Monthly Archives: January 2012

Living write: “The Fleas” gave me the bug

First for this commercial message, Countdown to Kianna. Twenty-nine days to delivery, Feb. 19, exactly one week before Kishia’s 27th birthday. Not sure which makes me feel older: 29 days away from changing my name to Grandpa or having a 27-year-old daughter. Sunday is set aside for baking cookies for Kishia’s baby shower next Saturday. I’m also told that planning for the mother of all baby shower cakes (a la my esteemed editor and consummate cake-baker Lora Wegman) occurs tomorrow/Sunday.

Now … what about “The Fleas”?

Channel 13 in Jefferson City (KRCG) showed scary movies at 10:30 p.m. every Friday back in the day (early to mid-1970s). My buddies and I especially enjoyed Frogs, Night of the Lepus, Mothra, The Black Scorpion … it was a long list of mostly really awful  and not-all-that-scary movies. (However, “Frogs” was downright creepy and basically established the standard for the revenge-of-nature genre. And Sam Elliott is in the  movie).

Somewhere along the way, a little light bulb went off in my cranium and the first writing prompt that I can remember became an epiphany to try my hand at science fiction writing. And I knew just the person who would give me an honest, objective critique of my work. On March 14, 1974, I handed my 15-page, handwritten manuscript, “The Fleas,” to my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Elrod.

I’m looking at that manuscript now, almost 38 years after Mrs. Elrod permanently stoked the fire of the budding writer within me. Her single comment, “Exciting story,” has almost completely faded from the top left corner of the page, but the comment that made 10-year-old Jodie think, “Hey, maybe I can be a writer?” continues to resonate in the 48-year-old Jodie.

I’m not sure I ever told Mrs. Elrod “thanks” for her encouragement and for fostering a love of words and reading. She died in 2005.

What did she see in “The Fleas”? I think the real question was, “What did she see in me?” I can guarantee there wasn’t much to see in “The Fleas,” a story about the first manned space flight to Mars. My three astronauts took along a jar of 25 fleas, a fly and a rat. Don’t ask me why those were the chosen specimens. It was top secret. I don’t know why. But the fleas are exposed to radiation or some sort of Martian germ, and when the crew returns to Earth, the surviving fleas become gigantic and cause all kinds of mayhem. And, by the way, they ate 500,000 people

To prove it was an awful story, here are two brief excerpts:

“Only the captain had been in outer space before. Jones went over to check on the rat and in surprise the rat had died! He went to see the fly and it was dead, too! He went over to check on the fleas and out of the 25, there were only 3 alive! What was happening!? There was a  very small hole in the spaceship over by the animals. They weren’t getting enough air.”

Later, after landing on Mars:

“The fleas were still alive. (These kind of fleas were found in caves on bats. No one knew anything about these kind of fleas).”

Very clever foreshadowing there, wouldn’t you say? But I won’t inflict more of the story on you. Eventually the last of the giant fleas was killed and Earth was saved.

It was an “exciting story.” Take Mrs. Elrod’s word for it.

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #9

Your Grammy (Mrs. Grandpa) and I have been married just about 30 years now, but you know what’s really cool? Today we did some grocery shopping, visited with a couple we’re fond of, and just hung out together. By the time we were headed home, we were both tired. We’d both been pretty chatty (Grandpa is almost always chatty), but then we simply enjoyed silence together.

That’s when Grammy told me something that’s still making me smile. She said, “You’re my buddy.” Out of nowhere, I get, “You’re my buddy.”

My single greatest joy in life is being your Grammy’s buddy — being married to my best-ever friend.

We can’t wait to see YOU!

 

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Memoir-in-Progress: Jan. 20, 1981

First things first: Countdown to Kianna is now at 30 days. One month to delivery.

From Jan. 8, Part 2 of my list of 2012 New Year’s resolutions: #37. Find and reassemble the nerdy journal I kept for every day of high school. (A work also known as “My Senior Drear.”)

Rather than go right to Jan. 20, 1981 — apparently that was a rather historic day — I’ll start with a few nuggets from dates prior to that one. I’m referencing “My Senior Drear: Book 2, Volume B.”

Jan. 7, 1981, Wednesday — My sports column should be in today’s paper.

First hour, journalism: Planned more for first publication of paper; planned assignments.

Lunch: something refuse-flavored.

Sixth hour, publications (Yearbook class): Got ad pages back because there were some errors on them. Completed another four dummy sheets.

