Davis, Coach Peggy, Connor and Daisy pulled up into Johnny’s crowded car lot to pick up Davis’ brand new, well not really brand new but new enough, Christmas truck.
They maneuvered carefully around clumps of people milling about the lot, oohing and aahing at the vehicles on display. Some of the happy “shoppers” were looking for just the right sports car to test drive, without any real intention of buying. They just wanted the rush that came with racing down the highway in a fancy sports car that was not their own. Other, more sober couples toting small children, scrutinized family van possibilities with every intention of taking advantage of the Christmas sale advertised on Johnny’s flashy billboard. In red and green Christmas lights it read:
CHRISTMAS SALE UNLIKE ANY OTHER!
40% KNOCKED OFF EVERY VEHICLE ON THE LOT!
DECEMBER 25TH THROUGH JANUARY 1ST
“Does this place e-v-e-r close?” Connor looked around in amazement at the large number of shoppers mingling about.
Davis chuckled. “This is the best time of year to sell cars, son. I don’t think a good salesman would dare close on a day like today.” Davis hopped up the two steps to Johnny’s prefab office building and went inside.
After a few minutes of business, he came back out again jingling the keys to his new truck. “Look what I got!” He jingled the keys over his head once more for all to see.
“Alright!” Peggy cheered. “Now which one is it?” She looked around the lot with Daisy and Connor. They were all wondering which truck Davis had picked out for himself.
“It’s the blue Ranger right there.” Davis pointed and everyone moved with him in that direction. “It’s only got 10,000 miles on it. I’m think ‘in I got a good deal.”
“N-i-i-i-ce,” Connor praised the vehicle as he lightly tapped the tire with his foot. “New tires?”
“Yea, the tires and the paint job are new.” Davis turned to Peggy and smiled. “What ‘cha think purdy Peg? Wanna go for a ride?”
Davis opened the passenger door for her and was going to help her get in but Peggy started laughing. “I’ve been get ‘in in and out of cars for so long, Davis. You don’t have to do that.” She chuckled again as she climbed in.
“I wanna treat you nice Peg, let me,” Davis returned sincerely. He shut the door and stuck his arm in the open window. Taking her hand, he looked intently into her face and repeated his words. “I like treat ‘in you nice, let me, please.”
“O-kay, okay, don’t get all mushy on me. I can’t complain about your drive ‘in if you’re all lovey-dovey,” Peggy mumbled in a flustered tone as she began adjusting her seat to suit her.
Davis chuckled and patted the hood as he hopped around to the driver side and climbed in. “What’s there to complain about? I’m a great driver.”
“Put on your seat belt.” Peggy grinned playfully.
Davis knew, from the way Peggy smiled, that she was planning to have fun with him tonight. He revved the Ranger engine excitedly.
“How many tickets are you plan ‘in to get tonight, speedy,” she giggled.
“None.” Davis turned from Peggy and leaned out the window to speak to Connor. “I’m take ‘in this bossy, hot lady on the ride of her life. Don’t wait up and keep Daisy close to home.”
“You know the rule. You’re supposed to call if you’re out past midnight.” Connor shook his cell phone at his Dad in a joking fashion.
Davis just smiled mischievously as he pulled out of his parking spot and did a slow zig-zag through the sea of car shoppers onto the highway.
Connor looked down at Daisy. “Should I be worried about those two?”
She shrugged her shoulders with a giggle as they walked back to the Firebird. “Not if he follows the same rules he gives you.”
“Did you see ‘that look’ Coach Peggy gave Dad? I’m pretty sure he forgot all his rules right then.” Connor opened Daisy’s door and helped her in.
“They’ll be fine. It’s just us now.”
“That’s right, it’s just us now. They are going for a drive and so are we.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the CD of Daisy’s parents and popped it into the CD player. He pulled out onto the highway and drove in the direction of the coast.
