His Dad’s Tool Chest   6 comments

“Why did we have to come? He didn’t care about us when he was alive. Why should I care now?”

“Because, he was your father. Show some respect. He deserves that much.”

“Why? He left us! He didn’t want us. I want to go home.”

“Ben, we can’t. These people want to meet us. They were…are friends of his.”

“Please, mom. Can we just leave after the service?” He swiped a sleeve to his moist eyes.

“I know this is hard for you. It is for me, too. But, we have to face what is, and…go on, like we’ve been doing all these years. It will be alright.” She gave him a tight squeeze. “I promise.”

They were stopped by a man as they headed back to the car after the graveside service.

“Excuse me. Are you Ben? And, you are Shauna, I presume?” He smiled and shook their hands. “My name is Edward Jennings. I was a friend of your father’s. I handled some of his legal matters for him, and he left some things he wanted you to have. Here’s my card. If you will give me a call before you leave town we’ll set up an appointment to go over his will, and discuss some things with you both. We can’t do that here. Would that be alright?”

Shauna looked at Ben, then nodded. “Sure. That will be fine. Thank you.”

The next day they were shown into an office at, ‘Jennings, Croft and Perry’, Attorneys at Law.

Ed greeted them, directed them to chairs, then brought out a large dark wooden chest. “Ben, your father wanted you to have this. It opens up with this key.”

Ben took the key handed him and turned the lock. The chest had the initials, B.A.C. Sr. carved into the front. The lid swung back easily on its hinges revealing the contents inside.

Ben went through the chest one item at a time, things he’d never seen before, tools of some kind, turning them over in his hands.

“Those are carving tools, Ben. He took up the craft after starting in construction and made this chest. He was quite good at it, actually.”

There were some pictures, a few of Ben when he was a baby, with his mother, then as a toddler, but none of Ben past the age of four. He read the notes written on the back. There were envelopes with some money and old coins, another set of keys, and a bible with scriptures written on the inside pages. He opened it up and found a quote, “Whatever worth building in life is only as good as its foundation.”

“What does this key go to?” Ben asked.

“It belongs to a safe deposit box in you and your mother’s name. I have another set here I will be giving you and your mother also. It is a set of house keys, to his house, also left in your names.” Ed replied, smiling at them both.

Ben looked over at his mom, noting the look of surprise and shock on her face.

He then opened a sealed envelope marked, “Private; to Benjamin Alexander Crowley Jr.,” and withdrew a single letter which he read silently to himself.

    “Ben, I have no adequate words to tell you how sorry I am for leaving you and your mother. I wanted only to hold you, close to my heart, but was afraid, too ashamed to show myself after being gone all those years. When you were very small I had a gambling debt and owed some people a lot of money. I did a lot of awful things back then, drank too much, wasted time and money on all the wrong things. The people I hung around with were wild, not the kind of friends anyone should have. So, to spare you both I just took off. I thought if I could get a decent job, clean up my act, pay off my debts, and get my head on straight, I would come home. But, I was afraid. Afraid I would not be welcomed. I regret all the things I did, but my biggest regret was leaving you both to struggle alone through the years, without me. Please forgive me. It is all I ask. What I want you to know above all else is that I love you and your mother. I always have. Treasure every moment you have with her and grow up to be the kind of man I wasn’t, so you won’t live with regrets. I’ve paid off my debts and owe no one anything anymore, except to you and your mother what I stole; the time and years wasted when I wasn’t there.”

Ben looked up at Ed and asked, “What did my father do, on his job?”

“He worked for a company that built tall buildings, skyscrapers.”

“How did he die?”

“They were working on a construction site project when the scaffolding gave way, and collapsed. He was crushed underneath.”

A year later, on Father’s Day Ben and his mother stood at the grave site of Benjamin Alexander Crowley, Sr., each bringing their gifts; a bouquet of fresh flowers from the garden at their house, the one now belonging to them, and a small wooden cross Ben hand carved with his father’s tools.

Ben had no special words to say to fit the occasion. He had no memories of Father’s Day times spent with his dad. All he had was the “now moment” his mother called them.

“Thanks Dad.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there,

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Whispering palms   Leave a comment

Kalapaki Beach, Kauai Island, Hawaii, April 2017, photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

So light the touch on my cheek I feel

  a breath of sweet air from the cocoanut palms,

their branches waving like blades of grass;

 ‘Trade winds’ that blow across the island

push away the moist blanket of settling heat,

 a hovering squall of humidity

bringing a welcomed gust from off the sea,

 and the refreshing cool breeze that blows through this place

 brushes past me like a whispering fan on my face.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

 

If it be but just a trace…   2 comments


If it be but just a trace I leave in this world,

not a footprint for some to find or follow,

if it be but just an impression, my words or deeds

said or done once upon a time or place,

or even just a hope it be remembered today,

or maybe even tomorrow,

it is enough. I’ll not seek to strive for more,

for it may be just a trace

that impacts another’s life, or just tucked inside their heart.

Then it will be a life well lived,

not one gone with remorse or regret,

for that trace, I leave behind

is enough because it’s mine.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

This post was done for the Daily Post word prompt. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trace/


Pearl Harbor – USS Arizona Memorial – a shrine to lives lost during the attack, Dec. 7, 1941   Leave a comment

While on a recent trip to Hawaii we visited the memorial site of the USS Arizona battleship, bombed and sunk off the coast of Honolulu, December 7,  1941. It lay entombed in the bottom of the sea along with other sunken ships when the harbor came under a surprise attack early that Sunday morning by the Japanese, and our country entered the war, historically known as World War II. The memorial site is a very solemn, subdued place of quiet reflection. We took the boat over to the memorial site of the USS Arizona and wondered what it was like to live through that time as a U.S. soldier or sailor called up to serve in a war that nearly destroyed all of our Pacific fleet, one that spread for miles off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii. As our boat drew closer to the site of the memorial we could see a film of oil that never dissipates, but settles in a pool at the top of the gun turret. There were over 1,000 men alone who lost their lives on the Arizona battleship. Below are pictures of the ship, the memorial site and the marble wall with all the engraved names of the lost that went down with the Arizona.

