“My fourth novel, Lost Legacy, is a historical fiction story revealing how our past legacy inescapably shapes who we are today. The characters in the story, both fictional and actual, play out their drama in this story about McIntosh County’s storied Georgia coastal region which to this day remains cursed by its past, according to many of their residents.” T.M. Brown
A Legacy of Memories
By T. M. Brown
Time crept. Minutes became hours. Every attempt to capture any semblance of actual sleep proved futile. Capitulation arrived shortly after four when I poured a cup of coffee and sat down in the living room.
The bulletin from last evening’s service bookmarked the passage Arnie referenced in his message, but my Bible soon rested open on my lap. I massaged my eyes and petitioned, “Okay Lord, what’re you trying to share with me?”
When I read one more time, “I have seen you in your sanctuary…” my thoughts went into overdrive. I lowered my Bible again, laid my glasses on top, and stared at the colorless shadows beyond the window.
Stumped, I placed my glasses back on my nose and shut my Bible. As the pages flopped together, the bulletin floated onto my lap. I slipped it inside the front cover just as the sound of a stifled yawn drew my attention.
Rubbing her eyes, Liddy mumbled, “How long have you been up?”
I got up from my recliner and pointed to the kitchen table. “Sit down, and I’ll pour you some coffee. Did I wake you?”
Liddy propped her chin on the palms of her hands. “Nooo… I rolled over to cuddle but found only your pillow. Anything wrong?”
I placed a cup of coffee in front of her, topped off my own and then sat across from her.
“No, nothing’s wrong. I couldn’t get rid of a dream that haunted me through the night, so I got up and read a bit. I hoped I might at least understand why I couldn’t dismiss it and fall back to sleep.”
Still groggy, she wrinkled her nose. “Hun, you’re just getting too stressed over this Jessie Masterson and John Priestly project of yours.”
“Just hold one sec. Let me show you something.” I fetched my Bible, opened it and pulled out the bulletin again to bookmark the passage, but my circled reminder, “Sanctuary,” caught my eye.
Liddy raised her head off her palm. “What’s the matter?”
“Hmm… you’re probably right. It’s just my imagination working overtime, I reckon.”
My lopsided grin lingered as I recalled why I wrote the reminder. “How would you feel ‘bout you and I looking into helping to restart Sanctuary?”
She pulled the bulletin from my grasp and carefully inspected it, and then inquired, “Do ya think Pete and the others would be interested? I mean, we literally couldn’t restart it on our own.”
“Of course not. I didn’t mean we’d lead it but offer support from behind the scenes. I bet Mary, Jeannie, and likely Phillip would be interested in the idea.”
Liddy fiddled with her cup in one hand, holding the bulletin in the other. “It actually could be a great idea. It’d serve as a remarkable legacy to Jessie. Not to mention, we could do it together.” Liddy grabbed my hands, kissed them, and looked back up with a confident smile. “Want some breakfast?”
“Yeah, but only toast for me. We’ve got Thanksgiving dinner at Harold’s to look forward to today.”
# # #
We left for Harold’s around one thirty. As we passed Adams Feed and Hardware, Liddy said, “Let’s not forget, we need to stop there. How about Saturday?”
“Absolutely. We’re going to need a bunch of new Christmas decorations this year anyway.”
Liddy craned her neck as we passed. “Hey! There’s the fresh load of Christmas trees still on the trailer too. Saturday… It’s a date.”
We followed Megan’s easy-to-read directions and turned onto River Road as we left town. A few minutes later we pulled in front of an impressive gated entrance.
“Well, I guess we’re here.”
I lowered my window and pushed the red call button on the speaker. A polite voice promptly responded, “One moment please.”
The black wrought iron gates crept open seconds later.
The oak-lined drive wound back and around to Harold’s two-story estate home complete with an oversized detached three-car garage. Harold’s secretary waited on the front steps as we exited our vehicle. She waved and greeted us with a warm smile.
Liddy and I walked hand-in-hand to the grand front entrance. “Megan… what a surprise,” I said with a slightly puzzled look.
Megan smiled and said, “Mister Phillips, good to see you again. This must be Missus Phillips.”
