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


Monday, April 20, 2015

The Rocking Chair Caper

Way back in about 1974 or 1975, I was a supervisor of an off-highway truck assembly line at Caterpillar in Decatur, Illinois. My day usually ended about 4:00 in the afternoon. I had a large family of six children at the time, one of which was my very young son, Paul Jr. On this particular day as I entered the house, I was greeted with the news that my young son Paul had been rescued by the Decatur Fire Department. He had somehow managed to get his head stuck between the front rungs of our old wooden rocking chair in the living room. After frantic attempts to get Paul unstuck, there apparently was no other option than to call the Decatur Fire Department.

Once the firemen saw the problem, they immediately set to work to free my son's head, but all attempts seemed futile. Then one of them said to my wife, "I think we will have to cut the rung out to free his head." That would have ruined the chair. Then another of the firefighters said, "Wait, I have an idea." He rushed out to the fire truck and returned with a can of STP. He smeared it on the sides of young Paul's head and in short order he was free from the rocking chair with no damage to the chair or to Paul's head. I was happy to hear the news, so I laughed and went about my business.

The following morning, I went to work at Caterpillar. I was immediately greeted by the jeers of some of my assembly staff who had read the accounts of the rocking chair caper in the local morning newspaper. One asked me, "Paul, how in the heck did you get your head stuck in the rocking chair?" I knew immediately that he and several others thought it was my head that was stuck in the rocker, so my attempts to tell them otherwise fell on deaf ears. "I tried to explain, "That was my two-year-old son Paul. He has the same name as me."

"Yeah, yeah, a likely story," one of my assemblers said. Whether they ever believed me or not, I was never sure. But it caused quite a laugh to start that day. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Lesson Learned

A Lesson Learned

A True Story by
Paul R. Meredith

I saw a young boy, maybe eleven or twelve years old, steal a candy bar in Walgreens in Decatur the other day as he quickly walked out of the store with a person I assumed to be his mother. He was too quickly gone before I had a chance to say anything to him or his mother, but secretly I hoped the same thing could happen to him that happened to me many years ago.

I thank the Lord for the day he introduced me to the manager of a store in Decatur in 1944. While I wasn’t too thrilled at the time, I have since learned that the man taught me a lesson of life that has lasted me all these years.

Being nine years old, I was learning new things every single day, some good and some not so good. I met a new friend that had moved into my neighborhood, a boy named Gene. He was a year older than me. Gene’s mother and father were divorced and he lived with his mother. She was a woman who worked downtown in an office and was gone from the house all day, leaving Gene and his twin brother to have the run of the house and the entire neighborhood. Gene had a mean streak, but he seemed nice to me.

One day Gene asked me to ride downtown with him on our bikes and look around in the stores. Mom would never allow me to do this, but Gene made it sound like fun. He explained that there was no need to tell my mom what we planned to do. Being a na├»ve young kid, I felt I could trust Gene’s advice. I thought he knew what was best since he was older, so we rode downtown. In those days downtown Decatur was a busy place. Everybody shopped there because there were no shopping malls. They hadn’t been invented yet, or at least they hadn’t come to little old Decatur, Illinois.

The first store we went into was the Woolworth 5 & 10 on North Water Street. I had only been there a few times with either Mom or Grandma Meredith. We parked our bikes on the sidewalk out front. Gene told me, “Just follow me. Do everything that I do inside the store. We’ll get us some neat stuff.”

“But I don’t have any money,” I told Gene.

“That’s no problem, we can still get some really good stuff. I’ll show you how.” So I followed Gene inside and down the main aisle toward the center of the very busy store. As we approached the candy cases, I saw Gene reach inside one of the candy cases and grab a candy Easter egg. I followed about five paces behind him and did the same as him. Just as I withdrew my hand with a red Easter egg in it, a man grabbed my arm, scaring the heck out of me. I saw Gene run out of the store.

“Hey there, Sonny Boy, what are you stealing there?” he barked at me.

 “N, n, nothin,” I nervously responded. I was shaking in my tennis shoes.

 “Is that right? What is this little item in your hand then?”

 I looked down and saw the red Easter egg, the color melting off on my sweaty little hand. “It’s an Easter egg,” I told him.

“How much did you pay for it?” he asked.

“I don’t have any money,” I told the man. I started crying a little bit because I was so scared. The man was really big.

“Come with me, kid,” he said as he pulled me along by the arm. I looked around as he lead me somewhere toward the rear of the building. I looked around towards the outside front but I couldn’t see my friend Gene anywhere. I felt like he had deserted me when I needed him. The man took me to the back and up some stairs to his office and sat me on a stool against the wall. He said to his secretary, “Mildred, look what I brought us, a little thief.”

The lady just looked at me with a sad look, as if I was the scourge of the earth, or maybe even something worse. She pursed her lips like she was mad at me. Then the man told me, “I have to call the police and also your parents. What’s your phone number at home?”

I started to plead for my life. “No, mister, please don’t call my mom. I’ll get some money and pay for the Easter egg, I promise.”

"Your parents and the police need to know you are a criminal, and as for the money, no, you would probably just go out and steal that too,” he said, “so I have to let them all know why you are going to jail.”

As I continued to cry I said, “Please, I don’t want to go to jail. I’m not a criminal. I’m a good boy.”

“If I don’t call your mother or the police, the only thing left for me to do is something you won’t like. But first I need a promise that you will never steal anything, not ever again,” the man said.

“Yes sir, I promise I will never steal anything again, I really promise. Can I please go home now?”

“No, not yet. Here is what I have to do, just to be safe,” he said. “I have to have my secretary Mildred take your picture. Do you agree to that?”

