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The Carriage Driver³ - The Song in My Head

Updated on May 8, 2017

Saint Cecilia hurriedly set up chairs for the concert. She could not remember when the last time she was this excited about an arrival. She selected the orchestra from the thousands on the list of celestial players. The volunteer list seemed endless.

There were musical scores to select. The details seemed overwhelming. Hearts palpitated as the news spread throughout the kingdom. Extraterrestrial anticipation and cosmic excitement prevailed.

On earth, as it is in heaven was not holding true. A cloud hovered over the family that had for years been held together by the sheer force of strength of Aunt Mary. Her gravitational forces held the children and great grandchildren of her brothers and sisters through many of the trials families face as they trudge forward through the wilderness of life. Her faith consoled many along their paths. Her energy carried many through the hail storms and fierce winds that blew.

She told every child and grandchild that they were her favorite and she meant it. At ninety it took the widest focal lens to get her family in one photograph. Her children and grandchildren numbered in the forties. The satellite family members added another sixty. The only traditions, these members shared were held together by her wisdom and willpower. Where other families were scattered and alone, her family clung together.

St. Michael searched for Uncle Joe. He drew the worst job in the kingdom, as those World War two pilots were the most adventurous of all those that arrived. They could be anywhere throughout the many corners of the galaxies. His only hope was to follow the laughter and squealing of young women that the pilots entertained with their stories and good nature.

Every golden pathway illuminated the way along Bode’s Galaxy through Cosmos Redshift 7. Announcements would be hung from every lamppost to aid the search and herald the arrival.

Of course, her brothers, Rocky, Johnny, Lou, and Michael would be at the guests of honor box along with her sister Jenny. Her parents were proud. Ninety years is a long time to be proud. The plush red velvet and golden trim would be rolled out for the occasion.

There was talk of a guest pass for Mary’s sister Antoinette. That idea got vetoed at the highest level. Her son Gary grumbled at the invitation when he read black tie. He just was not a black tie guy. But he would do it.

The hospital was like a mob scene. Mary’s sons and daughter, of course, were constant figures. Their children flew in from Chicago and Indianapolis, Saint Augustine and St. Paul. The women of the family gave orders to the staff. They saw to Mary’s every need. Every test known to medical science was applied.

The prosperous son paid the staff to keep hopping. The staff began to feel like labors at a luxury hotel during her stay.

Captain Griffin Chaffey stepped out of his back door and walked towards the barn. When he glanced up a young man was leaning against the side of his barn. His khaki slacks sported a sharp crease. There were silver wings pinned above his shirt pocket. He wore a worn leather jacket and Flyer's cap. He wore a smile that would light up the night sky.

Next to him stood a worn out St. Michael. He exuded that weary traveler look about him. “He’s all yours,” was all he said, and then he went on vacation.

Joe stood up and walked toward Griffin. He held out his hand, “Captain Joe; you probably don’t remember me.”

“Captain Chaffey.” Griffin and Joe shook hands.

The two men walked into the barn. Griffin fed Nuelle and picked up her brush and began to give her her morning brushing.

“You two been together long,” Joe asked.

“Since we fell together in the Battle of Bloody Lane, Antietam. What about you?”

“Me? I survived World War II. I had a choice of bodies and lifestyles when I got my ticket, and I choose this period of my life. Our marriage lasted fifty years. I have not seen Mary for twenty years. The truth is, I have no recall from the last seven years on earth. I heard, through many prayers, that it was a tough time. Well, the family thought it might be nice if I was there to greet her.”

Griffin continued brushing Nuelle.

“She’s beautiful. What’s her name?”

“Nuelle. She and I have been transporting people up the path since the day an angel came to me. I wouldn’t leave her or my men that died that day. Of course, they did not all pass questioning at their tribunal.” Griffin stopped brushing, found an apple and cut it into four pieces. He offed Joe a piece. Then he fed the apple to Nuelle.

“Are you from around here?”