I glanced at Liddy’s surprised expression. “Liddy, this is Megan from Harold’s office. She’s the young lady who dropped off the directions that guided us here so precisely.”
Liddy offered her hand. “Pleasure to meet you, Megan. Your directions were most helpful. Thank you. Are you joining us today?”
Megan giggled beneath her hand, masking a coy smile. “Why yes ma’am. I live here.” She received Liddy’s hand and then declared matter-of-factly, “Harold’s my father-in-law.”
“Which Archer are you married to, if I may ask,” I said.
“Hank’s my husband. I believe you’ve met him.”
“Why yes. In fact, we’ve met all of Harold’s sons and can tell he’s quite proud of them all.”
We removed our coats in the foyer and admired the double stairwell leading upstairs from opposite sides of the expansive front entry. A wide hallway led into a massive great room with seating on each side of a floor to ceiling, stone open-hearth fireplace. Two sets of patio doors on either side provided access to the veranda. Panoramic window panes offered an unobstructed, breathtaking view of the manicured fenced yard, rolling hills, and distant meadows.
Megan broke the silence. “Beautiful, isn’t it? I just can’t get enough of it either.”
Liddy recovered from her open-mouth stare. “Is all this part of your family’s property? It’s absolutely breathtaking and beautiful, as is this house as well.”
Megan smiled with a rehearsed nod and pointed to two imposing tan suede leather sofas. “Please join me. Harold’s upstairs and will join us shortly. He asked me to keep you company.”
Liddy, a pro at small talk, put on her most polite, inquisitive smile. “Megan, excuse me, but I was just wondering if you and Hank have any children.”
Megan’s smile tensed. “No, ma’am. Not yet, but Hank and I expect to surprise Harold soon. We just celebrated our fourth anniversary, and hope to be in our own house that’ll include a nursery by the time we celebrate our next anniversary.”
I said, “I bet Harold will make a proud grandpa. There’s nothing like it.”
Megan wrung her folded hands, though her posture and tone appeared relaxed.
Liddy rescued Megan and asked about the new house.
Megan’s tentativeness eased as she spoke. “Hank and I plan to build on the property Harold set aside as our wedding gift.” She pointed out the picture window behind her. “You can’t see it well from here, but it’s just beyond those trees. It’s a beautiful piece of property with a view of Shiloh Creek, ideally suited to raise a family.”
I smiled and nodded.
“Mister Phillips, how many children do you have?”
“Please, Theo and Liddy.”
“Why thank you, Theo.” She turned to Liddy. “And, Liddy is such a pretty name. Is it short for Lydia?”
Liddy blushed as she nodded. “Yes, it is.”
Megan said, “Lydia’s one of my favorite names. In the Bible, Lydia was a strong and confident business women who helped launch a church.”
Liddy’s reddened cheeks grew as she smiled and sat an inch taller in her seat. She knew the story of Lydia from Philippi well and enjoyed the image of her namesake.
Liddy held up two fingers and said, “We have two wonderful grown sons, and they’ll be visiting Shiloh with their families for Christmas.”
“That’s wonderful. Bet you’re anxious and counting the days.” Megan sighed. “As for me, I was born and raised right here in good ol’ Shiloh. My mom and dad still live just outside of town. And since I don’t have any brothers or sisters, mom regularly harps about any news regarding the prospect of their first grandchild.”
Uncomfortable, awkward silence followed before I changed the subject. “I’m not sure if Harold said anything, but did you know I’m working on a story about Jessie Masterson? Since you were raised here, I’d love to talk about your experiences and memories related to Coach Masterson. I imagine he was at Shiloh High when you went there.”
Megan beamed with the mention of Jessie, but an exuberant laugh interrupted our conversation.
Harold looked down from the balcony rail. “Theo! Liddy! I see you’re enjoying the company of my charming and talented daughter-in-law.”
Liddy and I both rose to our feet as he approached. He shook my hand and gave Liddy a generous smile.
“Mista’ Harold, you and your guests, ‘bout ready?” said Harold’s matronly gray-haired African-American housekeeper. She stood patiently at the doorway leading onto the veranda wearing a traditional white broad collared maid’s uniform with a starched apron.
“Maddie, if you’re about ready out there, I reckon we’re ready.”
