by Dick Farnsworth


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452559025
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 10/18/2012
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)

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Balboa Press

Copyright © 2012 Dick Farnsworth
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4525-5902-5

Chapter One

Rod Makes a Friend

It was still dark outside, and the terminal was lit with minimal lighting to allow the temporary occupants to sleep. Andy was still sleeping, but I awoke early, and was standing in front of the large terminal windows facing the east. The sun was just beginning to peek from the horizon, and the vicious front that curtailed all flights had passed and was heading northeast to Canada. The sky was clear and was already turning a deep blue, promising a beautiful day ahead. I turned back to the seating area, and caught a glimpse of my new friend. After a very uncomfortable night trying to sleep on the airline seats, Andy awoke as the sun started to peer through the windows of the terminal. I had discovered that our rescheduled flight would leave at 9:30 a.m., and as I approached Andy, he said he had to have a cup of coffee to wake up, so we went to breakfast.

We chatted over some bacon and eggs, and Andy pressed for a continuation of my story. I related that I didn't have a lot of friends in high school, but that school was really easy for me, and I did well. I had to leave school when I was 16, to help on the farm, but I took the test for my High School equivalency diploma in October and passed easily, so I really graduated 8 months ahead of my class. I had an ok relationship with my siblings (three sisters), but my best friend growing up was Grunt, my dog. Grunt was a mixed breed, part hound and part traveling salesman. He was a lovable mutt, and I went virtually nowhere without him.

The farm work became more and more demanding of my time and energy. My father was increasingly unreliable because of his drinking, and I was taking on the whole responsibility for running the farm. The older girls helped with the milking and feeding and gathering the eggs, but my mom was wearing herself out and we were afraid she was going to really get sick. What little money there was, dad was throwing away on booze and cigarettes, and he became distant and unresponsive. He was also becoming abusive to mom and the girls, and there was only one thing to do.

I knew I had to face my father. Interestingly enough, because of the instances with the truck and the farm machinery, he had some respect for my opinions. I had to be firm with him, so one day after he arose from bed, at 10:00 in the morning, after all the chores were done, I sat down across from him at the breakfast table. I shooed mom and my youngest sister outside (the older girls were in school) and laid it on the line to him. I told him that if he did not lay off the alcohol, and quit his abuse of mom and the girls, I would drag him down to Family Services and turn him in. For all practical purposes, these were idle threats, since I didn't even know where Family Services was, or if there was anything they could do for us, but he didn't know that. I said I would monitor him very closely and he must straighten himself up. I was by this time bigger and heavier than he was, so that lent some weight, literally, to my demand.

Miracle of miracles, he did a total 180, at least for a time. He started immediately to take his rightful place in the family, and although he didn't necessarily qualify for Husband or Father of the Year, he treated mom and the girls with more respect, and even accompanied mom to church from time to time. He quit drinking for a time, and took responsibility for a large share of the chores around the farm, which gave me some free time during the day.

Accordingly, one afternoon I took Grunt and we went chasing rabbits up in the hills. I took my bow and arrow in hopes we'd find some game for supper and for the freezer. We came running up over a rise, and Grunt, unaware of a sharp drop off, ran right over a cliff. He alternately fell and tumbled about 100 feet and ended up on a rock shelf in a pretty inaccessible place. He was barely moving, and I saw blood leaking out onto the gray rock where he lay. I had to find a way to get down to him."

There were some trees growing right out of the rock face. I've never figured out how that could possibly happen, but they were there. A fairly large juniper tree that appeared to be pretty sturdy grew out of a small outcropping about 30-40 feet down. I had a length of rope and a peg in my backpack. I drove the peg into the ground, and made a large loop in the end of the rope and slipped it over the peg. The rope reached easily to the tree, and I lowered myself over the edge, praying that the peg would hold my weight. I got to the tree, and after some superhuman effort was able to shake the rope off the peg and it came hurtling down to me. I slipped the rope over a branch of the tree, put the end through the loop, making a slip knot, and scooted down the cliff until I was about 15 feet from the rock ledge. The remaining cliff front had some footholds and handholds and I was able to climb down the rest of the way to the rock ledge.

Grunt did not appear to be breathing, but I detected a very weak pulse. I put my ear to his side and heard a rattle in his lung. Slowly and very deliberately, I began a rhythmic tapping on Grunt's spine with my index fingers. Five minutes passed with no response. My fingers were glowing red to the first knuckle and I just continued the beat. After about ten minutes, Grunt started to stir. Finally, after two or three more minutes, he raised his head and looked up at me with a little 'woof' and wagged his tail. I put my ear to his side again and heard the sound of rhythmic breathing. There wasn't a lot of room on the rock ledge, but enough that I could stand him up. He stood on his own and I massaged his back and both sides, and nothing seemed to be out of place. The blood apparently came from where he hit his head, but I found no evidence of a head wound. He appeared to be totally restored. I looked at my fingers and they were glowing now right down to the second knuckle, and they were very hot.

