them ever stayed with her like I did. She had always treated me special, and she had to know I wasn’t really her grandson, not by blood anyway.
            I guess it must have been that she never saw me as a substitute grandson, or maybe she wanted to show me special love because I had this big problem looming ahead of me that I would someday discover. I don’t know why she showed me so much attention, so much more than the other kids. But I do know I had such a special love for her that even today I can’t adequately describe it. I can still cry when I recall the times I spent with her. I just never let anyone see me doing it.

If ever an angel walked the earth, Gertrude Lance Meredith was that angel. The special memory of her will live with me to my grave.

Paul R. Meredith
Date: Unknown

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Broken Window

The Broken Window


When I was still young I had a BB gun like all the boys my age had. It was a Red Ryder lever-cock model, the most popular of the day. My buddy, who lived next door, Gene Carr, also had one, so he and I would often go back in the “New Roads” area and shoot birds and whatever else we could find to shoot at. We both hated it when my brother Danny, Delmar Rucker, and Donnie Burcham and other friends of theirs would sneak and follow us, because we wanted to do “secret stuff” back there, stuff that we didn’t want known. After they followed us several times, we soon learned to hide in waiting on them. When they got real close, we’d jump out and scare the hell out of them, and then as they ran, we’d shoot them in the butt with our BB guns. I got in more trouble doing that, but it was the only thing that worked. Dad peppered my butt big-time every time I did that, but two or three days later, I’d be right back doing it again. I finally stopped one day after I embedded a BB in Delmar Rucker’s butt from close range, and his dad had to dig it out with his pocketknife. Delmar’s dad threatened to shoot me with my own BB gun, and to also beat my dad’s butt if I didn’t quit immediately, so I finally stopped, but not until the boys promised me they would stop following me all the time. Actually, the main reason I stopped was so that I could continue living. Dad promised me instant death if it ever happened again, and I knew beyond any doubt that he was deadly serious.

            Sometimes as a different sort of entertainment, Gene and I would get Danny, Donnie (Frog), Delmar, and other friends of theirs down in Gene’s basement, and have them put the boxing gloves on. We’d stage our own Olympics, in a manner of speaking. We did this several times until Dad got wind of it, and then it was red-butt day all over again for me.

            I know there have been times in Danny’s life when he felt like he owed me a lot in the way of paybacks, and actually when I reflected on it myself, I had to agree that maybe he did. There were times when we got a little older that I slept with one eye open, not sure what he might attempt to do to me in the middle of the night. I knew the building of hate when I saw it, so I decided I had to do something nice for him so he’d forget any hostile actions he might be contemplating against my physical being. One day the chance arrived when I could do something to make him feel better about his big brother.

            Several of us boys were playing football in our empty lot next to the house. Danny accidentally kicked the football right through Mom’s double-kitchen window on the north side of the house. Danny was scared to death that Dad would kill him when he got home from work, but I thought Dad would surely understand a simple accident had happened, so I told Danny not to worry. I would claim that I did it and take the blame for him. He dropped to his knees in pure gratitude, willing to kiss my feet or do anything else I wanted him to do. I became Danny’s instant hero.

            I approached Mom and took complete responsibility for the broken window, and I helped her cover the opening with cardboard. She told me Dad would be mad, but she’d try to keep him under control. Late that night when Dad came home from work, Mom told him of the accident I had with the football, but she told him I did the right thing and voluntarily confessed to it.

            I played like I was asleep, but Dad came over to my bed. “Would you please step out to the back porch area for a minute?” he said in a very soft voice. There was no anger in the tone of his voice at all, so I bravely went to the porch. This next part of the story is really very ugly, so I will just say that I had a very red, extremely sore butt for the next several days. The neighbors heard a lot of screaming.

            Today, the police would arrest a father for doing what he did to me in the way of discipline, but all the kids in our area pretty much got the same treatment from their dads.  My Grandfather Meredith gave my dad a leather razor strap years before to sharpen his straight razor on. It was a quarter of an inch thick, and Dad used this on me on those rare occasions when he felt I deserved it, but never any harder than on that occasion when I got it for something I never did. I nearly folded and told the truth on Danny, but I felt he couldn’t survive what I was getting, so I bit my tongue and endured. I’ve had a lot of bad whippings, beatings, or whatever the proper name is for them, but never a worse one than that one. I will never forget it as long as I live, but you know what? I never blamed Dad for it. He had told us several times not to play football or baseball in the lot because we’d break a window.