With a little huff, Maddie said, “Come on then. I’ve been waitin’ on you folks, Master Harold, and I’m sure these nice folks has been waitin’ on you.” She opened the door and pointed to a table all set for us.
Harold sat at the head of the table, and we sat across from Megan. A plump, partially-carved roasted turkey accompanied by butter beans, green beans, collards, mashed potatoes, a sweet potato casserole, dressing and both pumpkin and pecan pies covered the other end of the table.
Harold pulled a bottle of Chenin Blanc off the side cart behind him and popped the cork. He rotated the label for us to see.
I smiled. “Yes, looks like a nice wine choice, thank you, Harold,” and then he filled four crystal glasses and passed them to each of us.
I took a sip pretending to know a little about savoring wines. I offered a modest grin of approval. Liddy took a smaller sip and smiled politely towards our host before she placed the wine glass down and nonchalantly reached for her glass of tea.
“I’m glad y’all approve. Thought it’d be an appropriate complement to Maddie’s honey-basted turkey.” Harold extended his arms wide, drawing attention to Maddie as she prepared a plate for each of us.
As I waited for my plate to arrive, I said, “Harold, this is a nice treat, and the Lord certainly gave us a beautiful day to eat outside like this.” I then pointed to his immaculate lawn and gardens. “How do you find time to take care of all this? I’m jealous.”
Harold’s laughter filled the veranda. “I’m far too busy. We’ve got a regular crew that maintains the grounds around here for us. But Theo, it’s me who’s jealous. You’ve done wonders with the old Priestly home. It’s obvious, y’all don’t mind getting your hands dirty.”
Maddie laid a full plate in front of me, careful not to disturb the pan gravy that floated atop the cornbread dressing and mashed potatoes. “I hope you ladies and gentlemens are hungree.” She pointed at the far end of the table. “There’s plenty more but leave room for some pie, and I’ll be right back if ya needs me.”
Harold applauded. “Maddie, mm, mm…you’ve outdone yourself, once again. Thank you.”
Liddy said, “Yes. Thank you, Miss Maddie.” Maddie’s round cheeks blushed as she stepped away.
Throughout the meal, Harold directed the conversation and offered an endless history of the house and the property that had been passed down to him. He boasted about his family’s long history in Shiloh that began not long after the Civil War ended.
He looked at Megan with a twinkle in his eye. “And it looks like Hank and Megan will be the first of my sons to build their own home. I’ve little doubt that Megan’s ready to move into her own house after putting up with four men coming and going all the time.”
Megan‘s cheeks turned pink, but she continued to focus on the food in front of her.
After we finished eating, Maddie reappeared over each of our shoulders and set a white coffee carafe on the table. “Missus Phillips, would you like pum’kin or pee-kan or maybe a little of each with your coffee?”
Maddie served each of us with the same soft voice question. She wasted no time or motion as she efficiently tended to each of us. She then loaded each of our dirty plates along with the leftovers onto her wooden serving cart and rolled it away.
Between nibbles, Megan shared stories about serving as Harold’s administrative assistant. She left little doubt that she enjoyed the status of the position, and Harold glowed as Megan told stories about him.
At a point during the playful and respectful roasting from Megan, Harold pushed his chair out from the end of the table, grabbed his empty dessert plate in one hand and leaned toward me. “Theo, now you’ll see why I struggle with my weight.” A jolly laugh followed him to the other end of the table.
Megan’s stories continued as her eyes appeared to scold Harold.
“Ah come on Megan, it’s Thanksgiving. You know Maddie always serves me just a tiny piece anyway,” Harold said before he gobbled down a loaded forkful of pecan pie and tapped his belly. “Um, good. Don’t you agree, Theo?”
I looked at Liddy, leaned back in my chair and tapped my stomach. “As for me, if I ate another bite, I’d bust, not to mention Liddy will make me walk home.”
After our dessert plates disappeared, Harold stood. “Megan, why don’t you offer Liddy a tour of the house and the grounds while Theo and me take a drive around the property.”
Liddy smiled at Megan and nodded, then I looked at Harold and said, “Sounds great to me.”
Before Harold and I walked away, he said to Megan, “We’ll probably be a couple of hours. I’ve got my phone if you need to reach me.” Then he looked at me. “We’ll go in my truck if that’s okay with you?”