Now the dilemma seemed to be "how in the world do we get out of here?" I no more got the thought in my mind, when I heard dad's truck up above. He cut the engine and after a couple minutes, I saw his face looking down at us. I'd never been so glad to see him as it was beginning to get dark, and it looked like we were destined to spend the night down here. "What in the world are you doing down there?" he shouted. "I laughed and said "We're just hanging around". He went back to the truck and got a length of rope, threw down the end, and I tied the rope securely around my thighs and waist in a cradle, grabbed Grunt firmly with one arm and hung on for dear life with the other. Dad tied the other end of the rope to the truck and slowly lifted us to safety. When dad saw my fingers, he realized something significant had happened, and pressed me for details. He had noticed the blood on the cliff ledge and guessed that whatever happened was pretty serious.

I had to be really careful here. I told my father the very minimum to satisfy his curiosity, but he was still skeptical as we rode back to the house. Over the next few days, I noticed him watching me very carefully, and I could tell he was going to start pressing me for more details before long, regarding my adventure with Grunt. Sure enough, a few days later, we were taking a break from loading the baled hay onto the truck, and we sat down together under a tree. He started his inquiry with "Why wasn't Grunt killed from that fall the other day?" "I don't know, I guess he's just a pretty sturdy dog", I answered. "Yeh, he said, but I saw blood on that rock shelf, and I didn't see any wounds on his body." I replied that I thought he had a small cut on his head that healed up already. "So what was the deal with your fingers? They were really red and appeared to be very hot". I answered that it was probably from the climb down the rock face. It was pretty rough trying to find places to grip, and I'm sure it caused some great irritation to my fingers. He then asked me if it had anything to do with my "knack" for repairing the truck and the farm machines. I hoped I was convincing enough when I replied that I didn't think so, but I could tell this would not be the end of this exchange.

After we finished loading the truck, we returned to the house, loaded the hay into the barn, and I fell into bed exhausted. I awoke in the middle of the night with a start, and felt more than heard a warning voice telling me to be careful how much I said to my dad.

We were interrupted by the boarding call, so I curtailed the conversation while we headed up the ramp to find the seats. Our first class seats were very comfortable, and we settled in for the 4 hour flight. Andy said he rarely flies first class as his expense account only allows for coach and I had never flown before, but I could clearly see that there was a world of difference between first class and coach as we boarded the plane, a Boeing 707. As soon as we got into the air, we were given a brunch menu, and even though we weren't particularly hungry, we ordered a nice late breakfast and ate leisurely. We had little privacy on the plane, so after the flight attendant picked up our dishes, we kept our conversation low and were probably overcautious to make sure no one was eavesdropping.

"So," Andy asked "did you have any further conversations with your father about the incidents?" I said that I hadn't for a long time. The next time it came up was on my 18th birthday. My mom had a little birthday party for me, with some cake and punch, and we watched a DVD together. It was a pleasant time, although my father had taken to drinking again and he was a little tipsy. After mom and the girls went to bed, dad suggested we take a little walk. It was a pleasant evening, and even though I was a bit suspicious, part of me said that he just wanted to chat with me father to son.

And that's how it started out, a nice father-son chat. When he thought he had me neutralized he started in, first calmly, but then with ever increasing insistence. He was sure we would be able to use my "knack" to bring in additional money, by fixing other farmers machinery and vehicles and charging them for it. We were poor, and never seemed to have enough money, and mom had to work so hard, and the girls could use more clothes, and we could hire out some of the chores, and on and on. Of course, he never mentioned that there would also be more money for booze and cigarettes, but I'm sure that was uppermost in his mind. Finally, I ended it the only way I could. I backed him up against a tree, looked him square in the eyes, and said "You might as well save your breath. I know for sure that God has given me this gift. I feel certain that it will be a very important part of my life in the future, if I use it to help others, freely and quietly. And that's the only way I'll ever use it." He didn't know what to say. He had never seen me like this before, but I was determined that he was never to mention this again, to me or to anyone else.

And he never did, as far as I know. But he took to drinking again, and reverted back to his old miserable ways. When I wasn't around, he again became abusive to my mom, and started to mishandle my sisters, who were now 16, 14 and 11. I came into the house from the fields one afternoon and found him backing my youngest sister into a corner, and I went berserk. I grabbed him and hit him so hard he literally flew across the room. Then I wrestled him to the door and threw him off the porch. I told him if I ever saw him in the house again drunk, that I'd break both his arms. That was the last time any of us ever saw my father, and honestly, it was a relief to every one of us, including mom.