Seventh hour, speech and debate: Practiced speech for Parkway Tournament. Jack broke everything off with Terri.

Jan. 8, 1981, Thursday — No report. Kevin was manic, 37:43:5. (This meant 37 days manic, 43 days depressive, five days balanced. Kevin was a junior, one of my friends who was quite the personality. I think the manic:depressive:balanced score was a joke. I think).

Jan. 9, 1981, Friday — Left at 9 a.m. to go to Parkway West Speech Tournament.

Jan. 12, 1981, Monday — I stayed home. Fatigued.

Jan. 13, 1981, Tuesday — Great mood. I drove, took Kelly to school. We were fighting this morning. It’ll pass.

Jan. 14, 1981, Wednesday — I scored 12 points last night as Faith Baptist slaughtered RLDS in the church league.

Fourth hour, formal writing: I hope we don’t have a quiz soon, for i haven’t paid attention for four days. Strangely, however, my writing has improved and I have found i’ve been implementing elements studied in this course. I guess I am listening.

Jan. 15, 1981, Thursday … Laughed ’til I cried fourth hour. (No note on what was so funny).

Jan. 16, 1981, Friday — Homecoming tonight.

Jan. 19, 1981, Monday — Long day; tense. Didn’t stop running all day. Kevin depressive 45:42:5.

Editor’s note: I present the journal entry for Jan. 20, 1981, Tuesday, in its entirety.

Jan. 20, 1981, Tuesday — Some notes before beginning any other writing: This could be one of the biggest days in American history. The hostages being held in Iran are to be released. I will cry tears of peace, joy and even sorrow — for the world.

Ronald Reagan will be inaugurated as the 40th president of the U.S.A. at noon today.

First hour, journalism: Assignment: 10 front-page ledes, what percentage use the 5-W lede. Also, write 5 ledes using the 5-Ws.

Second hour, astronomy: Mr. Abels asks, “Why is there no water on the moon?” My response: “It all dried up.”

Third hour, study hall: Went to typing room and typed. Miss Schacht heard on the radio that the hostages were in the air headed to Algiers or Wiesbaden.

Fourth hour, formal writing: I’m in a terrible, destructive mood. Mrs. Sharp is going to destruct me soon, I believe. Kevin is Depressive. 46:42:5

THE HOSTAGES ARE FREE!

… For some reason that was my final entry for that day. Apparently there was drama and dissent among speech team members and the play cast after lunch. And by “drama” I don’t mean reciting lines and blocking scenes. I didn’t keep an accurate record of whatever transpired. Apparently there was no blood-letting or any violations of my Constitutional rights, because I would have recorded THAT.

But at least the hostages were free.

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #8

I’ve got the best books in the house; I like collecting really old books. The oldest one that I have — I mean, besides The Bible (and by Bible, I mean “Authorized King James Version”) — is “Practical Housekeeping,” printed by Perry & Baldy, Denver, Colo., 1885. It’s mostly recipes and handy tips for the mindful housewife. The dedication page reads, “To those Plucky Housewives who master their work instead of allowing it to master them, This book is dedicated.”

The book’s a real hoot. I’m sure by the time you’re considering your life’s paths, you’ll get a kick out of it, too. Maybe we’ll even talk Mrs. Grandpa into trying some of the recipes with us. Cucumber catsup. Gooseberry catsup. Quail on toast. Jugged hare. Winter succotash. Pigs’-feet souse.

Mmmm!!!

I’m kidding, of course. Instead, I’ll teach you an important Jackson code word that I used with your mom, Kishia, and Aunt Tasha when we’d visit somewhere for lunch or supper and somebody served something that resembled pigs’-feet souse — whatever that is.

When we make eye contact and telepathically agree, “We can’t possibly eat this,” that’s when Grandpa will stretch and say, “Woah! Looks like Kianna and Grandpa are stuffed! We’ll have to take a walk after supper.”

Take a walk” means “find the nearest Quik-Trip” or “go to McDonald’s.”

You’ll catch on.

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The best ever: What’s on TV?

As the Countdown to Kianna reaches 31 days — and the prospect of becoming a grandpa in one month makes me want to leap like a happy little lamb in a field of clover — I’m thinking ahead to a post-Countdown blog schedule.