“Sure,” I said as I looked over my shoulder and saw Liddy and Megan disappear into the house. “Harold, you’ve got a great daughter-in-law.”
A slight grin appeared on Harold’s face. “If only you knew how exceptional she truly is. That boy of mine doesn’t deserve her. There’re times I wonder why she puts up with him. I hope they’ll settle down soon because I just couldn’t do what I do without her.”
Harold pushed his truck’s key fob as we approached the garage, and his black dually’s diesel engine roared to life. “Door’s unlocked. Hop in. You can just toss my satchel in the back somewhere.” Country music already filled the cab but thankfully more appealing to my ears than Hank’s taste.
I adjusted my seat and buckled up. “Harold, this is nice. I’m impressed.” I ran my hand over the personalized logo burnt into the chaparral leather that covered the center console.
“I put a lot of time in my truck. Being mayor and all the other stuff I’m involved with around town; I figured long ago that I might as well enjoy my ride, don’t you agree?” He maneuvered the huge dually onto the gravel road and drove us to what he referred to as the Pine Groves. When we arrived, we stretched our legs along the path that wound through the property.
Harold boasted about the work involved in the maintenance of a profitable harvest of timber. I admired the patience and persistence required to cultivate and harvest pine trees.
“Harold, clearly your family’s been a big part of this community, and you’ve well-established deep roots on this property and in town.”
“That’s true. The family still owns 500 acres, but going way back, we once owned two thousand of the most fertile acres that ever produced cotton and peanuts in these parts. There’s been an Archer on this land since General Sherman served as military governor of Georgia. Sadly, though, my great, great grandfather sold much of the property during some tough times that ravaged the plantation owners around here about 100 years ago. Although he did hold onto the most fertile acreage.”
“How did your family end up in Shiloh? It’s been my impression that your family’s always been here.”
Harold hesitated before continuing in a loud whisper. “Shh… we’ve Yankee roots. My family migrated from Pennsylvania. The story goes, not long after the war ended, my great, great, great grandfather heard about the abundance of fertile plantation land being auctioned off for taxes, so he sold his farm near Gettysburg, packed up and came here.”
The word “carpetbagger” crept into my mind, but I kept that thought to myself. “I imagine he bought the land for pennies on the dollar. Although much of the original land got sold off, I’m sure you’re still proud to one day pass your family’s land and heritage on to your sons.”
Harold smiled and nodded.
Visit http://tmbrownauthor.com/shop to order your copy of SANCTUARY, A Legacy of Memories, or any of the SHILOH MYSTERY stories.
Small Southern towns go all out for Christmas, and little old Shiloh exemplifies that kind of Christmas Spirit tradition. Here are two video readings inspired by fun scenes in Sanctuary, A Legacy of Memories and the conclusion of Testament, An Unexpected Return.
Please enjoy and consider ordering any or all three of the Shiloh Mystery Novels as a holiday gift to a friend, family member, or yourself. These “all-audience” stories offer hours of memorable moments that will keep you wishing you could visit Shiloh for yourself.
2020 has proven to be a challenging year for all of us between the pandemic and politics. We all deserve an escape! So, order your copies today, in Kindle or paperback, and allow your imagination to travel to South Georgia along the Flint River and a short drive below Albany to little old Shiloh. Theo & Liddy will introduce you to some special friends of theirs eager to greet you and share gossip about their time-lost community.
To order your copies of the Shiloh Mystery novels visit the bookstore tab.
May all y’all enjoy a fruitful and safe Halloween 2020… Remember 2021 is just around the corner. Its got to get better for all of us.
More about “Who is T. M. Brown” comes out in this extensive interview? Susan Crutchfield, Director of the Newnan Carnegie Library, hosted T. M. Brown on August 22nd for an up-close and personal look into his writing and background. Here is the broadcast to learn more about Mike, as his friends and family know him.
All three of T. M. Brown’s Souther fiction novels are available at the library as a set for only $49.95 with 25% of the proceeds benefiting the library. Visit https://www.newnancarnegie.com for more information.
Do You Have Other Questions About Who is T. M. Brown?