            I think Dad did the only thing that was possible to make me a better person at the time, because even I realized I was bordering on being out of control at certain times. That beating made me wake up to the fact that I would never in my life ever take the blame again for somebody else, and possibly I might not ever even confess to something I actually did. It was a pretty severe lesson. It was the worst beating I ever had to endure, but it also was the last one.


Paul R. Meredith


Monday, August 17, 2015

The Case of the Flying Gable

The Flying Gable

 There is one story of an event that happened when our family lived on the corner of Taylor and Cushing. Our Uncle Harley loved to build things, so one day when he was visiting us he noticed it was almost unbearably hot. In those days there was no air conditioning. Dad had a couple of fans placed here and there in the house, but they didn’t do much to cool the house. Uncle Harley stated to my dad, “Paul, I’ve got an idea how we can cool this house. I’ll see what I can do about making an attic fan for you.”

            Over the next couple of weeks, we never heard much back from Uncle Harley, but then one day he showed up with a marvelous new fan for cooling our house. It was a huge electric motor with a fan blade attached. I have since forgotten what he said about where the motor came from, but the fan blade was from an old car. Uncle Harley had somehow married the motor and the fan blade together to make this huge fan. The problem was that the southern gable of the house had to be custom altered to accept the new fan, plus electricity had to be run to it so it could be plugged in. It took Dad and Uncle Harley a couple of weekends to do the required work and install the fan.

            Uncle Harley had run the electricity down to a wall switch in the kitchen that Mom or Dad could flip to start the fan. On the day the fan was to be started for the first time, all the Meredith kids, plus some of our neighbors, gathered to watch. Uncle Harley and Dad were stationed in the attic to watch as Mom flipped the switch in the kitchen. The fan had just one speed. As soon as Mom flipped the switch, we all heard the whine of the big motor as it started to wind up. It gathered speed slowly as we saw all the curtains in the house start to be sucked away from the windows by the surge of air movement through the house and into the attic. A couple of the chairs even moved and tipped over. Suddenly we all heard the fan reach a crescendo of a very loud whine, and then came the very loud ripping and crashing of wood. I heard Dad and Uncle Harley scream, “Turn it off, Olive!” Mom hurriedly ran to the switch and turned it off, but it was way too late. The huge fan had torn away from the house, taking with it nearly half the gable end it was framed into. The fan flew across the street and finally lodged into two tall poplar trees in Lil and Red Fleming’s yard across the street, and then it fell with a thud into their yard. Their two tall trees had devastating holes ripped in them by the flight of the fan. One of the trees was about six feet shorter than it had been before.

            Uncle Harley and Dad had screamed in a panic for Mom to shut the switch off because they both felt they were about to be sucked into the blade of the fan just prior to it ripping out the end of our house and flying clear across the street. They had hung on to the ceiling joists with all the strength they had. Had those two poplar trees not been in the flight path of the huge fan, there is no way of knowing how far it might have flown, or how much really hard damage it would have caused. It was probably a blessing the trees had stopped the fan, even though the trees would suffer and show damage for many years to come. If that fan had hit a house, God only knows what would have happened.

            Dad and Uncle Harley scurried to find a large tarp to cover the end of the house because rain clouds were forming. One of our neighbors had just such a tarp and loaned it to Dad until repairs could be made to the house, a chore several of the neighbors helped Dad and Uncle Harley to do. The whole end of the house had to be rebuilt and even some of the roof. It had been an experiment that, had it worked, would have been wonderful for heat relief, but it failed miserably and caused major damage. The problem was the size of the electric motor; it was absolutely way too large for such an application. Had the fan had several lower speeds, it possibly could have worked, although one of the kids would have eventually experimented and flipped the switch to high.   

Paul R. Meredith

circa 1992

Should A Prophet Profit by Propheteering?

Should A Prophet Profit by Propheteering?




A Manifesto

During the time when Jesus walked the earth and for many years after his death, we know there were a number of prophets speaking for Jesus as they roamed around. Their purpose was to educate people of the existence of God and help bring them to their salvation. All of the early prophets were men who had forsaken any wealth they had for the higher glory of preaching the word of God to all the unbelievers of the time.