The memorial to the USS Arizona battleship as seen from the shoreline.

A portion of the USS Arizona battleship seen above the waterline, believed to be the gun turret. The remainder of the ship sits below the waterline, still in tact. It remains that way more than 70 years after the attack, a shrine to all those lost.

The marble wall inside the memorial with over 1,000 names of all the men lost on the sinking of the battleship, USS Arizona.

 

There are few survivors of World War II left to tell their stories. Most are now gone. But, their stories are documented, captured on film and video, told and retold to the many visitors to Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii. They are written into the pages of history like the lives lost that experienced the horror.

If you are a military veteran or serving in the military now, or a family member of one I hope your Memorial Day holiday will be blessed, and that you will have family and friends to celebrate it with you. Thank you for your service. We will never forget and can never repay you for what you have done in the service of your/our country.

As we are perhaps in maybe the greatest of all battles of historic times, to win the fight against radicalized Islamic terrorists, and those who want to destroy us with their terror and carnage we can only pray and continue on with the fight, to eradicate the evil that conspires to destroy all that we have, and are about and hope for a better tomorrow, and a better world, that one day we will all live in peace and harmony together, without fear.

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours.

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Footnotes: For more information on the USS Arizona memorial you can find it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Arizona_Memorial

Hallowed treasure

 

 

 

The captain shut off the engine and steered the boat in, closer to the caves deep under the volcanic mountains off Kauai’s Na Pali coast. The low tide sent rippling waves to the shoreline just feet from where the caves opened up. What could not be seen beyond the cavernous entrance could only be imagined as the site opened up to what looked like a mysterious, enchanted place to explore. The boat drifted, rocking gently on a calm sea. Sunrays burst through the opening enveloped by the bright light.

I stood near the bow of the boat snapping pictures, awed by the beauty of these volcanic mountains with their ridges and crevices revealing the effects of time and erosion from the lava flows after eruptions that now were full of vegetation and growth. Older generations of native Hawaiians believe these mountains to be hallowed, sacred places blessed by the gods of their ancestors. At one stop during our cruise our captain, himself a native Hawaiian blew loud notes from a conch shell pointed towards a small inhabited Hawaiian natives’ island where they alone occupy, and no visitors or tourists are ever allowed.

I let my mind and imagination wander as I watched and listened for any movement or sound expecting to see pirates bursting on the scene with drawn swords and guns. Native Hawaiians believed in the folklore and stories told by their ancestors with a deep reverent respect for their culture and historic accounts of the island’s beginnings and inhabitants believing them to be blessed by the gods. Was it just folklore or were there really ghosts that lurked and lived in the hallowed spaces deep in the volcanic mountains of Kauai? Even the fish seemed to scatter from the shallow water that was as blue as a sapphire and as clear as cut crystal. Did they fear a marauding band of pirates’ spears? What was it like here when the first island inhabitants came to shore with little else but the fish, wild boar, deer and goats to coexist with?

I tried to imagine a scene from Walt Disney’s, Pirates of the Caribbean when learning the movie was shot here at this site. I loved the movie. I remembered the adventure ride at Disneyland way back in the sixties when we lived in Los Angeles, and riding the boat through the water canal, never dreaming of its potential possibilities or future. Now, on this adventure to the site of the movie I thought, What incredible beauty! What a journey, cruising the waters, discovering this treasure on Jack Sparrow’s deep blue sea.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

A tribute to Mothers, everywhere

A favorite photo taken last year on Mother’s Day of me with my girls, Stephanie on the left and Erika on the right.

TRIBUTE TO A MOTHER

Faith that withstood the shocks of toil and time;

Hope that defied despair;

Patience that conquered care;

And loyalty, whose courage was sublime;

The great deep heart that was a home for all –

Just, eloquent, and strong

In protest against wrong;

Wide charity, that knew no sin, no fall;

The Spartan spirit that made life so grand,

Mating poor daily needs

With high, heroic deeds,

That wrested happiness from Fate’s hard hand.

______________

Louisa May Alcott 

These are not my words, but those of Louisa May Alcott, who authored the book, Little Women, a favorite of mine. But as a mother and grandmother I can relate to her words and thoughts as I think back on my years raising my now grown girls. And now, as a grandmother I am happy and blessed to have opportunity to help and offer much in the raising of my grandchildren as well. The one thing that I feel is the most vital and essential to raising children in this world today, as in the past, is a strong faith in God, and the courage it takes to stand strong and unwavering. As parents we can only do our best. Yet we make mistakes, sometimes many of them, but when I look back at the way my girls have raised their children and my youngest still in the process of doing so I am rewarded in knowing that not only did I give it my best, but it paid off and I am blessed and proud to have daughters who reflect the same values I stood for and taught them as a mother.

I want to wish every mother and grandmother out there today, a Happy Mother’s Day. God bless you. It is indeed the greatest and most challenging of all jobs but worth every moment. Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted May 13, 2017 by Joyce in Poems, poetry

Tagged with , , ,

Reflecting back

This photo was taken from the boat’s stern while on a sunset cruise off the coast of Kaua’i Island, Hawaii while on a recent trip.

The sun goes down on

Kauai’s deep turquoise sea;

a peach colored sky

     reflecting soft images

on the breaking water’s tide

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Posted for The Daily Post https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/reflecting/

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