What else would you be interested in learning about T. M. Brown? What questions might you like to ask? Email Mike directly and he’ll be glad to answer them and add your inquiries to a future post, and may also use them in a future online live video.
Which Shiloh Mystery Novels Do You Need to Order?
For quick links to where you can purchase the Kindle or Paperback editions, please visit T. M. Brown’s Bookstore link
All three Shiloh Mystery Novels are eligible for the Kindle Unlimited program on Amazon.
Thank you for taking the time to visit my webpage and I hope you’ll subscribe to future newsletters and email updates. During these unprecedented and uncomfortable times, we all need a reprieve from the daily news and uncertainty in our lives. Whether you venture into Shiloh for some welcome respite, please know there are a host of great novels out there to escape the daily chaos and confusion we all face.
Trust God and know better days are ahead. Stay safe.
Mike… a.k.a. T. M. Brown, Southern Inspirational Author
P. S. Watch for news of what’s next now that the Shiloh Mystery Series is completed. Hint: I am not sure Theo and Liddy Phillips are through finding their way into another mystery or two.
Here’s a bonus link to an engaging and mind-probing interview hosted by Linda Shenton Matchett, a fellow ACFW and Sisters-in-Crime author. This is the second she has done with me over the past two years. Enjoy and feel free to share it with your friends.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Talkshow Thursday: Welcome Back Mike Brown
Linda: Welcome back! Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your latest release Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest (Shiloh Mystery Series, Book 3). What was your inspiration for the plot of this book? Did you already have it in mind at the beginning of the series?
TM: Each of the three stories blossomed independently, although I capitalized on “bread crumbs” within Sanctuary to feed Testament’s story premise, and similarly, Testament to Purgatory. Otherwise, my characters progressed and developed throughout the series as would be expected over a course of three years. Still, I only knew how they would change as I began to write each story. In fact, I enjoyed looking back at each character from being introduced to the end of Purgatory—many experienced intriguing transformations.
LM: Are any of your characters based on you or people you know? How do you come up with ideas for your characters?
TM: Yes, in some ways, Theo Phillips and his wife Liddy are much like my wife and I, according to many readers who know us. And yes, we have two sons who have given us five beautiful grandchildren who happen to coincide in age and personalities with their counterparts in the stories. Otherwise, my characters were birthed from my fertile imagination. I went through great pains to give them their initial personalities with their flaws and strengths. However, they all went through some methodical changes as the stories came together—some more noticeable than others. All my characters were works in progress, just like we all are in real life.
LM: What is your writing routine? (E.g., do you listen to music, set up in a certain place, etc.)?
TM: My writing is usually accomplished in isolation with barely audible mood music breaking home’s silence. My wife generally fills her day with work or social activities to allow me to work uninterrupted when working on my manuscript. When she is at home, she usually stays busy in her craft room at the other end of the house. After dinner, she lends an ear to listen to me read whatever I wrote during the day—an excellent exercise for writers. However, what I described only occurs when I am actively writing a manuscript. Otherwise, outside of working on a story, my writing routine is rather willy-nilly and catch-as-catch-can.
LM: What is one thing you wish you knew how to do?
TM: Keep up with some of the ever-changing writing and grammar rules. The rules have changed quite a bit since I paid attention in high school six decades ago. Thus, I have relied on a talented and patient writing coach/editor over the past six or so years. Otherwise, Oxford and Chicago are just great places to visit in my mind.
LM: What was your favorite book when you were growing up?
TM: This covers many years and a host of books I have consumed throughout my life. Since this is about my novel writing, I venture to say, Nordhoff and Hall’s “The Bounty Trilogy” (Mutiny on the Bounty-1933, Men Against the Sea-1933, and Pitcairn’s Island-1934) stands out; a gift from my mother. Though I read it in high school, it remains my number one response whenever anyone asks this question. I have to thank my mother for providing me with the thirst for reading I have enjoyed over my lifetime.
LM: Here are some quickies:
TM: Coffee or Tea? Coffee is the fuel of my inspiration each day. Walking, biking, or driving: I prefer driving in the country, but engage in walking once I arrive at my destination. Ocean or mountains? Oceanside vacations edge out mountain cabin retreats.
LM: Can you tell us about Hometown Novel Nights and how that came about?