Here’s what I’m thinking: Wanted … guest bloggers for Tuesdays and Thursdays. Pitch me your blog ideas (very few topics are off-the-table) or just send something along and I’ll get it ready to post. My interests for Jackson’s Journal are slice of life stuff like “Memoir-in-Progress,” anything family-related, anything writing-related (how-to, technical advice on point of view, plotting, character development, dialogue, etc.), nature and animals and dogs, and spiritual matters. No need to go all Oswald Chambers on me, but the occasional soul-deep devotional and encouragement for the faithful would be much-appreciated.

(For the record, I digest a little bit of old Oswald’s “My Utmost for His Highest” on a fairly regular basis).

I also offer space for my atheist/agnostic/skeptical friends and colleagues to present their views. If faith withers in the presence of thought-provoking, challenging words from skeptics, then faith isn’t faith.

I’m interested in dialogue, conversation and communication.

We can always turn to what we all enjoy just about more than anything: eating. Maybe there’s a cake-baking (Lora W.) or cupcake-making (Catherine M.) guest blogger-in-waiting out there?

For the business at hand tonight, I’m sharing my list of the 25 best television shows ever. See if it matches what you might select and be sure to comment with other nominees or agreement/disagreement. This is MY list, meaning most people probably don’t consider “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” one of the best TV shows of all time. But I do.

Here goes: 1. Seinfeld, 2. The X-Files, 3. Parenthood, 4. Lost (the first four and a half seasons); 5. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; 6. M*A*S*H; 7. The Carol Burnett Show; 8. All in the Family; 9. Cheers; 10. Hill Street Blues;

11. Northern Exposure; 12. The Andy Griffith Show; 13.  The Office; 14. thirtysomething; 15. Saturday Night Live, 1975-1980; 16. The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson; 17. St. Elsewhere; 18. E.R.; 19. Frasier; 20. The West Wing.

Honorable mention: NYPD Blue (original series), Chicago Hope, Taxi, House, The Big Bang Theory, Criminal Minds, L.A. Law.

For now I’m trying to train myself to write shorter blogs. Someday I’ll explain my rankings with such profound insight as until “Parenthood” began airing a couple of years ago, “The West Wing” was probably the best-written show ever. I’ll also admit to having never watched “The Sopranos” and a few other highly-acclaimed dramas.

What say you?

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #7

From the book Grandpas Are for Finding Worms … “When you don’t want to walk anymore, grandpas carry you.”

You can count on it, Kianna.

 

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Countdown to Kianna

We’re at 32 days and counting.

Grandparent-hood is just around the corner when Kianna Allene Brown finally matches faces with those voices that have been coddling and connecting with her the last several months. Despite the sleepless nights ahead and the overwhelming worry that comes with that first fever or rash, I’m sure Kianna’s mommy, Kishia — our first-born — will be MUCH more comfortable when she can also finally see her first baby’s face. I get all sloppy emotional just thinking about that first eye-to-eye contact.

It won’t be long, Kishia. Hang in there. Darnell, that cuddle with Kianna will be even more amazing that you’re now imagining.

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #6:

Hard as I try, sometimes I just can’t think of something profound to say. After all, I think about you 23 hours and 59 minutes a day. (I do have to work and sleep some). I once heard a pastor tell a man that the best way to be a father was to love his children’s mother, and that the best way for a woman to be a mother was to love her husband.

Not sure if that will make sense to you anytime soon, but what it means is you’ve got incredible parents.

Wednesday night “prayer meeting”

I get a lot of mileage out of joking about Southern Baptist life, about the white-and-homogenous character of the churches I grew up in, and about some of the traditions and customs of growing up as a preacher’s kid.

I’m sure I went literally kicking and screaming at times, but I didn’t miss many services when I was growing up. There was Sunday morning Sunday School and then the worship service, and another dose Sunday evening with what we called Training Union (it was Sunday night Sunday School, except people wore blue jeans and neckties were rare), followed by Sunday night service. I’m not sure where and how the tradition of Wednesday night Prayer Meeting got started, but the mid-week service was more optional than the others.

Somewhere along the way I’ll explain what I loved about the Sunday night and mid-week prayer meeting services. Prayer meeting was what it sounds like. There was lots of praying. Wednesday night was the only time there was a “season of prayer,” where everyone who wanted to took a turn. Wednesday night attendance was sparse, but it was kind of like the varsity members of the church.

I’m going to revisit Wednesday night prayer meeting right here on Wednesdays, so I hope I don’t lose those of you who follow this blog religiously. (Pun intended).

