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The Carriage Driver 4 – Billy Graham


“Are you here for the spectacle?” It was a small boy, near the carriage. “Hey, Mister.”

Griffin looked at the small boy. He recognized him. It was he himself, just a small boy. The last time he thought of this boy, he was sitting at his mother’s piano, playing the same three keys over and over again in an empty room.

This morning, three angels were in the new, unfamiliar stable when he arrived. They were industrious; the carriage was gleaming. It was as good a job as Griffin ever did. He did a brief visual inspection. They had missed nothing. He began to brush Nuelle. One of the angels came over to the other side, stretching her legs, she looked over at Griffin and smiled, then began to brush. Once Nuelle was prepared she was harnessed.

Nuelle drew the carriage down a green country lane. The grass intruded into the path. The sun was still low in the sky. The first of the trumpeters had arrived and changed into white robes. Griffin took a moment and looked at the name in the book.

He found himself with Nuelle and the carriage in front of a small country church in Palatka, Florida. Every inch was painted white. Griffin thought looking from the outside that the church could not hold more than a couple of dozen believers.

A young man emerged. He was wearing an inexpensive suit and solid shoes. Shoes that a man could walk the many miles of his life. A Bible was held firmly in one hand.

Griffin climbed down. He walked over to Nuelle and watched the man walk towards them. He was unassuming, but full of courage. He looked innocent, but strong. He looked a little lost, but had eyes that saw. “I have been sent for you,” Griffin told him as he stepped into the carriage.

Nuelle continued along the green pasture and turned along a path now lined with trumpeters who began to play as the carriage passed. William Franklin watched in awe. Once the trumpeters were past, crowds of people wearing white robes lined the path and poured over into the fields. An orchestra of music seemed to envelop the carriage.

“Who are all these people?” William Franklin asked Griffin.

“Mr. Graham, theses are the people you touched. Each was in need of spiritual guidance. They had fallen and you lifted them. They were hungry for a taste of faith and you filled their plates. When they suffered, you offered to share in their suffering. When lost in the dark, you shined a light.”

William Franklin sat in comfort in the back of the carriage, his heart was full. He looked at this sea of people. He saw on their faces, optimism and peace. “This is heaven?”

“I am here to take you anywhere that you wish. The crowds are here to honor your life’s work. You know more than most that the path is not straight. You know that the road can be long. You studied the word, and you studied humanity in your pursuits. You know that life is about who you are, what you have done and what you carried in your heart. Some are chosen. To answer your question, you are free to pick your own heaven. There is the traditional view, of being in the presence of the Lord. Many having this new freedom chose to continue to explore. There is no pain now. Those pains you have endured are conquered now. The nourishment that is sought, is spiritual, creative and flows from a well of endless bounty.”

William sat back, “So what do people do all day?” William’s eyes widened. Out near the horizon loomed a castle.

“The people offered a carriage ride have many choices. Some men at first want nothing more than a bamboo fishing pole and a pond filled with fish. They want to lay back and take a few deep breaths after living a hurried life. Some are anxious to find their family members or be reunited with their favorite pets. Remember, after centuries, a bureaucracy has sprung up to handle the who, what and where. Not to mention the staff required to answer prayers. I am sure you can imagine. Surprising what a kick many get from answering prayers.”

“Sounds a bit like work. A day job. After the hectic life I have lived, I am sure I do not want a day job. Working in a cubical has never been to my taste. Fishing for a few days might not be bad, but longer than that; no I don’t think that would work.”

“Sitting at the feet of the Lord, is out of the question, I suppose.”

“Now, directly at the feet could be an issue, but there are acres of clergy in fields in all directions from where he reigns. I know of one Sister, that gets dropped off on the outskirts and climbs over and maneuvers around all those there just to touch the hem of his robe. She has made two trips that I know of, probably more.”

Billy leaned forward. “She returned?”