TM: When I first began creative writing from my home in Georgia, I found all the networking with other authors required trips into Greater Atlanta and beyond. Even ACFW’s closest chapter is two hours north of my home. I still find myself venturing up I-85 for many conferences and book events to this day for the lion’s share of my author activities. Then I walked into the Lewis Grizzard and Erskine Caldwell Museum in Moreland, Georgia—a short five miles from my home. There I began to learn of so many other talented authors who suffered the journey into Atlanta for attention and activities. A few of us decided to see if we could get a local audience interested in meeting and listening to some local authors I had met. Our first program proved promising for all concerned. A handful of us got together and discovered plenty of nascent and experienced authors of various genres who were interested in signing up for a monthly series of events that featured three-author panels. Two years later, sans the recent disruption of public events, The Hometown Novel Nights program has introduced over forty authors to monthly audiences in now four venues covering west-central Georgia below Atlanta. Our most significant and prestigious host site has been the historic Carnegie Library in downtown Newnan, GA. As soon as this COVID crisis subsides again, we are eager to gear right back up.
LM: What’s your next project?
TM: I want to stretch myself with a story I have envisioned writing since studying Church History in seminary years ago. An enigmatic New Testament character is Joseph of Arimathea. He is mentioned in each Gospel but only briefly as he plays a significant role in the burial of Jesus before he suddenly disappears in history, except for legends and lore. He even acquired sainthood in the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Anglican churches, yet the Bible nor history more about him. My story will be a speculative fiction account covering shortly after Calvary until the Siege of Jerusalem—forty-years. It will be a mind-provoking, what-if tale of a man who finds himself sought after by the Jews, Christians, and Romans. He has been linked to the legendary Holy Grail. Yet, was it the chalice Jesus used at the Last Supper, rumored to have held the blood of Christ? I guess you’ll have to wait to find out what my research has stirred up.
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?
TM:TMBrownAuthor.com Facebook- @T.M.BrownAuthor Instagram- @T.M.Brown.Author Pinterest- @TMBrownAuthor Linked In- @t-m-mike-brown YouTube- @T.M. Brown (Shiloh Mystery Series)
After Theo and Liddy retired to the small Georgia town of Shiloh, they expected a quieter life, but when Theo becomes the investigative reporter for the local Sentinel, he discovers that small towns can be just as dangerous as big cities for people devoted to seeking the truth. Having narrowly escaped a brush with death in Purgatory, Theo tackles what he hopes will be an easier investigation: helping the orphaned Pepper come to grips with her scandalous mother’s past. But when an armored limousine purchased by Theo’s friend and neighbor Zeb brings another spate of shady characters to Shiloh, Theo finds himself in the middle of unexpected danger, building to an explosive conclusion days before the town’s Independence Day celebrations.
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0889P53BY
Posted by Linda Matchett (follow the link to learn more about Linda)
Georgia Writers Museum — A Timely Reminder of Our Past
In light of our country’s ongoing strife to defeat racism in America, there is an institution that embraces the giftedness and contributions of ALL Georgia authors. Inside the Georgia Writer’s Museum, you will discover three diverse featured authors associated with this Eatonton, Georgia landmark — Joel Chandler Harris, Flannery O’Connor, and Alice Walker. Many other noteworthy Georgia writers adorn the walls and exhibits of the museum, each selected for the body of their writing as the only criteria.
The streets of our country need to resemble the camaraderie and mutual respect that reside within the publishing world. Where else might you find the diversity of thought among the stories of our country’s checkered past.
In my humble assessment, the vast diversity of voices found on bookshelves that adorn our homes, fill our libraries, and flood our community bookstores more than not reflect this truth:
We should never attempt to erase the regrets of our past, nor censure the hopes of a better future. Change can only be nurtured and shaped in the present where regrets ignite the flames of hope.
Acceptance of new thought and story opens eyes and minds to the possibilities that reside in the hearts of our society. Every voice should be free to be heard without fear of being drowned out by the intolerance of others. We may not all agree with one another, but we can respect the value of diversity in our Country–it is the very fabric that binds us as a nation.
We need more institutions like the Georgia Writers Museum to remind us of this truth.
(Portraits by Lake Country Artist Chris Cook)
Look! Virtual Mini Tours!