I was now the caretaker of the family, and was ok with it. Things went well, everybody pitched in, and we continued to be a close knit family. We all worked hard, we went to church every Sunday, and we had plenty of food and enough money for our basic needs. With proper care, the herd grew, the chickens laid lots of eggs, and we began to prosper on the farm. Then, three months ago, mom got real sick. She's only 43, but she finally got to the point where she lost a lot of weight and could not even get out of bed without help.

And that's why I'm going to Dallas.

Chapter Two

I Raise Mom from the Dead

We landed at Dallas/Fort Worth International right on time, and Andy suggested we have a nice lunch, and he'd rent a car and take me to the hospital to see my mom, after which we'd rent a suite. He was to be in Dallas for at least a week, and his firm always insisted on a suite, in case he had to hold meetings with clients, so there would be no extra cost. I looked at him with tears in my eyes and said "Why are you doing all this for me?" He told me that he thought I was a person of worth, and that he could see a bright future for me, with my natural talents, my moral fiber and yes, my unique gift, and he just had a strong desire to help.

We had lunch at TGI Fridays in the airport, Andy rented a car, and we headed out for the 15 mile drive to the hospital. The traffic was bumper to bumper, and it took us almost 45 minutes to get there. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when we parked the car, and we strode nervously into the hospital, and checked the desk for mom's room. She was on the Third Floor South, and Andy agreed to wait in the waiting room on the third floor for as long as it took.

I went to the nursing station on Third South, and was told by the supervising nurse to wait a few minutes as the nurses were just now turning my mother onto her side, which they did several times a day to prevent bed sores. She also told me that my mother slipped easily in and out of consciousness because of the heavy drug regimen she was on, and that she may or may not recognize me. After about five minutes, the nurses came out of the room and I slipped in. I hardly recognized mom. She was very thin, so much so that her bones seemed to stick out all over. I kissed her on the forehead, and she weakly murmured "Ralph", which is my father's name, then immediately closed her eyes again. Her breathing was laborious, and I sensed that the end was probably near, unless something miraculous happened. Well, after all that's why I was here.

I went around to the other side of the bed, and put my ear gently to mom's side. The cancer was apparently prevalent in her lungs, as the rattle in her breathing was very obvious, and the normal breathing rhythm was not discernible. I was certain that without some help, she would not be here in the morning. I commenced a gentle tapping with my index fingers on her spine, and she moaned quietly. For several minutes, I continued the steady rhythm, concentrating my efforts on the area nearest the lungs. Then I moved my fingers up adjacent to the heart. After about 15 minutes, both fingers were glowing red all the way down to the main knuckle, and the heat was intense. Mom's body seemed to relax, and I was concerned that her spirit may have left. I stopped, put my ear to her side, and was amazed to discover that her breathing was stronger, more rhythmic, and that the rattle had lessened considerably. My fingers were so hot I didn't dare touch anything for fear I'd start a fire. I went around to the other side of the bed and was surprised to see her eyes open, and I think she recognized me, as she smiled slightly, then went back to sleep. I kissed her forehead gently again, and when she murmured "Rod" the tears came liberally. I left the room with my hands behind my back to hide my fingers, told the supervisor that I'd be back tomorrow, and left for the waiting room to find Andy.

I was quite upbeat when I went to the waiting room. We were both very tired, and drove immediately to the Inn Towne Suites a few blocks from the hospital. The second floor room was very nice, with 2 double beds, a kitchenette, and a small living room. The bathroom was modern and quite attractive. I showered first, and by the time Andy finished his shower, I was fast asleep in my bed. Andy set the alarm for 8:00 p.m., thinking we could get a little snack before going in for the night, but when the alarm went off, he just shut it down for the night and went back to sleep. When Andy next awoke about 6:00 a.m., I was already dressed and ready for a big breakfast. He quickly dressed and we went downstairs to the restaurant, which was very adequate and priced reasonably. We talked about the day. Andy had to go to the job site and spend the day. I decided I would take the DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) to get around the city during the day. Andy offered to drop me off at the hospital on the way to the job site, but I decided I would wait until later in the morning to go, as I would probably get in the way of the nurses rounds if I went this early. We finished breakfast, and Andy took off.

He had called his family the night before, in time to say goodnight to the kids. All was well at home, and he said he told his wife about me, for the time being leaving out the stuff about my strange gift. He was considering taking me home, and felt that after I got to know Alexis, I would be anxious to bring her in on my little "secret".


Excerpted from TUNEIN' by DICK FARNSWORTH Copyright © 2012 by Dick Farnsworth. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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