            I have long thought that had these men kept their wealth and in fact attempted to increase it as they preached, they could have accomplished much more for the kingdom. As it was, their travel was fairly limited because they couldn’t buy passage on ships or camel trains to reach the far corners of the known world. Had the prophets only asked for donations of money to increase their travel possibilities, many more people could have been saved, and much, much earlier than possible with the limited ranges they had by merely walking.

            It also occurred to me that the masses would have listened more intently to a wealthy man than a poor one simply because they had more respect for rich people of the time. When a poor man and a rich man speak at the same event on the same topic, people migrate to hear the rich man because they think he must be more intelligent due to his station in life. It appears the richer a man is, the more he is respected. The same is true for a person’s station in life. Think of all the politicians you can and tell me the more important one of the following: a mayor of a town, a representative of a district, a senator from a state, or the president of the country. Such is the same on lower levels of life, such as the fireman or the fire chief, the policeman or the chief of police, the worker in the shop or the head of the same company. Many of these people at the higher levels attained their positions due to influence and money, although not all of them. A few earned their way up the ladder..

            Given the fact of importance, would a prophet not be in a more effective position by having money? After all, money can buy influence and power—and travel. The more power the prophet has, the more he can travel and speak to large groups of people.


So how does one become a prophet anyway? Do we really believe God selects them by some kind of special calling, or are they self-appointed? I lean toward the self-appointed possibility myself. It’s like being at church and the pastor continually says God gave his message to him. Who really believes that? Not me. In most cases, the sermons are selected by pastor alone.

            If a prophet can be self-appointed, why not me? I think I could figure out a way to coerce people into giving me money to spread the word. I could start my own religion and base it around predicting the end times. I think I could speak loudly and carry a big staff (stick) and wear a silver robe with a wide silver belt that would command attention. I could scare people into giving my church some of their money. I would gladly pay my tithes of ten percent to the church. After all, the church would be me. I would give myself the tithe in the name of the church.

            That guy Joseph Smith created the Mormon Church from scratch and Ron what’s his name started another big church, so why couldn’t I do the same? I believe I could—and I might even do it someday. Many others have done it.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Return of the Vigilante Goddess

Return of the Vigilante Goddess
Paul R. Meredith
I am promoting this book free for three days from July 18 thru July 20. This is the third book of my Vigilante series, but it is also a stand alone story on its own merits. It is a great thriller that may shock you as you realize something very much like what is told in the story could well be happening right now. We know about the vigilante justice in the old West, so this will make you wonder.
Brief Excerpt:
Esther Scroggins was a private investigator. While married to her first husband she owned a small investigation company. Then her husband died from a fast-acting form of cancer. After being a widow for several years, Esther itched for a change in her boring life. She was solicited and hired by a man she knew only as Sam Little. Her job was as a hired assassin, a position she never dreamed of ever accepting previously. But after hearing Sam Little’s explanation of why the job was so necessary, she bought into it wholeheartedly.

While working for Sam Little, Esther met and secretly married Bruno Martini, a work associate also in Little’s employ. Bruno was a cheerful man unlike any she had known previously. Esther considered him a truly great lover. Bruno was portly, of Italian descent, balding, and a child of immigrant parents. Esther was a thinly muscular redhead, taller than her husband by several inches, and had rarely laughed until she fell in love with Bruno. They were truly opposites in almost every way imaginable, but for whatever reason, they worked well together.
Bruno Martini met an untimely and unexpected death in a huge explosion and fire in the garage at their home. Esther was devastated beyond belief at her loss and cried nearly uncontrollably many times.

She vowed revenge for her husband’s death. Knowing Sam Little was at the heart of the reason for his death, he ultimately died at the hands of Kate Sullivan. It was retaliation for the contracted death of her husband, Bruno Martini.
Here is the order link:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Playing in the Dirt

Playing in the Dirt is a blog that my deceased daughter wrote over a period of several years. As I read it now and then, I see something new each time. Kris was a very intelligent woman (college English professor) who did everything with passion, including her love of people, and also her gardening. She was most passionate about the English language she loved to teach to her beloved students. Kris had a sense of humor that could not be denied; it was unique.

I urge you to log into her blog and give it a look. I believe you will be surprised at the many funny witticisms and her oblique way of seeing the world and the things in it. The more I read the things she wrote (besides just in this blog), the more I see what a beautiful person she was. I always knew it, but for whatever reason, it has come more into focus since she left us.

