Thomas

The smell of fresh coffee teased my nostrils. I entered Daisy’s Café below the row of offices that overlooked a noisy intersection on Charter Row.

Daisy’s beaming smile greeted me. ‘Morning, Dave. The usual?’

‘Yes, please. Any doughnuts?’

‘Sure.’

Daisy handed me the coffee then bagged the doughnuts while I guzzled down a few mouthfuls of the piping hot brew. ‘Ah… Just the way I like it. See you later Daisy.’

I stepped back out into the commotion of the busy street and headed up the flight of stairs a few feet away. There, blocking my way, sat a vagabond. A middle-aged man, down on his luck and known to every tenant on Charter Row as Tom.

‘Tom.’ I paused to calm my tone. ‘I really need to get to my office.’

‘Can I-I-I come up? I-I-I need to t-t-talk,’ he stuttered.

‘Come on then.’ I sighed. I knew the only way to pass was to allow him to accompany me. I shook the bag of doughnuts. ‘I’ve got your favourite.’

Tom grinned. He followed me up the stairs and I handed him the bag so I could unlock the door. I stepped aside to let him enter. Closing the door behind me, I placed the coffee on my desk and opened a window.

‘Now, what can I do for you Tom?’ I watched him gulp down the last doughnut.

He choked and sprayed crumbs over my desk. I handed him my coffee. I would go without. Tom stuttered his thanks and drank before he explained his request.

He began by telling me his name was actually Thomas not Tom. His problem was a simple one. Thomas needed bus fare to a canning factory where his friend John worked as a packer. Thomas needed to go today, preferably before ten o’clock, because the cannery was employing staff this morning. He needed me to go along to speak for him. It was true enough, I understood his stuttering and asking for a position would be difficult for both Thomas and the employer.

‘Okay, you can’t go like that.’ I pointed him to the tiny bathroom and told him to strip and have a sponge bath using the sink while I checked the phone messages.

There was only one message. ‘Lord Bellamy here; I need you to find someone. If you return my call before midday the job is yours.’ I looked at my watch. ‘Ouch!’

I could hear Thomas complaining about the cold water. I gave Thomas some spare clothes I kept at the office in case I slept at the office during investigations. The trousers were definitely too long but they would have to do.

The wash, the change of clothes and a comb through his hair, made Tom respectable enough. Thankfully his thread bare shoes were hidden by his trousers. I sprayed Thomas with cologne until we both choked.

 

Thomas’s eyes widened. He seemed excited to be out of Charter Row. He obviously hadn’t been on a bus for a long time; maybe not at all. There was a lot I didn’t know about Thomas.

‘Thomas,’ I asked, as the bus neared the factory. ‘Where will you live if you get this job?’

‘M-m-my friend, J-J-John, h-he let me stay for a-a bit,’ he answered, his eyes still fixed on the view beyond the window.

We arrived at the cannery a little before ten thirty. The manager was sympathetic and understanding.

‘John would like me to give you a go’, he told Thomas. ‘I’ll give you a month’s trial. John’s a good teacher. I’m sure you’ll be fine.’

After handshakes all around, I left Thomas with the manager and returned to my office where Old Spice cologne still lingered in the stuffy air. I pressed the replay button on the answering machine and dialed the recorded number. I was pleased Thomas had the opportunity for a fresh start. I wondered now if I had a job.

‘Lord Bellamy’s residence, may I help you?’

‘Yes, this is Dave Strong, Private Investigator. Lord Bellamy left a message on my answering machine.’

‘Yes, Mr. Strong, he’s been waiting for your call. I’ll put you through.’

There was only a brief silence before the voice on the phone matched that of the recording on my machine.  He came straight to the point of his request.

‘Hello Mr. Strong.  I need someone to find my brother.’ Lord Bellamy’s voice sounded stately but urgent. ‘My brother and my father, Lawrence Bellamy, had a disagreement over twenty years ago. My brother left and we haven’t heard from him since.’

He paused before continuing. ‘Our father passed away a few weeks ago and regardless of their differences, Father left my brother half the estate. I need to find him. It’s time to bring him home. Can you help?’

This was right up my alley. I needed a good investigation and I loved finding long lost souls. ‘Yes, I can help you Lord Bellamy. Might I have some details to help start my search?’

‘His birth name is Thomas Alfred Bellamy, born 40 years ago in Sheffield. He has one significant characteristic trait that stands out. He stutters.’