One of the best memories of Sunday night and Wednesday night services was the music. Someone would break out the old Broadman hymnals and maybe the singing was a cappella. And sometimes, when I reached my teens years, I got to lead the singing. To this day I love old hymns as much as I love barbecue ribs.

Here’s an oldie, followed by a contemporary praise song. Click and sing along if you’d like. And let me know which hymns/songs you’d like to see me post.

“He Leadeth Me,” sung by The Martins. If the key change at 2:25 doesn’t give you goose bumps, you’re not paying attention.

http://youtu.be/c_yQeuo7auw

“Breathe,” from a live performance by Michael W. Smith.

http://youtu.be/XgUAvMyclbU

If you get the urge, feel free to raise your hands in worship. Some Baptists do that nowadays. I do it. But if you did that back in the day during a Wednesday night prayer meeting, you’d probably get mentioned often during that “season of prayer.”

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Let’s have a meeting!

I routinely cover a lot of routine meetings, most notably county commission meetings, planning and zoning meetings, board of trustees meetings (fire district and hospital board), and in the past there were school boards, ambulance districts, city councils, boards of aldermen … lots and lots of meetings.

It’s safe to say I’ve been doing it forever. Today I was at a hearing (another word for “meeting”) at the State Capitol, where the House Committee on Appropriations for Agriculture and Natural Resources heard about an eminent domain issue in Hallsville.

You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow’s Columbia Daily Tribune rolls off the press to see my report on that meeting/hearing. Like thousands of meetings before it, my single focus and single goal is telling the story of the meeting without inducing eye-glazing numbness, which so often is the effect I fight off during said meeting.

In 30 years of news reporting, I’ve covered too many meetings to count. My archives of material for my epic memoir-in-progress — tentatively titled “Goats on Top of the Car” —  contain a time-lapse chronology of a meeting of the Belle Board of Aldermen, dated Jan. 14, 1981. I was a senior in high school, but employed by The Belle Banner as the ace reporter. I’m assuming I kept notes of the real action, but my “log of the meeting” details the cigarettes smoked and coffee consumed during the city aldermen meeting in a town of 1,104 residents.

I’ll only present the highlights, so to speak, but first you need a quick introduction to some of the main players: Herb Henley, the city marshall, collector and sewer commissioner; Marlis King, the city treasurer; and Guy Rager, the mayor, a man who perfectly resembled Col. Sanders.

Here goes, unedited:

7:02 p.m., Mayor calls meeting to order. 11 present. All have coffee. Most have cigarette. Some already on cig #2. Marlis King to be late because of wisdom teeth just removed.

7:05, councilmen Curry and Hicks light up. Mayor appearing foggy.

7:08, Henley/Rager begin unnecessary discussion on cig. tax stamps.

7:10, Treasurer King comes in, holding jaw steady.

7:14, smoke in room blending with color of mayor’s hair.

7:35, Hicks lights cig #3. King cusses — couldn’t hear exact word. Curry lights another. King leaves, coughing. King grabs jaw, face contorted in pain as she exits.

7:39, mayor nearly completely obscured by nicotine-laden cloud of toxins.

7:39, aldermen Shanks, Curry get coffee. Curry now has three half-full cups of joe. And two cigs going at once.

7:48, I imagine being fatally wounded by a gunshot through the door.

(I’m skipping over rapid-fire references — with time stamps — to someone lighting up or getting another cup of coffee).

8:28, mayor says he’ll veto an ordinance that just passed. He adds, “Just kidding.” I hear his voice, but i can’t see him.

8:33, mayor doesn’t know Henley is also the water/sewer commissioner. Aldermen snicker.

8:38, meeting adjourned.

Tonight’s totals: 36 cigarettes smoked (that I could see), 24 cups of coffee downed. Conclusion = arteriosclerosis, emphysema and caffeine addiction.

Those were my notes. No idea what was in the actual news story, but I’m sure it wasn’t as entertaining as my notes.

COUNTDOWN TO KIANNA: 35, 34, 33 days away …

The highlight of today was dropping in on my old stomping ground at the Jefferson City News Tribune, unaware that so many of the old gang would be working. Intruding was my pleasure and it gave me a chance to kiss former sports writing colleague Tony Hawley smack upside the head. Sports editor Tom Rackers, under whom I wrote and produced sports and sports pages for parts of nine years from 1992 to 2001, declined a smooch.

Managing editor Richard McGonegal and so many other faces and names from those wonderful years at the “other” Tribune provided the perfect audience for me to announce, “I’m going to be a grandpa soon!”

