Fathers Day 1970


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Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This is an old story to some, but an always story to me.

Today is Fathers Day. It was 39 years ago today that I came to live in Florida. There was no plan to it-the night before I had no idea I would be standing hundreds of miles from where I was at the moment.

I always maintain that it was angels that took over the operation of my life that night-39 years ago. The day before I had been interrogated by detectives-I fear I was going to jail. I was guilty of being strong-armed into stealing for another employee at a department store we worked at.

It was easy for someone to strong-arm me. I had been taught the lessons of how to avoid pain while in barracks D-there I was strong-armed into doing myriad sickening things.

I know the detectives promised I was going to jail. The only comfort they gave me was to turn in the other man and things would go easier for me.

All I could see was barracks D. Jail would have sealed my fate-I would have been broken more there.

The detectives gave me the weekend to think about it.

I don’t even know how I ended up at the going away party. I did not even know the fellow the party was for-his purpose for being in my life  lasted less than 24 hours. His part was facilitated by the angels.

It was the days of blue highways. Interstate 95 was hardly existent between Richmond and South Carolina so he drove us through what are now called the back roads-once upon a time the real highway.

I can’t even really explain how I got the ride-that is why my only explaination is because of the angels. We reached Jacksonville right after daylight. By this point it had already been explained to me that my driver was picking up some cousins and they were going to a beach camp their family owned-I was not invited,but the offer of a ride further south was offered.

They took me from Jacksonville to Gainesville-from there they cut east towards the beach. They dropped me off at the intersection-the only harbor was a cemetery tucked in behind a tall white wall hidden with ivy and shrubs.

I spent my first day in Florida in a Jewish cemetery-Fathers Day 1970.

I want to explain-I gained nothing by what was stolen back home. Another person recognized that I could be controlled-and that person used me to steal for him. Stealing is not something I wanted to do-I was forced with my arm twisted behind my back to swipe money from cash boxes. I had only three months before been released from duty in the Navy-my last two months were spent in a detention barracks-and there I became a victim and spent nearly all of that time with my arm twisted behind my back and forced to do things I never wanted to do.

The cemetery was a place of peace!

My instinct had me call a man I knew from home-he had been kind to me in the past and some how I knew I could trust him. The phone call was the grace shown by angels-my friend had a brother that lived in a small town near where I was…I had a place to go.

The evening of Fathers Day I saw the sunset standing in that graveyard. Later that night my friends brother came and rescued me. He took me to the town of Micanopy. In the dark it was not easy to see how small the place really was-but coming from Washington DC the day before this town was asleep at 9 PM.

I woke the following day to the sounds of the street in front of the building where I had slept. The peacefulness of the sounds and the smells-and the view of a small quaint town was there waiting.

I met people there that influenced me the rest of my life. Peaceful good people. I know it was angels that led me here.

Today is my day to visit the cemetery. I’ve gone there almost every year-last year I could not gain entry,this year I have the combination for the lock…39 years ago it was open to all-but time has changed everything.

I never want to loose grasp of what happened-and why everything is the way it is. To spend my first day of the beginning of my new life in the graveyard was majestic in its doing-the way the angels arranged that lesson. To awake the following day in the surroundings that greeted me-all of that finely orchestrated in a heavenly way to save me from what could have been if I returned to talk to the detectives.

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