He looks ordinary, slouched on the chair in the waiting room of his neighborhood garage: sparse hairs dot his bulbous head like winter stubble; beady eyes wink from fleshy folds; buttons of his faded shirt pinch his abdomen; beefy hands twitch upon his plank-like thighs; worn trousers hide his scuffed sneakers.

Grief has shadowed him throughout life: a retired firefighter in the City of St. Louis, a husband and father, deaths of a son, a daughter, a grandson, and recently his wife to lung cancer. Companioned by numerous shaggy mutts over the years, Scott also had to be put down. Heart surgeries, related to his diabetes, have stitched more life into his old bones. He makes light of his cataracts.

Indeed, his life-lessons, like the winepress, have juiced him to a pulp. Yet he still smiles, his spirit heady with joy. In his gravelly voice lies an unmistaken lilt.

He chugs home in his rusty station wagon to savor the next moment.

His name is Earl.

Of such is the Kingdom of God!

 

 

 

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