Griffin thought a moment. He did not know if there was a big celebration planned or if there would be a reception waiting. He knew he was prominent. “Yes, she went back. Not many go back. Not right away.” Griffin sensed Nuelle’s pace slowed.

The man known as Billy Graham sat back again. He took a deep breath and said, “Take me back. But first does Nuelle know the way to that fishing hole that is filled with fish?”

Nuelle made a wide turn. The crowd parted and an “awe” escaped into the atmosphere. On a little side passage barely wide enough for the carriage she turned. In a clearing near a pond Griffin stopped and climbed down. He took off Nuelle’s harness and let her wander to the pond to drink the fresh water and graze. On a small dock the water lapped against the pilings. Two bamboo pools rested against a railing. Turtles swam up near the dock to investigate the arrivals. Catfish lazed in the shade beneath the wooden dock. The cattails swayed in gentle surrender to the mood.


Griffin walked over to Nuelle and took an apple from his pocket. He cut the apple and gave Nuelle half. He walked over and gave a piece to Billy. While Griffin walked over to the carriage to get the blanket from under the seat, Billy dropped a line into the water. The lazy afternoon drifted by as a breeze made the grass dance in the sunlight.

Griffin’s line ebbed and flowed not disturbing the fish.

Near dusk Billy returned to where Griffin had dozed off. “That was the nicest afternoon I have had in I don’t know how long.”

Griffin sat up Nuelle walked towards him and nuzzled him. The two walked to the front of the carriage and put things in order. “So, you have decided?”

“Yes, I know exactly where I want to go. There is this little church. It is the church where I delivered my first sermon. If you will take me there, I will see if the Pastor will allow me to begin again.”

Griffin extended his hand, young Billy Graham took it and for the second time today stepped inside. Nuelle followed the path. In no time the carriage stood in front of the little white church in Palatka, Florida. The man beloved by millions was ready to start sharing the Gospel to new generations.

Billy Graham's ♫ ♪ Just As I Am. ♫ ♪ By Artist Jeffery Jiles.

© 2018 mckbirdbks


mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on July 20, 2018:

Hello Shauna - Thank you. Billy Graham worked long and hard to get to his position of renown. He seemed to truly believe and set out to do good and do well. I saw no reason why, he would not want to 'do it again.' I appreciate the visit.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 20, 2018:

This is beautiful, Mike. I love that you had Billy Graham set a spell and go fishin' before he chose to return to his previous calling in life. I guess he got two chances and chose spreading The Word both times!

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on June 11, 2018:

Hello Chris - I admit, I don't know much about Billy Graham. He came as a recommendation for this series, as I struggle with new ideas to keep it going. I appreciate the visit.

Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on June 10, 2018:

Mike, You handled this one very well. I do believe if Billy had the opportunity to start over and do it all again, he would take it. This man was loved by many and misunderstood by even more. He was lumped in with the hypocrites, yet he made every effort to be a man of character, worthy of the public's trust.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 21, 2018:

Hello Audrey - Thank you. Billy Graham, helped many people see what he saw. That is a blessing in itself.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on May 20, 2018:

Thanks, Mike, for this marvelous tribute to Billy Graham. He lived an amazing life and through it all remained humble. I'm sure he would be pleased with what you've written.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 12, 2018:

Hello Ms Dora- Happy Mother's Day. Glad that you enjoyed my tribute. Billy Graham worked tirelessly at building his brand.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 12, 2018:

Good tribute to the memory of Billy Graham. You presented the impact of his ministry to the world, and a happy celebration as it ended. Many young men will continue his mission.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 07, 2018:

Hello Genna – Series four shows signs of strain. The small amount of research put into writing this showed that Mr. Graham was usually on the right side of the issues. Your quote shows this very well. His worldwide audience was built over decades, his reputation is well earned. And, yes, even the busiest among us, wants an afternoon fishing, or so I have heard.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 07, 2018:

This is an honorable tribute to an extraordinary man. I admired his tireless crusade against prejudice and poverty, and his belief in redemption and salvation.