Kristine Meredith-Sulzberger

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Love Wish

The Love Wish is one of those stories a reader will read all the way through without stopping. Then after they are done, they may even dream about it. For sure, they will think about it very often. It is not a story one reads and forgets.

The theme of the story is all too familiar with most people who have ever had a similar type of medical situation, or has seen a loved one experience one like Linda Folger experiences in this tender and compelling love story. But this story is more than a just a simple love story; it is a romantic medical adventure, quite unlike any other you may have ever read. I urge you to experience the reading of this very different kind of compelling medical romantic adventure.

A similar medical event has happened in my own family, and I venture to say in yours as well. As you read Linda Folger's love story, you will relive events from your own story, or possibly that of a family member or close friend.

If you only read one really good book this entire year, let it be this one, The Love Wish. I don't think you will regret it.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Jenna McNabb, my Two-act Play

Most of the folks who read my books have no idea that I also wrote a play several years ago. It is a romantic drama called, Jenna McNabb. I actually wrote it during 2002, but then I had some ideas for writing more novels, so I placed the play on the back burner and wrote several of my novels over the next few years. I now have nineteen novels in publication.

My wife and I saw a two-act play recently at our local theater, a play which turned out to be pretty bad. Watching it made me wonder how good my play was compared to the one I just viewed. So I dug it out of the archives and read it again. I was quite surprised at how good it was. I decided I would contact one or two of our local theaters to see if they would be interested in staging my play. I contacted two via e-mail and one chose to not respond to my offer of sending them an e-mail copy to review, but the second one sent me a notice they might want to read it. They stated they would contact me soon. As I write this, I wait for that contact. Here is a teaser from the beginning of the play, Jenna McNabb.

Jenna McNabb
(Curtain opens)

THE SCENE: Jenna McNabb is meeting at her desk with a chemical salesman she has done business with previously, Charlie. After the handshake greeting, Jenna sits and motions for Charlie to take a seat. Charlie continues to stand for a brief moment.

CHARLIE: That sure is a sweet scene down there. (Charlie is commenting on the view of her cleavage)

JENNA: (Abruptly stands and points toward the door of her office) That’s it! Get out of here and don’t ever come back. I will never buy anything from you again. You will not speak to me in an offensive way like that ever again. Get out! Get out of here right now!

CHARLIE: But I didn’t mea….

JENNA: Get out, I said! I don't want to have to call security to remove you

(Charlie picks up his attaché case, and with his tail between his legs, exits Jenna’s office to the waiting room. He encounters a competitor, an old friend he’s had a drink with from time to time.)

STUART: Hey Charlie, what’s happening, old buddy?

CHARLIE: Hey Stu, it’s nice seeing you again. It’s been a long time. (He shakes hands with Stuart Williams)

STUART: You’re right—like a couple of years at least.

CHARLIE: Yeah. I think it was over in Indianapolis when we last crossed paths if I remember correctly.

STUART: That’s right, it was. We stayed at the same hotel and had dinner together that evening. So what about you being here? Did you make a big sale here today?

CHARLIE: Are you kidding me? There’s no way I could make a sale at this joint today. I ran head on into the wrath of Jenna McNabb.

STUART: The wrath of Jenna McNabb? What does that mean?

CHARLIE: Apparently you haven’t encountered the notorious Jenna McNabb yet, huh? She’s the chemicals buyer.

STUART: No, I don’t know her. It’s my first time here. Is she really difficult to deal with?

CHARLIE: She’s a witch on a broom if there ever was one; she just tossed me completely out of her office and told me to never come back. I probably lost the account for my company.

STUART: I’m sorry to hear that. I was looking forward to meeting her—hoping she’d be really nice. Since I’ve never been here before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I guess maybe I’m not so anxious to meet her now.

CHARLIE: Take my word for it; she’s a real honest-to-goodness witch. You’d better be on your best behavior. Are you the next one to see her?

STUART: Yes, I think so. I have a ten o’clock appointment.

CHARLIE: Well old buddy, all I can say is, I’m sorry you’re next. She’s in rare form today and I left her mad as hell, so good luck to you. You’ll need it, that’s for darn sure. I think it must be her time of the month, if you know what I mean.

STUART: Thanks, Charlie. That sure gives me a lot of confidence to walk in there with.