© Chrissy Siggee

(Perhaps the shortest investigation in history)

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Update in Lockdown

Small but appreciated garden

Sadly, Sydney will not leave the lock-down this weekend. Maybe not even next weekend but here I am still in vigil beside my dad’s bed. It’s not good. Most of the day and night he comes and goes into such a deep sleep that it’s more than likely unconsciousness. His breathing is crazy and he hasn’t eaten. Perhaps a few teaspoons of apple juice that was more to wet his tongue than anything. I’m thankful for the management and staff, including those who work in the kitchen and cleaning areas of this nursing home. God bless you all abundantly.

I’ll post again when time allows.

Archived in: Announcements

Riverside Peace (the poem)

There’s something about a river
that draws me to its side
Effortlessly advancing
toward a lake or sea.

With abundance of freshness
it’s filled with life and health
Uninterrupted flowing
beyond the distant fields.

From gentle humble beginnings
– a fact of life itself
Amazingly appealing
amid a lonely past.

Whispers of the river embrace
the peace renews my mind
Majestically embracing
yonder pathways I see.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in
Poetry Mix by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Rainbow Smile

I asked an old lady in the park if she had seen my little boy.

‘What does he look like?’ she replied.

‘Well,’ I answered, quite sincere—

‘He has brown eyes
And hair to match;
Too many curls for a little boy,
Combed to perfection every day;
His teeth are white as white can be—
A very tidy little man is he!
He wears a smartly pressed sailor suit
With little white shoes to match.’

— A perfect darling is my boy.’

‘No child like this I have seen,’ the lady did respond,
‘but a treasure you will find, just around that path.’

Around the garden path I went
And before me, a treasure my eyes beheld—

He had brown eyes
And hair to match,
A shock of curls in disarray,
Band-aid knees and soiled clothes—
What happened to my little boy?
At front, he had a missing tooth;
He was eating ice-cream from a cone,
His face aglow with a rainbow smile.

—’A perfect darling is my boy.’

© Chrissy Siggee

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED From my book:  Glimpses of His Glory

Archived in: Poetry Mix

This Soul of Mine, It’s not my Own.

One day I gave my life to Jesus,
I was only six years old you know—
My soul I knew, was not my own.

To church we went but once a week,
It was like that every Sunday—
My soul went with me, like always.

The church we went to was so big,
All the people and the noise they made,
Within my soul, I was afraid.

I didn’t know the preacher that day,
He talked about lilies and sparrow birds—
My soul was alert, to these words.

My soul is worth far more than these,
Jesus died for me; why that’s absurd!
What is this, my soul has heard?

Then finally some words I understood,
This man was talking right to me—
Yes, into my soul, he could see.

I heard the choir sing “Just as I am,”
They sang those words so bold—
And to my soul, they were like gold.

Wake up my child, this is for you,
A family ticket I cannot give—
For this your soul, it needs to live.’

An altar call the preacher made,
What will you do with Jesus today?
As for my soul and I, we did obey.

I walked on by my mum and dad,
My brothers and my sister too;
I think my soul it knew, just what to do.

I prayed a prayer I won’t forget,
I have remembered it to this day—
My life and soul, to God I gave.

Now one day I will live with Him,
And no matter how long I will be known—
This soul of mine, it’s not my own.

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in:   Christian Reads

Behold!

Did you know that the words “Lamb of God” as a title of our Lord, occurs twice in the Gospel of John and once in 1 Peter?

However, John uses the same title in Revelation about 30 times. It’s clear that The Lamb of God would have meant a great deal to John who leaned on Jesus and knew the secret of His Redeeming love… perhaps better than any of the twelve disciples.

In John 1:28-30, we see the Apostle John’s first use of the phrase when he quotes John the Baptist in the lead up to the baptism of Jesus. “These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is he of whom I said, after me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.”

Peter doesn’t use this title directly, but in speaking of our redemption from sin in 1 Peter 19 :18 he says “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ…”

With all the names of Christ used throughout the Bible, The Lamb of God would without a doubt, touch me the most deeply. None speak more strongly of our deliverance from the slavery of sin. I can only capture a glimpse of how John felt about our Saviour.

Is it redemption that we desire? Then it must be redemption by the blood.

The cross of Christ is the only hope of the world. A world that often declare things like “behold our new methods”, “behold our human-brotherhood” or even, “behold this new opportunity” and forget the only real cry that needs to be boasted— “Behold the Lamb of God.”

John 3:16 says:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

© Chrissy Siggee first published in 2011

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

Archived in:    Christian Reads

Lockdown – the good and the not so good.

Garden photos as promised in: Lockdown Accommodation and Fashion Statement | Riverside Peace

I’ll take more photos when Dad is sleeping after lunch and add them when time allows.

Be safe everyone.

