When my daddy was born they named him James Edward Wilcox. His twin sister was called Luna Katherine Wilcox. Both babies were healthy when they were born but at three months old they developed pneumonia. Luna Kathryn was the stronger baby of the two but she died before she was six months. Many thought scrawny little Jimmy didn’t have a chance.
My daddy lived.
My daddy never stopped looking for his baby sister. They had bonded for nine months inside my grandmother Bertha’s womb. Luna Katherine’s absence left a deep sadness on my daddy. He grieved for her 62 years. Often he wondered if his life would have been happier if his sister hadn’t died.
While playing on the farm my five year old daddy was infected by a rusty nail. The Tetanus vaccine wasn’t invented yet. Within a few days he couldn’t open his jaws. He had Lockjaw. If he hadn’t lost a couple of baby teeth before it happened he might have died. The gap left in his mouth from the missing teeth allowed him to sip nourishment through a straw. For days Jimmy’s little body fought the fever, spasms, stiffness and pain.
My daddy escaped death.
When my daddy was sixteen he accidently fell off his horse while riding. His slim frame landed on something hard and bruised his hip. Every time he thought it had healed the infection returned with a vengeance. When the doctor used a long needle to drain the pus from deep inside his hip my daddy started getting better.
My daddy cheated death.
At twenty-two with flat feet my daddy joined the Army. He trained as an Army tel-communicator in San Francisco. His job would allow him to travel in enemy territory with his regiment and keep headquarters informed of their position and situation. While in training he started going to the chapel on base and gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was baptized before he shipped out over seas to fight in WWII.
During the bloody Battle of Okinawa several of Jimmy’s buddies died all around him. The shock of seeing their lifeless bodies and open eyes would haunt my daddy for a long time.
During an attack my daddy and his buddy jumped into a foxhole to avoid flying bullets. A Japanese soldier leaped over their heads to the other side of their foxhole. He shot my daddy’s friend but not my daddy then he took off.
For years my daddy couldn’t understand why his friend had died that day in that foxhole and not him. He wished he had died instead. His buddy was not ready to meet God.
My daddy experienced a miracle in a foxhole.
When my daddy came home after the war he met my mom and they got married and started having kids. He had one last, life threatening episode with a huge kidney stone that wouldn’t pass. The heavy medication would not relieve the fire of pain raging inside my daddy’s body.
My daddy wanted to die.
At 3 A.M. after tossing and turning my daddy felt someone’s presence in the room. He opened his eyes and starred into the kind face of a stranger. Something was comforting about his kind eyes. He said he was a hospital chaplain and asked my daddy if he could pray for him. Jimmy was so weak he couldn’t whisper so he nodded.
My daddy passed his large kidney stone.
When he woke up the next day at noon my daddy felt great for the first time in weeks. When the nurse peeked in on him he was sitting up in the bed. He told her he was starving. The astonished nurse dropped the bed pan and ran to tell the others. The hospital staff did not see or know of any chaplain on duty in the middle of the night.
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