CHARLIE: Hey listen, Stu, I’m making a couple of other calls here in town before I leave. Any chance of getting together for a beer later after work?

STUART: Yeah, sure—love to. Where at?

CHARLIE: How about Howie’s place over on Elm Street—say about six? You know the place, right?

STUART: Yeah, I know it—best burgers in town. I stopped there last night to grab a quick bite before I went home.

CHARLIE: Right, so maybe a couple of beers and a burger. Six okay with you?

STUART: Six it is—see ya there.

CHARLIE: Hey listen Stu; I’m tellin’ ya the straight stuff; don’t take any crap from that witch in there. She’s a real tough nut to deal with, and she won’t put up with any monkey business. I found that out the hard way.
The play runs approximately two hours with scene changes and an intermission.


Friday, May 8, 2015

Capital Punishment - People Killing People

Capital Punishment
This article is one I researched and wrote for an assignment I once had. I just ran across it again after several years and found it to still be relevant, as well as interesting.

An Argument Against

There are a number of good arguments against carrying out a policy of killing people who commit serious crimes, up to and including the planned death of another person. I will speak to a few of the points that I believe are valid in today’s world.

The first point is that it is a proven fact that innocent people have died in state death chambers for crimes they did not commit. This fact was brought to the attention of the governor of Illinois a few years ago when DNA evidence clearly exonerated several people who were being held on death row in his state. The governor of Illinois ordered a moratorium on the use of the death penalty until it could be studied more. The death penalty remains suspended in Illinois at this time.

A second point concerns the fact that no studies have ever proven the death penalty is a deterrent for crime. In most cases, the highest number of violent crimes was committed in the states where the most executions are conducted.  

Another valid point is that in order to execute a person, the state is in the business of hiring a killer to kill the person. Someone shoots the bullet, trips the lever, inserts the needle, or drops the pellets in order to make the person die. Is this the type of business a state should be involved with—making killers out of people in the name of justice?

The last point is this: Have you ever known an important or very wealthy person to receive the death penalty and have it carried out against them? A large disproportion of the poor, disadvantaged and minorities are the ones who are put to death. The death penalty is racist, sexist, and it is very much more expensive than life in prison.

The death penalty in the U.S. is essentially a product of Southern culture. During 2002:

** 61 of the 71 executions were in Southern states.
** Outside the South, only three States (California, Ohio and Missouri) executed anyone.

From 1976, when executions were resumed, until January 2003, there have been 820 executions in the US. This includes 66 during 2001 and 71 in 2002. About two out of three executions are conducted in only five states: Texas, Virginia, Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma. Texas leads the other states in number of killings. In late 2002, there were about 3,697 prisoners sentenced to death in 37 state death rows, and 31 being held by the U.S. government and military. About 1.5% are women. 102 have been exonerated and freed since 1973, largely after having been proven innocent by DNA evidence.

Killing people in the name of justice is wrong!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My First Novels

I started writing novels as a way of trying to reduce some of the stresses in a busy life. Once I wrote the first one, I guess I would have to say I was hooked on writing. Even though I now have nineteen (19) romance and thriller novels in print, I continue to go back and read my first stories over and over again. I get a kick out of reading them even today. I believe if you will read them, you also would experience something like I feel when I read them. Here are my earlier works in no particular order:

His Soul Mate (a medical romance story)
By All Accounts (a mystery thriller)
Ten Minutes Past Two (a medical romance story)
The Love Wish (a medical romance story)
Kenyan Sunset (a compelling medical romance story)
The SWOB Affair (a Florida thriller)
The Vigilante God (a thriller)

These stories are all available at:

or at:

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Jessie's Passion Dream

Jessie's Passion Dream is a romance novel I wrote during the past year. I wrote the story because it had character elements of two people I once knew and admired several years ago. I blended the two characters into one story, but it is a really good story. Here is a brief synopsis:
Morgan Chase, a mystery woman with a past, captures the attention of Detective Dan Reynolds when she becomes the sole witness to a brutal slaying. As the investigation progresses, more and more details of Morgan's life emerges. Dan , who had previously lost the love of his life to death from cancer, realizes he is slowly falling in love with the mystery woman. Then an unexpected turn of events causes Dan to place his feelings for Morgan on the back burner. He falls back into his work, but with no real focus on where his life is headed. Dan decides he needs a vacation so he can focus on his future. Working with a travel agent, Dan takes the well deserved vacation and heads off to the sandy, world-famous beaches of the Daytona Beach, Florida area. While there enjoying his vacation, he receives a telephone call from his travel agent that changes his life dramatically. The travel agent, Jessie White, will be a woman who will be the reason Dan starts to focus his life in a totally new direction.