Reporter Anne Kettenbrink, who was in high school and an intern when I left 11 years ago, recognized my voice, inquiring from her obscured seat, “Is that Jodie Jackson?” When I said it was nice to be remembered, my old sports writing pals quickly let me know that my name does crop up from time to time. It seems I’m partly remembered as a spinner of stories, a teller of tales. And I believe they also mention my name mockingly.

Kind of like at the Tribune where I’m presently employed. (Columbia).

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #5:

Learn to laugh at yourself.

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Countdown to Kianna …

36, 35, 34 days away …

I wore my “I love Grandpa” tie today. I detected a hint of consternation from a few people who suggested that I wasn’t actually a grandpa yet, because Kianna has not been born.

Those are fightin’ words!

Oh, I’m already a grandpa. (Refer to yesterday’s post and the Nichole Nordeman song with lyrics that include “woven and spun.”)  At the Jackson Estate, Grandpa and Grammy (Mrs. Grandpa) are in FULL grandparent mode.

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #5:

I wrote a second blog post tonight. It’s called “The fine art of being annoying.”

Please don’t read that one until you’re 27.

Luv u,

Grandpa

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The fine art of being annoying

Memoir-in-Progress …

How did I survive high school?

That’s not a rhetorical question. I mean really?

Exhibit “A” from “My Senior Drear,” a daily journal of my high school career at Belle (Maries County R-2) High School. To wit: “Jan. 16, 1980. A day of monumental significance in the history of Belle High. Dewayne and I officially formed the Independent Student Council.” I was a junior; Dewayne Butler was a sophomore. We delivered a draft of our “charter” to our principal, Mr. Evans.

One of our first initiatives, outlined in rather mind-numbing detail, was that the school cafeteria “cease and desist preparing, cooking, heating, re-heating, re-heating more, sneezing into and dropping onto the floor, then re-heating thrice more and serving swill.” We also insisted that the school administration lighten up on a recent crackdown on public displays of affection, as one of the main tenets of the I.S.C. was, “Make love, not war (against students).”

I developed an incredible knack for annoying people at a very early age. I have documentation (penned by me, of course) to prove it. But annoying Mr. Evans was sport if only because he engaged us in silly quests for things like the I.S.C., “parking lot barbecue day” (another great idea that never happened) and “Random Student/Staff Execution Day.” Thirty-plus years ago you could get away with such things.

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Sunday’s bylines: All Hallsville all the time

In the Sunday, Jan. 15, 2010, edition of The Columbia Daily Tribune:

A story I’ve been following for several months is told today in two parts. The feature story in the Perspectives section is an in-depth examination of Frank and Ann Martin’s attempt to keep 148 acres of their family farm from becoming an asset of the City of Hallsville, which has a condemation order against the property.

Just as I was wrapping up the research and story, which required dissecting some 100 pages of documents, the Martins filed a lawsuit against the city and engineer Chad Sayre. The lawsuit wound up on Page 1, directing readers to see the “Perspectives” piece and related documents that were posted online.

This was an ambitious reporting project that produced over 100 inches of copy today. But there’s still plenty more to come.

Elsewhere on Sunday’s front page, my colleague and pod-mate Janese Silvey wrote today’s article about University of Missouri Health Care’s radiology department coming under scrutiny for performing services not ordered by a physician.

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Another ‘lost in song’ moment

Countdown to Kianna: 37, 36, 35 days away …

I promised myself “no more nostalgia” for my next post. I even told Kelly, “I need to lighten up.” After all, I’ve got some serious novel-writing beckoning me, shouting for attention. I need to get busy and introduce you to Cole Davenport, Jamie Light, Edna Mae Ferguson, Noodle Garrison, Ron Koppelmann, and even Hannah Abigail Lincoln (derisively referred to as “Honest Abe” by her intimidated underlings).

Those are just a few of the characters from “Chasing The Devil,” the fiction novel I want to have completely finished by the time Kianna is born. Quick side note: All characters in “Devil” are fictional — even the newspaper reporter, Cole Davenport — but Ron Koppelmann is based on the real Ron Koppelmann, a cop I once spent a lot of time with during my early days as a weekly newspaper reporter. In fact, I got an email today from my old friend Ron, who tells me he’s “honored” to be a character in my first novel.

