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"McKenney took a deep breath. "I was talking to Dawes.
He said he's coming back to paint the cross on top of the
steeple every five years. I want to do something like that
for you. What can I do? What would you really want of me?
"Reverend Hurley sat down in the chair next to the bed.
He sighed. "You're determined?
"Yes, with all my spirit."
"After remaining silent for several seconds, the reverend
said, "I'm going to ask something that may be very hard
for you to do, Lieutenant."
When Hurley hesitated, McKenney prompted, "I'll do
"Marcus' sad smile spoke as definitely as his words.
"Some things that may seem very easy can become very
hard, and I fear I'm going to ask one of those from you.
You are a fine man, Lieutenant. You're honest, high-
minded, and honorable. So, what I'm going to ask you
may trouble you. This war is over. The Confederate
leaders haven't acknowledged that, I don't know if
they realize it or not, but it is. I see the death of more
men, the foolish destruction of property, the
prolonging of the southern people's agony, when the
South can no longer win, as sins. I will ask that you
no longer lead men in battle, that you'll never kill
another man. No matter what the situation, no matter
whether you perceive your honor will be lost, no matter
how threatened you or those around you are--that may
be very hard."...
"I asked you what you would require of me, and what
you have asked, I will do..."
By. D. L. Havlin
This powerful story has more to offer than the historical perspective...perhaps when a cross is involved, miracles seem to happen? Or perhaps many individuals can never understand that time when Americans turned against each other in war? For those like me, we can't understand such hatred--perhaps that's why a story of such love in the midst of that war creates the impact that this story will have--if you only believe...
The story begins in the 50s, in a small town you probably never heard of. Away from the town with lots of land around it, a country church was once built. During the Civil War, something terrible happened their--so terrible that it would never be forgotten by the town folks and those who were related to those who died that day.
Landry Dawes is the storyteller--I won't go into which one because there will always be one who would pass on the story, learning more each time somebody went back...
To paint the Cross...
For during the war, one of the Landry Dawes was a confederate soldier who had been the last man available to finish an important mission--to deliver supplies, which included gold, further south. But they never got further than when they had first been attacked. Hiding the gold, the men were soon gone, but Landry Dawes was injured and wound up at the church on Cotton Creek.
Soon Eli McKenney joined him there with a leg wound that was treated by a vet but would never heal properly. Reverend and Mrs. Hurley, who had once bought six slaves, only to give them their freedom, still had two of those individuals, who had decided to stay, helping them with their church activities.
And then later, the Reverend had asked Landry to also not kill. He made the same promise; however, Landry recognized his short temper, and he knew he would never keep his word if the Yanks came again. So he decided to leave and head back home.
That decision saved his life...
For that church was soon surrounded by soldiers. McKenney had been hidden up in a high tree away from the church. He had tied himself to the limb so he wouldn't fall off and even then, as far up as he'd been pulled, he couldn't get down. So, by straining to turn his head, he had to watch all that happened, until most of the church had been destroyed, except for the cross...
Only one had not been there of the families who died that day. But she had heard of what was happening but arrived too late except to save McKenney. And soon, there was nobody in the community that could tell what had happened...
Except the ghosts who remained and led to "some" of the miracles that started to happen when somebody bowed there in front of the cross to pray...
Perhaps there have been even more miracles that have happened since those that were recorded in his novel. One thing I do believe is that if that cross still stands near the remains of that church, a "Landry Dawes" will be coming back to paint it every five years...
And what I also believe is that D. L. Havlin has provided us with a wonderful Civil War Novel that includes an unusual side of that time when men of faith asked that the killing stop and that the promises of men may continue through the decades and hundreds of years when they are asked to give their word... A truly outstanding tale of wonder, ghosts...and...love. I offer this one to you as a must-read!
Schooled in Ft. Myers, Florida, Anderson H.S., in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the University of Cincinnati, his widely varied career included: systems analyst, procedure writer, production manager, materials manager, licensed boat captain, fishing guide, high school football coach, product sales manager, manufacturing plant manager, world-wide divisional customer service director, chemicals distributor general manager, call center tech service rep, president and general manager of a small manufacturing company.
An avid lover of the outdoors and sports enthusiast, his passion for fishing, hunting and camping are frequently included in his writing. A deep love for nature and especially wild Florida often furnish settings for his work, but his travels make places such as Kiev, Singapore, London, New York, Modena, or Saxonhausen backgrounds for his stories as well.
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