This story begins as a thriller, but as events unfold, the story makes the transition to a full-blown romance novel with an ending nobody could predict.

As I reread this story from beginning to end one last time before releasing it for publication, it dawned on me that this story had everything a really good story needed. It had intrigue, mystery, death, crime, passion, deceit, and above everything else, it contained a passionate love story. The story will make the reader smile, cry, laugh, and then cry again as it weaves its way to the final line of the last paragraph. This is not a standard kind of romance novel; this is a must-read kind of story.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Mailbox

As an assignment once when I was in a creative writing class in Florida, we were given a project to write an essay on a simple everyday thing that people took for granted It seemed simple enough, but as I started to write, it became apparent it would not be an easy task. Suddenly I was flooded with ideas about the importance of the common mailbox and how it affects people, so I chose that for my project. This is my story for that class.


A mailbox in today’s world is nearly as necessary as the food we must all consume in order to maintain our general health. Eating the right foods is essential for a person to be healthy and even happy, while eating the wrong foods may cause a person to be unhealthy, and often add to their unhappiness. The receipt of positive types of mail from a mailbox might have similar effects on a person as eating the right foods, just as the receipt of negative types of mail could have the same effect as eating the wrong types of food. It all depends on what that mysterious container has in it when we open it to retrieve whatever it holds.

A common mailbox is often the delivery instrument of messages in a variety of forms—messages that can have different effects on different people. There are those who live for the moment the mail is delivered. They hunger to hear from a loved one, a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, and sometimes even hearing from a total stranger will suffice. Consider the case of a lonely person with no living relatives; think what a note of encouragement from a friend might mean to them, or a birthday card, a Christmas card, or just a card of thanks or friendship. A short written message or a thoughtful card is often all that it takes to brighten the day of a lonely individual. It may cause them to beam with happiness and have a smile for everyone they meet the rest of the day. Even junk mail may cause a very lonely person to have a better day, simply because he or she received something in the mailbox with his or her name on it. That piece of junk mail may have made them feel like a real person again for a moment in time.

On the other hand, consider what else a mailbox might deliver to someone. For a person without the discipline to handle money well, a mailbox could bring daily grief in the form of past-due bills and statements of money owed. Grief may also come through the receipt of a letter expressing sadness due to the death of someone a person loves, perhaps a relative or a close friend. A letter from a lover announcing the end of a relationship can often be so sad that it could devastate a person.

A mailbox may also contain unexpected treasures—perhaps photos of grandchildren, a check from a surprise source, or perhaps even a letter from an attorney disclosing one has inherited an estate from a deceased relative. Sometimes after many years a child raised as an orphan or by adoptive parents will contact a natural parent by mail.  

There are people who live alone and cannot get out to do basic shopping for some of the necessities of life such as clothing or medication. For them, a catalog received in the mailbox is sometimes a godsend. For those who have serious health problems, a mailbox is often the instrument used to send off an order for medical supplies, and then to receive those necessary life-giving supplies. Yes, a mailbox is sometimes even a lifeline.

Inserting envelopes with checks in them into a mailbox is a common method of paying bills and sending gifts of money for weddings, graduations, birthdays and other occasions. Delivering a message of condolence, a thank you, a get-well message, and cards for nearly any occasion may be done using a mailbox.

A beautiful mailbox does not always bring beautiful and welcome news; it may bring terrible and heartbreaking news, while the most mundane of mailboxes may deliver a most welcome and beautiful message.

A mailbox may come in many styles and sizes, be comprised of basic metallic content, or plastic, or almost any kind of material imaginable. A mailbox may even be in non-physical form such as an Internet or e-mail mailbox where one can compose and send messages electronically to people all over the world in the blink of an eye, as well as receive the same.

In summary, a mailbox is sort of a dichotomy in that it can be viewed as both a positive instrument and a negative instrument at the same time—all depending on what type of mail content it delivers to an individual, or how that mail content is perceived.


Paul Meredith