“I’m so glad Pastor’s secretary was able to find this CD after so many years of storage.” Daisy shut her eyes and listened curiously as the voices of her parent’s filled the car. She tried to remember their faces from the photos that she’d seen as they told how they met in the church youth group and received Jesus for the first time.
The words of Daisy’s parents on the CD:
Good evening. As a child, you knew me as Daisy Lynn Burns. Now, you know me as Daisy Lynn Greene, Raymond’s wife. I was born and raised right here in Clearwater, going to this church. My parents and my grandparents went to this church. I went to Sunday school every Sunday and church camp every summer. I grew up knowing about Christ.
I was an only child, just like Raymond. So I imagine I was sheltered and pampered more than other kids. I pretty much got whatever I asked for from my parents. I had no siblings to compete with, fight with, share toys or clothes with. Everything in the house was mine.
My parents could give me a lot of things. But there were a few things they could not give me. They could not give me peace of mind or contentment of heart. I was afraid of a lot of things too. They could not make that fear go away.
I was afraid of being alone.
I was afraid of people I didn’t know.
I was afraid of the future. What would I do when I grew up?
You see, my parents got married very late in life so by the time I hit my teen years, they were already 60 years old. Them getting older, right in front of my eyes, scared me. I was afraid they would die and I would be left alone.
My grandparents died when I was 14 years old. That was really what started me thinking about it.
And as loving and generous as my parents were, they could not take away my fear of being left alone or my fear of what in the world was I going to do when I grew up. I really had no clue of what my future was gonna be. I was scared.
Now, you all know, my two very best friends in the whole wide world are Debbie and Vanessa. I shared my fears with them. They encouraged me to trust in Jesus Christ and give these fears that I was battling with to Him.
It might seem strangely simple to you but that is really all I did. I just confessed my fears to Him and asked Him for help. Confidence, that He was with me, began to rise up in my heart and fear of being along evaporated into just an old ugly memory. I mean, I remember that I was afraid back then but I don’t feel it any more. It’s so simple. I almost feel silly telling you that that is all I did. But that is how my relationship with Jesus began.
Now, I didn’t know Raymond back then. He was an Army brat and didn’t live in Clearwater until his father got stationed here. I met him in high school. He was the new boy on the block. He didn’t know a soul. I felt sorry for him and tried to be his friend at first but his mouth was awful! He could curse the paint right off a wall! That really turned me off, so after the first couple of days of meeting him I quit hanging around him.
Raymond chuckles, slightly embarrassed by that. Then he begins to speak.
She didn’t want to hang around me, but I sure wanted to hang around her. I liked her straight from the get-go. She showed me where all my classes were the first few days of school, but after that she gave me the big brush off. I kept trying to sit with her at lunch time but… it was a big no-go. She snubbed me big time. She broke my heart (Raymond said this all in fun, with a big smile on his face and some playful drama in his voice).
The Congregation laughs at Raymond’s dramatic tone, then he continues.
One Sunday morning I was skateboarding around the neighborhood and I saw her walking across the street to this church with her parents. So, I made it a habit to skate down this road every Sunday morning.
The Congregation laughs again.
After a few Sundays of just skateboarding past her, I finally got up the nerve to approach her and introduce myself to her parents. It was actually her mom that invited me to church. I sort of just tagged along that Sunday. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Daisy wouldn’t say more than hello to me but I followed her around church just like a lost puppy.
The congregation laughs again. Davis and Matt both holler out, “We remember those lost puppy days! We remember!”
After a Sunday or two, I struck up a friendship with Matt Langley and Davis Bailey. I started hanging out with them at church and also at school, instead of following Daisy around.
They encouraged me to quit drinking and cursing. But it seemed impossible to me. I craved beer in such an uncontrollable way. I couldn’t seem to quit and I did curse a lot, just like Daisy said. But I never really noticed it, until they started pointing it out to me.
