El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Dean Kellio

The world can be a dark, cold place for kids whose parents’ neglect and abuse them. Max was eight years old when he was first taken away from his parents by Child Protective Services. I’m using the word “parents” here loosely and it’s a misnomer of praise to the two derelict souls who brought Max into the world. His mother was a heroin addict and his father was a violent gang banger who was in and out of prison.

 For many of us, Christmas is our most treasured and favorite season of the entire year.  With every bright light that is hung from house eve to Christmas tree, the month of December becomes further and beautifully illuminated by the hope of the child-Savior who was born in Jerusalem.

The bench sat alongside a lonely stretch of dirt road under the shadow of Gaskill Peak. Day after day horse drawn wagons passed by but their riders never bothered to stop and enjoy the breathtaking views from the bench. Many full moons passed when a woman appeared planting flowers around the wooden bench.

“Should I fall out of love, my fire in the light, to chase a feather in the wind? Within the glow that weaves a cloak of delight, there moves a thread that has no end. For many hours and days that pass ever soon, the tides have caused the flame to dim. At last the arm is straight, the hand to the loom, is this to end or just begin? All of my love, all of my love, all of my love to you. The cup is raised, the toast is made yet again, one voice is clear above the din.

I know of this church in the city where there is an enclosed stairwell in which the homeless go in search of safety and shelter. A couple of weeks ago I discovered a couple pairs of feet sticking out of the stairwell. I didn't want to wake the individuals who were attached to the feet so I went to the church’s copy room which doubles as my office and sitting down began to read my bible.

Have you ever fallen in love before? Can you remember the feeling, the first time you felt it? It originated in your heart and made your chest feel like it was about to explode. It was like a giant ball of pulsating energy that couldn’t wait to get out. Your mind was in on it too as thoughts of “Should I call her or should I give her space” played back and forth in your head like a cerebral table tennis game. Heartache is one of the worst feelings known to man.

A sudden rush of frozen air cut through the silence that accompanied the falling snow engulfing the rider and his horse. Alex jumped off his beautiful Clydesdale even before the fancy feathers of Bella’s hooves came to a complete stop.  He could see Emma busy working inside as he tied his horse to the cedar railing in front of the ice cream parlor. His leather boots made a delightful crunching sound as he made his way through the knee high drifts of snow.

Jesus paused as he came to the top of the Mount of Olives. The early morning sun was shining directly off the gold and silver covered east gates of the temple complex. The glare was so intense, so blinding that our Lord had to put the palm of his hand in front of his eyes.

The piano sat motionless downstairs in the basement. A layer of dust had settled on the ebony keys suggesting that it had been some time since it had last been played. The finish was streaked and faded from years of sitting in front of a sunny window. It had a matching bench with a seat that hinged upward to reveal a hidden storage area beneath that was completely filled with all manner of sheet music. As I rummaged through the pages of music, I found nestled among the classics several popular tunes from the 1960’s.

“Well, if you haven’t been baptized then you won’t go to heaven,” barked the man from the church on the corner.

“But I’m not a bad person, why wouldn’t God allow me into heaven just because I haven’t been baptized?” asked the young shoe salesman as he stopped to listen to the men who were talking near the bus stop.

“Listen, I pray every morning and evening, surely Allah has heard my prayers,” replied the service station attendant who had just finished topping off a 1953 Bel Air convertible.