“They found me telling the biggest whoppers I could think of to three angels who had the travel bug and were experiencing the sights and sounds found in the farthest galaxies. That’s why that St. Michael fellow was so tired when he got here. We kept him up all night.” Joe had forgotten the question. He walked to the barn door and looked around. Then he studied the sky. He returned to Griffin and his work. “Where are we?”

Griffin stopped again. “I have not been here long. I am not exactly sure where we are. There are not very many people around. The ones I have transported so far have been very interesting.”

Joe scratched his chin, “You know; this looks like where I met Mary. Oh, that was years ago. There were Magnolia trees and fireflies. All the young men were marching off to war. Things were changing fast for all the young women as their men were being sent off to all parts of the globe. No one knew what the future would be. I proposed to her in a place just like this. This must be the place. That is the only thing that makes any sense. Maybe that is why you are here.”

Griffin returned the brush to its place and picked up a cloth and started wiping down the carriage. Joe found a rag and began to help. A thought occurred to Griffin. He reached in under the seat and picked up the book. He turned to the last page. It was blank. He knew better than question. He’d been around long enough, he knew of few mistakes. He knew they would not drag out St. Michael if this wasn’t something big. Something universal, something earth changing.

“Do you think you would recognize the place you proposed?”

“I don’t know; it has been seventy years. There was a grove of magnolias. There was a white steeple visible above the tree line. The sound of a nearby brook added a pleasant background. We were near a little wooden arched bridge. The moonlight made the leaves sparkle. I think if she is coming here that would be where she would expect to meet us.”

Nuelle knew the place that Joe described. She walked over to the carriage and waited for the two men to catch up with her thinking. Once hitched to the carriage, Joe climbed into the back unassisted.

Griffin climbed in and gave Nuelle her rein. She went down through a tree covered lane. The fireflies were out in force. The scent of magnolia was in the air. The noise from the turning of the wheels added to the scene.

They stopped at the bridge. Joe put his foot against the rail along the back of the front seat. Griffin put his foot on the ridge along the front of the carriage. The two men talked about their time at war. They all waited.

In a few minutes, Joe put his foot down. “Did I tell you how stubborn she is? If she had gone to war, and I stayed home the war would have been over in half the time. This could take a while.”

Source

Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World

Whitney Houston - I Will Always Love You

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    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 5 months ago from Hereford, AZ

      Mary sounds like quite a character. I have known a few of these 'forces of nature'. I think my daughter is one of them. Too stubborn to give up the ghost. Sorry, my daughter is a punster and it rubs off sometimes.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Becky - Yes, 'force of nature' describes Mary very well. Good to know that your daughter has this trait. The world needs more forces of nature. Thanks for visiting. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 5 months ago from Texas

      This one is different from others in this series I have read. I kind of like the idea of fireflies and a bridge. Very romantic.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 5 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I think every family had an Aunt Mary, I know I did. Joe made the story fun to read and his love for Mary shinned through. I've been listening to Whitney, she's the greatest. I loved your story...

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello shanmarie. This story is different. As the series goes on, I could sense a real pattern develop each week. This is my attempt to keep the series going without boring the few readers that show up. I appreciate your visit.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ruby. Thank you. Our family indeed has an Aunt Mary. She just spent seven days in the hospital. And is now home again. She's ninety and still tough. Thanks for your visit today.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 months ago from Jeffersonville PA

      I'm glad Aunt Mary is keeping Joe waiting - even at 90 years of age, it's a woman's prerogative.

      Mike, I'm glad your Aunt Mary is home in time for the holidays and feeling much better.

      Oh Ruby, I'll have to tell you all about my Aunt Mary one day...quite contrary, I would say ;)

      Both of these songs are favorites - listening now.

      Happy Friday. Hugs, mar

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon 5 months ago from Texas

      You guys have me thinking of Brad Paisley's "Waiting On a Woman." That song would fit this hub perfectly. Right down to waiting on her in Heaven.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 5 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Another classic, Mike. well done as always.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 5 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I loved your description of "Aunt Mary" and how she held the family together " through the wilderness of life. Her faith consoled many along their paths. Her energy carried many through the hail storms and fierce winds that blew." A stunning metaphor. I am speechless over the poignant beauty of this story. One of the best Christmas presents we could hope for is the gift of your creative, talented mind. That Armstrong tune is one of my all-time favorites. Thank you.