I told Matt that I couldn’t quit. He prayed for me and we asked Jesus to help me. That’s when the ball really started rolling in my life. It’s like God gave me a little more control over myself and my life. He gave me the strength to say no to the things I wanted to say no to.
Then one night, Matt, Davis and I went bowling. And guess who was in the lane next to us?
The congregation shouts out, “Daisy, Vanessa and Debbie!”
You got it! That night, Daisy decided she’d give me another chance. She talked to me that night and she’s been talking to me non-stop ever since!
The congregation laughs again.
I married her as soon as her Dad let me and now we have a beautiful baby girl. (Raymond carefully held out the new baby girl that had been sleeping in his arms while they spoke. His movements caused little baby Daisy Ray to wake and start crying so he quickly passed her to her mother, Daisy Lynn. The crying came out loud and strong on the CD for Connor and Daisy to hear. They also heard the crying fade out as Daisy Lynn walked away from the mic to feed the baby in her arms.)
Raymond closed their testimony time with…
God gave us a beautiful daughter, I hope she grows up to be just like her mother. God is good. Thank you for letting us share.
“They have nice voices, don’t they?” Daisy said after a while.
“Yep, you sound just like your Mom,” Connor pointed out.
“Their voices sound so familiar, but…” Daisy drifted off in her thoughts.
Connor smiled. This moment that they were having in the car was as close to meeting Daisy’s parents as they had ever come to before. He was glad to be sharing this important experience with her. When the CD came to a close Connor pulled into the boardwalk parking lot and parked.
He hopped out and went around to her door and opened it for her. He leaned against the front hood and held his arms open wide in her direction with a warm smile. “Come here, babe,” he encouraged softly.
Daisy walked into his arms and positioned herself to face the ocean with him. She lay the back of her head against his shoulder as he wrapped his warm arms around her, keeping the December chill at bay. They looked at the rushing waves and listened to its powerful sound for a long while. Their minds were full of all that Raymond and Daisy Greene had said on the CD.
Daisy finally voiced a question, “Do you think my parents can see me from where they are?”
“I really couldn’t say.”
“I wonder what my life would be like, if they were here to raise me instead of my grandparents?”
“I think life would be a little bit different if they were around. Ya know, one time Dad and I sat up super late and watched a horror movie on TV. My God, that movie scared me to death. Dad said that if Mom had been around, neither one of us would have been allowed to watch that movie. She would have had us both in bed by 9:00 every single night.” Connor smiled at the thought of being in bed by nine.
“In bed by nine and no scary movies for you, young man,” Daisy teased.
Connor chuckled at her lighthearted comment.
“Grandpa Joe says it’s Mom’s fault that I sleep late,” Daisy softly confided.
“Why does he say that?”
“Well, he says, Mom liked me to stay in bed in the mornings so she could be with my Dad before he left for work. Grandpa thinks that Mom taught me to sleep late when I was a new born.”
Connor chuckled. “That sounds like a load of crap to me. How could she teach you that in such a short amount of time? Grandpa Joe just can’t come to grips with the fact that it is normal for people to sleep past 5 a.m.”
“Maybe, but Grandpa says that if she were around everybody would be sleep ’in til ten.” Daisy sighed. “I wish she were around.”
“Yea me too.” He hugged her tight. “We miss ’em, but one day we will see ’em again,” he whispered in her ear.
“Until then… we’ll just stick together, huh?” Daisy smiled as she pulled Connor’s arms tighter around her waist.
Connor squeezed her as tight as he could. “Yea babe, we’ll just stick together.” He lay his head on top of hers and rocked her. They watched the ocean roll in and roll out steadily.
They were quiet the rest of the night just listening to God’s world and all that it was saying. It was saying quite a lot too. The pounding of the waves, whistling of the wind, crying of the gulls and the sound of two hearts beating together in perfect harmony. All of these things combined, made a beautiful voice of praise and thanks directed upwards the Lord. And all was well in God’s, Connor’s and Daisy’s world.