“Yes, but why do you need to take my picture?”

“So when we have it developed we can put it on our bulletin board so all our employees will know you are a thief if we ever see you in our store again.”

“Please sir, I promise I will never come in this store again. I promise.”

“Oh, you can come in, but you just need to know that every employee we have will be watching you very closely. And not only that, but look at this,” he said. He pointed to two long and narrow rectangular windows cut in the front of his office. “I can see everything that goes on in my store from up high here.”

Mildred pulled a small camera from her desk and asked me sit still. She told me to look at her and she snapped my picture.

“There, the manager said, “we will get the picture developed and make a lot of copies so we can send one to each of the other store managers downtown here, as well as some that are not downtown. That way they will all put it on their bulletin boards and notify their store employees to always be sure to keep an eye out for you when you go into their stores.”

I was still wiping tears from my eyes as I asked the manager, “Can I please go home now? I need to get home so my mom won’t be mad at me. I have to feed the chickens.”

“Yes, you can go home now, but first, do we have an agreement now about what we discussed?”

“Yes, sir, I agree,” I eagerly said. I’m sure I would have agreed to anything at that moment.

“Good, then let’s shake on our agreement.” He stuck out his big old hand and I placed my much smaller hand in his and we shook. He then told me to go on home before my mother missed me. “Don’t forget your promise to me either,” he said as I left his office.

I ran out of that store and got on my bike and rode home as fast as I could peddle. I wondered if the manager had lied to me and was just now calling my mom. I just knew I would be in big trouble if he did call her.

As soon as I dropped my bike in the yard and ran in the house, Mom asked me, “Did you feed the chickens yet, Sonny?”

“No Mom, but I am going out to do it right now,” I said. I knew at that moment the manager had not called my mom. It was a huge relief to me, and I almost felt my legs were about to buckle from beneath me. I went straight out to feed our nearly two hundred chickens. I still wondered if the man would call, so every time the phone would ring, and it rang a lot because we were on a twelve-party line, I would get nervous all over again. But the call never came.

I still saw Gene and his brother in the area, and I still played baseball and other games in the neighborhood with them and the other boys, but I never ever followed their lead on anything the rest of the time I lived near them. I developed other and better relationships with kids from our church.

I was twelve when it finally dawned on me one Sunday at church, as the preacher was preaching a sermon on the ten commandments from the Bible, especially the one that says, “Thou shalt not steal,” that the manager of that Woolworth dime store gave me one of the most important lessons of my life. When the preacher spoke on that topic, I thought that maybe I was going to hell because I had broken that very important commandment. The thought of hell scared me. I went to the altar at the conclusion of the service and offered myself to the Lord as his servant. I was baptized a few days later.

From that ‘Easter egg’ moment at the age of nine, I never had the urge to steal another thing the rest of my life. That lesson remains as one of the most powerful lessons I ever learned. I have thought about that manager so many times down through the years and I always smiled each time as I remembered just how powerful his effect was on such a young boy. Rather than the man being a mean man, as I thought back then, I eventually realized what a great man he truly was. I wished I could tell him how important he was in my life.

I know now, as I first realized when I was around seventeen or so, that there was never any picture taken of me. That camera was empty as it could be. I also wondered then just how many kids had experienced the same thing with that manager that I did. I smiled as I wondered how many kids he scared straight, how many phony pictures Mildred had snapped.

Many years later, I still had never gone back into that store. I’m sure it was just a psychological effect I still carried. Then one day I read in the newspaper that the store would soon be closing. That article made me wonder if that same manager was still in that store. I decided I should go in the store and see if he was still there. I think I wanted to thank him after all the years that had passed, if he was still the store manager.

As I entered the store for the first time since that traumatic episode when I was nine, it still made me a little bit nervous. I knew there was never a picture of me on the bulletin board, and yet it still made the nervous perspiration pop out on my brow.

I remembered the manager’s name was Mr. Johnson, a name I probably would never forget, so I asked an employee in the front of the store if Mr. Johnson was still the manager. She told me he had retired a few years previously. I thanked the nice lady, but before I left the store, I looked back toward the rear and up to the office. Those two narrow peepholes were still there.

That was the one and only time I was ever in the store since I grabbed that Easter egg, which by the way, I never got to eat.

So, Mr. Johnson, wherever you are, may God bless you for what you did for this man as a kid so long ago. I will think of you often.

The End
Paul R. Meredith

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

His Soul Mate-Book of the Day

Book of the Day--His Soul Mate.

This is a stirring and compelling medical romance novel.

Soul Mate is a stirring and compelling love story of two people brought together by sheer happenstance. The very first moment that Ellen Meacham laid eyes on Wayne Granger as they passed each other on the sidewalk, she knew she would have to meet him again on her own terms. Fate brought the two people together later in a most unusual way, and a love affair slowly started to bloom, a love affair that at first was timid, then torrid, and finally it blossomed into the deep and caring love each had always hoped to find someday. Wayne Granger quickly realized that Ellen was the woman he always wanted and had to have. She was the one and only soul mate of his life.
Ellen Meacham soon discovers she has a medical condition just as she is starting to feel the deep love she has for Wayne reach a critical point. She has decisions to make that will affect the lives of both people, and she worries about making the correct decisions. The poignant feelings shared by the two people during this trying period of medical concern will have the reader on the edge of his/her seat from the early chapters to the final sentence of the last chapter.

The moment in time that Ellen Meacham and Wayne Granger shared together was so happy and fulfilling that it could only end one way.

The torrid love story is so compelling and powerful it has the reader emotionally involved, as if on a roller coaster, throughout the story right up to the very end.