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“Please open wide,” he said in soothing tones. Goggled, bibbbed, and slightly tilted backwards upon his dental chair, I closed my eyes and prayed, “God’s care,” with each breath. Bit by bit, I felt my body relax, my spirit welcoming God’s hands replacing the filling from my molar that had fallen out. With Jessica’s assistance, the hole was soon filled. A simple procedure, yes, but one that I had dreaded, given my weakness and shortness of breath and coughing spells.

Indeed, I did experience God’s care tending my damaged tooth, yesterday, and for twenty years, his specialty in biological dentistry that informs his practice; it has kept me well with dental products compatible to my bio-chemical make-up—No metals of any kind in my mouth.   

When it was time to part, his eyes smiling, he placed his large hand upon mine and said, “I wish you well.” In that moment, our spirits co-mingled within deep joy, evidence of His healing touch.

His name is Dr. G. Michael Rehme, DDS, located in Town and Country, Missouri. His son Michael, a dentistry practitioner, has recently joined the practice.

The swoosh of frigid air within a hearty welcome jump-started my cane-waking as we pulled open the automatic door at the Y. It was almost too much, my helper supporting my upper arm, until steadied.

Seated upon a plastic chair in the lobby, her thin arms leaning against her housekeeping trolley, she had belted, “Hi! Back again, I see! Good for you!”—the words still echoed down the corridor, her image fixed in my heart: her wide toothless grin, her round eyes accustomed to seeing deeply, her pixie-braided-head jiggling with delight, her bosom creating peaks and valleys beneath her blue uniform shirt. Veined hands still bore the imprint of hard work, from all times.

In a split second, she had revealed her seasoned spirit of having been tossed around Life’s washing machine—when it worked.

I will not forget.

“Come with us, Johnny, and go with us up North, and we will set you free,” said the soldier, his blue uniform cap tilted over his right eye, his knapsack on his back, his long musket over his shoulder. The ten-year-old, astride the mule Nell, thought it wondrous that he knew his name. For almost two years he’d marveled at the troops marching along the road skirting the Clover Bottom plantation near Nashville, Tennessee, where he lived. And now they wanted him to join them. Without a thought, he slipped off Nell’s back. It was done, the year, 1862.

Such changed the direction of John McCline’s life, narrator of Slavery in the Clover Bottoms (Knoxville, University Press, 1998). The Thirteenth Michigan Volunteers became his new home for the rest of the Civil War. A quick learner, affable, willingness, friend with suffering: such childhood traits he continued developing during years of serving others in the white world until his death in 1948.

One of his employers requested him to write his story, given the keen memory of his past. McCline set to work, but for whatever reason, only took it through the war’s end; a six-page addendum touched upon his remaining years. Unfortunately, his feelings or observations of the conflicted history swirling around him are not referenced.

However, for Civil War buffs this narrative provides rich information about Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas and the conclusion of the war. From still another perspective, we evidence the life of a simple honest man, John McCline, among the lowly ones that Jesus so loved.

Available on Amazon

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