Little Johnny Rose was a happy child. Just five years of age, he was rarely seen without a smile on his unblemished face. His blonde mop of hair
swayed violently when he giggled at the simplest of jokes coming from the mouth of his grandfather, William. His crystal blue eyes penetrated the
souls of every adult that had met him; often getting his cheeks squeezed by the larger than life women in various public places often making him blush
Johnny was never cranky and almost always easily entertained. His hobbies included playing with toy soldiers (lining them and knocking them down),
listening to his grandfather's tales of the war and later he often would march around like a soldier storming the beaches of Normandy saluting his
superiors and crawling on his belly. The boy had never known his father as he died before he was born. Johnny grew up endeared to his grandfather and
grandmother, Maria. Many times little Johnny asked his grandfather of what his father was like.
What was he like? He asked.
He was a good man, stubborn but good.
Do you miss him?
I wish I could have met him, Pop Pop.
I know he would have loved you with his whole heart, Johnny. Now give Pop Pop a hug.
Hugs from his grandfather always brightened Johnny's mood, which was rarely in an upset state. As a matter of fact, Johnny loved to hug everyone and
anyone, but his grandfather always had that special touch. The way his weathered wrinkled hands touched Johnny's face seemed to symbolize a transferal
of age and wisdom to the young boy.
Johnny was also a curious boy; often finding his way into anything he shouldn't have. One day he found himself in his grandfather's room looking at
his old war memorabilia. He searched through the chest where everything was contained and looked at his uniform and helmet and the equipment of his
adversaries. Underneath a few dusty books and maps was a rosary attached to prayer card. On the prayer card was a man, presumably a shepherd, carrying
a wayward sheep on his shoulders. The title said that Jesus would always protect his flock. Little Johnny Rose wondered constantly as to who this
Jesus man was. Finally one day he ventured to ask his grandfather about the strange man as they sat outside by the enormous cherry tree.
Who is Jesus?
He is God.
Who is God?
God created everything, Johnny.
Did God create me, Pop Pop?
Yes, God created you in his image.
Where does God live?
He lives in each of us, Johnny.
He lives in me?
Yes, he lives in you.
Where does he live in me?
In your heart Johnny.
Your heart is where you learn to love.
And God is love?
Johnny's grandfather smiled and laughed. Little Johnny's blue eyes stared upwards from his lap. His stare was conceived of complete sincerity.
Yes, Johnny, God is love.
Johnny constantly tried to find out more and more about God and Jesus. He would talk to his grandfather about God all of the time he was with him and
his grandfather would tell him of Heaven. One day they were walking in the peach orchard and Johnny had a question.
What happens when we die?
Well, I suppose we go to Heaven.
Where is Heaven?
I don't know, Johnny.
Is that where my daddy went?
I like to believe so, Johnny.
Johnny had no more to say after that, though he often wondered of God and Jesus. Months went by and Johnny's life was good. He had fun spending time
with his grandfather and meeting new friends at the kindergarten class. One day his grandfather picked him up from school in his truck. As they
approached home on the long dirt driveway to the farm, William looked over at Johnny who was looking out at the fields of corn.
Johnny, I love you so much and never forget it.
I know, Pop Pop. I love you too.
Johnny, never forget what I'm about to tell you.
What's that Pop Pop?
Always have an open heart.
To let love come in.
And let God out?
Not let God out, share God with others.
Share God with others.
The fall was one of good harvest for the farm; it brought in a decent amount of profit for the family. The ate what they grew and sold what was
considered surplus. William could be found tending to the fields every morning quite early. He did this with a furious intensity; always striving to
get the work done his way.
The leaves changed to different hue and eventually fell to the ground as the cold winds blew into their lives. It was a frigid, winter friday when
Johnny was at school. His grandfather was supposed to pick him up from school on this particular day. The bell rang signifying the end of the day and
Johnny pranced elegantly out the doors with the rest of his class. To his surprise, his mother was there to pick him up in her car.
Where's Pop Pop, Mom?
Come on, Johnny. Pop Pop is sick.
What do you mean, Mom?
Pop Pop had a heart attack.
Is he okay?
They don't know yet, Johnny.
Johnny began to sob uncontrollably on the way to the hospital. He knew things were probably not well, yet he held onto hope. The perfect white halls
of the hospital seemed to give a flicker of hope. Johnny thought that if they kept the halls so nice that the patients would get ever better care.
In the room laying motionless on the bed was his grandfather, whom he loved so much. The prognosis wasn't good apparently as his grandmother, Maria,
muffled her weeping in the corner by his bedside. His grandfather, his idol, was stricken in a paralyzed state as Maria told Johnny to give him a hug
Go on and give Pop Pop a kiss, Johnny.
To help him get better, right?
Yes, Johnny, that's right.
As they went back up to the room, they found Maria crying outside. Johnny seeing her visibly upset tried to run into the room but his mother stopped
Pop Pop! He exclaimed as tears ran uncontrollably down his cheek.
A few days later they held his grandfather's funeral. Johnny sat on a chair near the casket with his head down as though this was all his fault. No
hugs from his aunts and uncles and cousins could cure the empty feeling that he felt. Suddenly, a group of veterans came in to view the casket of
their fallen brethren. It became apparent to Johnny that his grandfather was just being called home; his duty was done. There was no reason to weep. A
old bearded fellow, branding an army uniform, approached Johnny whilst fighting the sniffles.
And you must be Johnny, the man said.
I'm Thomas, a good friend of your grandfather
Nice to meet you.
Your grandfather always talked about you, you sure do look like him when he was a boy.
Oh, yes. You're a spitting image and don't forget that. You now carry the flag of your fathers.
I will try my best.
That's all you can do.
The man smiled and patted him on the head. It was at the funeral when Johnny felt the need to salute his grandfather, almost wishing him a speedy
journey home from his final tour of duty. He taught him so much in the short time with him. As the harsh snow fell about them and the somber sound of
Taps played in the cold air, Johnny put the final Rose on his grandfather's casket. A fitting end to a life in perfect bloom.
Basically, I didn't write part II yet because I'm not sure if anyone would be interested in it. If there is, I will write what I have planned. Please
don't be harsh :O. Nice comments/constructive criticism is welcome.
edit on 4-9-2011 by JoeDaShom because: (no reason given)
edit on 4-9-2011 by JoeDaShom because: (no reason given)