He could be controversial at times for some regarding his viewpoints. For example, his support of the environment: "We know that God created the world, and it belongs to Him, not us. Because of this, we are only stewards or trustees of God’s creation, and we aren’t to abuse or neglect it." I don't think anyone can get much closer to God than this. :-)

I was especially touched by those rare moments when he could rest in the spirit of "Gone Fishin."

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 06, 2018:

Hello Gypsy - Thank you. I hope you are having a nice Sunday.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on May 06, 2018:

Really enjoyed this. Another great write in an awesome series.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 05, 2018:

Hello Eric - Thank you. Glad that you were able to stop by.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 05, 2018:

Thank you for another great piece of the series.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 05, 2018:

Hello Nikki Khan - Thank you, what a nice comment. Some people live amazing lives. Certainly those that have earned their ticket to a carriage ride have high expectations of what comes next. I appreciate your visit and your comment.

Nikki Khan from London on May 05, 2018:

Wow,, just amazing!

I loved reading it so much Mike, this is a great series of carriage journey towards death with Griffin and Nuelle.

You've described all his life very well starting from fishing ending towards Billy's first sermon to yet start again.

I've missed one or two I think Mike, would catch up certainly, and would wait for the next one.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hello Peg - Your comment makes me think that I may have gotten close to portraying the life of faith that Billy Graham walked. The song here is his signature song, he had it played at his gatherings. So, many find comfort in faith and Billy Graham showed them the path.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 04, 2018:

Mike, You've truly presented the humility and grace that Billy Graham lived throughout his life. He walked the talk.I love the idea that he took a moment for himself to go fishing before embarking on another career of serving God. And the reference to the woman of faith who touched the Lord's hem, well. that was quiet a beautiful image. Speaking of beautiful, that song not only brings wonderful memories of a simpler, kinder time in my past, it brings me to tears with its beauty. What a lovely version of the song.

"To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, I come, I come."

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hello Shyron - Thank you for the blessings. They are always appreciated. I am glad this piece of writing brought you a bit of peace. I am grateful that you mentioned that.

Sending you strength.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 04, 2018:

I love thee song "Just As I Am" beautifully done. All who love Billy should read this, I think it would bring Peace, It helped me. I think you understand what I am saying.

Many Blessings.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hello Verlie - Thank you. There are some people who live Big Lives. I doubt that any of them thought of themselves as big, they just did big things. I appreciate your visit.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on May 04, 2018:

Beautiful hymn too, takes me back in time.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on May 04, 2018:

Why do I feel teary eyed after reading this one Mike? You play heart strings with your little white church and your fishing pond. Lovely as always.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hello Bill - Billy Graham seemed to be on the right side of many social issues, as a measure of a man, that is very important. There does seem to be a number of hypocrites. As for the comments, I let too much time go between the end of series three and the beginning of this series. Now it is a surprise when I submit a story to hubpages.

mckbirdbks (author) from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hello mar - Thanks for the visit. I did not know much about Billy Graham before I started researching this piece. He devoted his time to a cause of his choosing which goes with the Edison expression about inspiration and perspiration.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 04, 2018:

I'm not much for organized religion. I've seen far too many preachers who were hypocrites. Having said that, Billy Graham seemed to be respected by many, and for that he has my respect as a man.

Where are all the comments? I'm late and there is only one comment ahead of me? What a loss for those who did not read this fine work.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 04, 2018:

Dear Mike,

Your muse is on fire. I know your other loyal readers will agree -

almost like I'm 'preaching to the choir'... (drum roll, please!!)

I think William Franklin had the right idea. How lovely to return to

one's first assignment, presumably with the experience of a lifetime.

Looking forward to seeing who is next on Griffin's list...that doesn't

sound right, but hoping you know what I mean :)

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