Instead, I felt like sharing a song, so I went to my “Holy Rollin’ Tunes” file on YouTube and browsed some new entries: “Til the Storm Passes By,” my favorite southern gospel song; “My Redeemer Lives,” the recording of a live performance by Nicole C. Mullin (can’t wait to introduce Kianna to her music), and then Nichole Nordeman’s “I Am.”

What were the chances that I’d run across THIS recording with THESE illustrations?

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #4:

This is for you, and your mom, and your daddy, Darnell.

http://youtu.be/YeUuF3fE9iQ

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Countdown to Kianna: Lullabye

Countdown to Kianna: 38, 37, 36 days …

I got fired from my job as editor of my hometown newspaper, The Belle Banner, just a few days after Kishia was born in 1985. It was a blessing in disguise, though, because a week before she turned 2-months-old, the Gasconade County Republican in Owensville hired me as sports editor. I quit college before earning a degree, but the education I got in seven years at The Republican was phenomenal.

Kelly was a stay-at-home mom for a couple of years and Kishia was the center of our universe. This morning when Kishia stopped by to print off an online gift certificate for a baby shower she was headed to, I kissed the top of her head. I didn’t linger, so my tears didn’t fall on her hair. But that scent and the obvious sign of her being eight months pregnant simply flooded my entire being with emotion.

My little girl, my first-born, just a few weeks (maybe days?) away from delivering her first-born, her little girl: Kianna. Our first grandchild. I honestly don’t think about anything else right now.

And I think back to the evenings when I came home from The Republican, sometimes to leave again to go cover a football, basketball or volleyball game. I always tried to get bath-time duties to sign with, wash and talk to beautiful little Kishia. She grew up fast — way too fast — and was 6 months old when our little dog, Buffy, playfully nipped her. Kishia was astonished and announced, “Buppy bit me.”

Talking at 6 months old. And she never crawled. In fact, her first steps, at 9 months, were more like first sprints. She was a fun, fun and expressive baby/toddler.

My play time and dad time was in the evening, with bath time, more play time and a wonderful bedtime ritual that had locks of rocking in the Bentwood rocker, reading (very fond of Dr. Seuss) and then lights out and our song. Sometimes there were deviations in the bedtime ritual — maybe a different book, and eventually a bedside prayer — but the song was the same. Always.

Don Francisco’s “Lullabye.” Don Francisco’s music is probably not at the top of the list for most people, but it has resonated in my heart and lifted my spirit for years. He takes Bible stories — many of them obscure or certainly not as popular as most — and turns them into ballads that can pierce or comfort the coldest of hearts. His songs are arrows of grace that are real, not preachy.

“Lullabye” is short and simple, and something even a toddler can sing. Here are the lyrics.

(You Tube audio here: http://youtu.be/238jV2AzWxM)

Lullabye, by Don Francisco …

Darkness covers all the land — sounds of day are gone;
But love is all around you now and will be ’till the dawn.

Stars shine on the window sill, the moon shines through the trees;
Angels by your bed tonight — shine where no one sees.

So there’s no need to be afraid — all the whole night through.
‘Cause God has made a promise child, that He’ll take care of you.

Stars shine on the window sill, the moon shines through the trees;
Angels by your bed tonight — shine where no one sees.

All that you’ve been dreamin’ of — awaits you when you rise;
So with the peace that Jesus brings — close your sleepy eyes.

Stars shine on the window sill, the moon shines through the trees;
Angels by your bed tonight — shine where no one sees.

All that you’ve been dreamin’ of — awaits you when you rise;
So with the peace that Jesus brings — close your sleepy eyes.

There you have it.

If I live a thousand years I’ll never forget the best way for that song to end: Before the final line began, with the house full of peace and quiet, Kishia raised her head from my chest and looked into my eyes, her bed-time breath the sweetest scent ever created. And we’d sing the final line — maybe in total darkness, maybe with star light on our faces — and look into each others’ eyes.

“So with the peace that Jesus brings, close your sleepy eyes.” Before the final note disappeared into the night, Kishia added, “Love you Daddy,” still looking into my eyes.

I’d ask you to pardon my tears right now, but I think you understand a little better now.

Grandpa’s message to Kianna, #3:

If I ever manage to wrestle you out of your mom and dad’s arms, I’ll do my best to send you off to sleep with “Lullabye.” Maybe you’ll learn it, too?

In the meantime, I’ll change the words just a bit, and it won’t rhyme, but here goes, my sweet Kianna:

“All that you are dreamin’ of … awaits you when you’re born;
So with the peace that Jesus brings … close your sleepy eyes.”

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