      I'm pleased to hear your Aunt Mary is home and feeling better.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I have known a few Marys in my lifestime, and always marveled at their ability to powerfully affect those around them. That's not me. I'm like a quiet stream, slowly wearing down the rocks, smoothing them over time....but a part of me wishes I was like this character. :) Of course, it goes without saying, I loved this.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello mar - Selfishly I am glad Uncle Joe is still waiting. He had one of those million dollar smiles, so I know he is happy with the wait. Glad you liked the songs. I am getting better at my song selections.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi shanmarie - I added Brad Paisley's "Waiting On a Woman." It does capture the essence. Thanks.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello John - Thanks, I appreciate that. Hope your preparation for the season is going well.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Genna. I am sure you and Aunt Mary would have been fast friends. Your comment is so rich in the spirit of the season. I thank you for that. The song selections were hung by the chimney with care, as they say. May your holiday bring you joy. As always, I appreciate your visit.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hi Bill. Isn't it great to know that there are people out there that can carry their whole families along. I guess the roll of a coach comes to mind. I too lack that power to affect those around me. Though from time to time I try. I appreciate your kind comment.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 months ago from South Africa

      Beautiful , vivid story, beautiful pictures, beautiful songs! Thank you, Mike!

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Martie. Thank you. These stories get more difficult to write, the closer they hit to home.

      I appreciate your continued support.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 5 months ago from Dallas, Texas

      The imagery and the music really enhanced the vivid scenery you described. The line, "At ninety it took the widest focal lens to get her family in one photograph," reminded me so much of Mom's 90th birthday celebration with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren flying in from everywhere on the planet. You've done it again, Mike, charmed your readers with another memorable and nostalgic tale.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Peg - I think the term for the photograph necessary to fit her family and their children is panoramic. They strike me as a huge success with their family obligations and closeness. It is something I don't see everywhere.

      I am so glad, that your family shares that same spirit as Mary's and Joe's. You have always been someone I thought, 'got it right.'

      Thanks for staying with this series, as the number 3 appears in the title. I think there are 8 or 9 stories already in this third series.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 5 months ago from Texas

      I love that we women can keep the men waiting and the men not knowing what to expect.

      Fantastic story as usual, fantastic choice of songs, although Whitney did a good job, I prefer the original singer/writer Dolly Parton for I will always love you.

      Blessings always

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Shy - That whole 'wait for me' thing is widespread. Now, that you mention it, I think I just recently used the Dolly Parton version of this song. It must have some unclear meaning to me.

      Thanks for the visit.

      I'll publish another The carriage Driver 3 on Friday.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 months ago from Central Florida

      I love this story, Mike. Mary had no control over the circumstances that caused her and Joe's separation. Now the ball is in her court and she's going to play as she sees it.

      The artwork in this episode is breathtaking. Really adds to the story.

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Sha - Happy Saturday. i appreciate the compliment. Yes, Mary may still have work to do right her on this plain. The pictures were especially selected, needed this one to be just right.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 months ago from Central Florida

      Mike, over here in Florida it's still Friday! LOL

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 5 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Sha - It can't be, I only cook breakfast on Saturday, and I just finished the dishes. I guess, I want this week to be done. Thanks for the smile.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 weeks ago from SW England

      Charming, Mike! You certainly give a sense of Mary's strength of character. I had a grandmother a bit like that and she was a Mary. Very practical and down to earth.

      Having read your comments so far, I have to say that your stories are NEVER boring. Far from it. This is as wonderful as all the rest, but then you know I'm a fan!

      Ann

    • mckbirdbks profile image
      Author

      mckbirdbks 2 weeks ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

      Hello Ann – Thank you. Aunt Mary is a treasure, everyone in the extended family has been helped, coached and pushed in the right direction at one time or another. She is a powerhouse, and one that is much admired.

      Thank you for your kind compliment. As these stories extend themselves far beyond what could have been imagined I trudge on.

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