Learn more about our featured local writers, Harris, O’Connor and Walker. Filled with facts and stories, the tours are informative, fun, but not too long! Check back each week as we add new episodes. Current videos available for viewing:
Coming next: Harris After Turnwold
Joel Chandler Harris
UGA Hargrett LIbraries Georgia Writers
Hall of Fame
(Click on the logo above to learn more about the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame)
|Dear Shiloh. Mystery Fans,|
With Fathers Day right around the corner, I thought it apropos to share an excerpt from my latest and the final story in the Shiloh Mystery series — Purgatory, A Progeny’s Quest. Although “fatherhood” is important throughout all three Shiloh novels, in Purgatory it is a central theme. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 25 as Shiloh celebrates Father’s Day from Chapter 25:…
After the choir marched down the center aisle and took their places behind Arnie on the platform, Hillary, Judy, Megan, and Pepper escorted the children into the sanctuary. Arnie stepped from his pulpit chair and sat among the youngsters on the platform steps. Jessie wriggled in Megan’s arms and cried out with his arms extended toward Andy sitting beside Pete on the front row. Pete smiled while Andy appeared caught between his urge to respond and Megan’s effort to distract Jessie.
Lizzie and Lucy Arians sat on either side of Arnie as he addressed the congregation. “The Bible declares that children are to obey and honor both their parents. Only last month we honored the mothers in our midst. So today it’s the fathers who are being so honored.” Arnie glanced at one-year-old Jessie and smiled at Andy. “Some fathers are just beginning to understand the daunting challenge ahead of them. For others here today, your children are now honoring you because they now have developed a growing appreciation of the love you have invested in them over their lifetime.”
Arnie winked at Hillary. “On this Father’s Day, I’d like to express as best as I can, as a father myself, why living up to the expectations our Heavenly Father has placed upon us isn’t always easy. To begin with, I believe it’s safe to say, there’s not a father in this room today who can declare they raised their children without any regrets along the journey. However, the love that grows between a caring father and his children serves as the salve that heals all wounds inflicted along the way. It’s also true, fathering a child does not make you a father. Becoming a father is one of choice, not a consequence.”
Liddy nudged me with her elbow and whispered, “Is Pepper crying?”
Arnie then said, “I’d like to take this time to suggest, if it’s possible, talk to your father today. Thank him for loving you. For those who are unable to talk to their father, remember that God’s your Heavenly Father. He promised to stand in the gap for those who lack a father’s love in their life. During our fellowship time, parents, please make room for your children to sit with you this morning. This is not a day to be separated.”
Marie Masterson stepped to the pulpit microphone. While she sang How Deep the Father’s Love for Us as Mary accompanied her, the children followed the choir members as they stepped off the platform and found seats with their families. When Marie finished, Arnie shared an embrace with her before she sat beside Pete at the end of our pew.
While Arnie reminded the church about the Cooperative Fellowship Music Jamboree next Saturday evening, I looked at Pepper who had squeezed in between Hank and Phillip. She hung onto every word Arnie said, holding Hank’s and Phillip’s hands.
When Arnie said, “Amen” to close the service, Pepper left her seat and gave Liddy and me hugs. During our embrace, I said, “Thank you for your special gift and card.”
Pepper’s eyes watered. “I may never know who my real father was, but I hope you don’t mind me saying that you’ve been an excellent father for me since I arrived.”
Hank offered his arm to Pepper and said, “We need to catch up to Hal across the street in City Hall. He’s waiting for us to go to dinner.”
WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED FOR FATHER’S DAY THIS YEAR? HOW WILL YOU REMIND YOUR FATHER OR FATHER OF YOUR CHILDREN HOW VALUED AND IMPORTANT HE IS TO YOU?
Thanks for investing in the Shiloh Mystery novels.
T. M. “Mike” Brown
Please visit my Facebook Author Page @TMBrownAuthor for the up-to-date latest about my coming book tour and many of the independent book retail locations where you can purchase any of the Shiloh Mystery Books. I will be updating my webpage with additional information that you might enjoy, i.e. character lists for each story and recent reviews. You can also contact me with questions, comments, or inquiries about visiting your local area or book club group.