Evening Sky

 colours of the evening sky

                  reveal the setting sun—

aromas of the sleepy garden

                  refresh my musty senses.

© Chrissy Siggee

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

From my book: Glimpses of His Glory

Archived in:  Poetry Mix

Lockdown Accommodation and Fashion Statement

Here I am into my 5th night of Covid lockdown in the nursing home with my dad. Some days are good while other days/ nights are quite stressful but I’m glad I’m here for him. All the staff members are wonderful. I often wonder how they do this every day. My Dad’s care is quite intense now but they always have a smile for him and for me. Some of the Covid restrictions are quite annoying and the situation is not perfect but it could be much, much worse.

My bed feels like a hospital bed. No. Wait a minute. It IS a hospital bed.
At least I have my own bathroom and privacy. I also have a view of the garden courtyard of which I will take a few photos when time allows.
Wearing masks all day long, except when I return to my room, is quite irritating and not at or comfortable or fashionable. It’s a wonder I don’t freak Dad out when I visit him in the night.
Not a great diet for two weeks but I’m truly thankful for Norm’s front door deliveries and for friends who make sure I don’t go hungry.

Unfortunately, I’m not the easiest person to feed with my wheat and citrus allergies so I do understand why the nursing home won’t feed me and take responsibility. I do get the occasional steamed vegetables, boiled eggs of a piece of cheese to complete some of my needs. As I said, ALL the staff are very caring people.

Arvhived in: Announcements

Taste and See

O taste and see all things He has done—
there’s nought but good in our LORD,
His gentleness touches every life
and took our place on the cross for us.

He takes the shame when we yield to Him
all sin and grief is buried from sight…
He speaks to hearts and calms all fear,
and stood in our stead and bore our sin.

Do not grieve nor hold to your guilt and sin,
but leave it all at the cross of the Father’s Son—
Jesus gave His life, His all, for you and me
and lives forever and reigns on high.

You can take joy in what I tell you here,
for the LORD will hear your every plea…
His sons and daughters, yes, we are His heirs
and takes us by His hand to lead us home.

Trust in this LORD, our God and King,
for no one can match His worthiness
Take Him for what He says He is
and know He is the LORD of lords.

© Chrissy Siggee – 2010

Inspired by Psalm 34:8 – O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (KJV)

Archived in
Christian Poetry by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Wait!

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him – Psalm 37:7

When an answer to prayer is not quick in coming we often find ourselves focusing on the prayer itself and on the answer we desire to that prayer. While we know it’s good to be positive, and we know God will answer in His time, we need to wait on Him, the one who meets all our needs—and He’s never late.

It’s while we wait that we need to keep our eyes fixed on the Lord, study His Word and find instruction, comfort and encouragement. We need to trust Him and know that He can and will do what He considers best for His children.

There’s one thing I have learnt through waiting; it gives me the opportunity to give God the glory for an unwavering assurance that He has all things under control. Everything is in His hands and there is a time for everything.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says: to everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. Verse 11 – He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also, he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

Wait in hope, perseverance, patience and joy because His grace is sufficient for me.

Father, help us to be patient with answers to prayer. Keep our eyes fixed on You knowing all things will come to pass in Your perfect timing. Amen

© Chrissy Siggee 2019

Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible

Archived in:   Christian Reads

Lock down

While visiting my dad yesterday, (a Saturday here) the Premier of NSW announced a total lockdown for two weeks beginning 6pm. I decided I wouldn’t risk leaving the nursing home to return to our son’s home for my clothes, medications and, of course, my laptop in case I was turned away after the 80 minute round trip. And, I was right. But, God was good and within half an hour, and before Norm arrived at our son’s home, the nursing home manager phoned me. With Dad the way he is, and us not at all local, I was allocated a room near Dad’s for the length of the lockdown if needed. Norm was not given the same but he’s been honoured the role of delivery boy so he can regularly drop off gluten free foods and necessities. I probably could get a few meals here but they don’t have anything for my allergy diet. With our second Covid vax due this coming week, we’ll have to have it locally. However, I need some approval from the NSW Health to allow me to return to the nursing home after the vaccination as no visitors are allowed in except for special cases approved in special circumstances.

Now, I guarantee that you will only hear the media report all the bad stuff about the Covid restrictions but I for one so much appreciated the management and staff of this nursing home.

Be safe everyone.

AWOL

–  a fictional short read based on a true incident.

Snaking up the mountain road was miserable, and not just because great droplets of rain were exploding on the windscreen before the wipers could whisk them away. Susan’s eyes were strained from weeping most of the night since her brother, Ron, phoned her. After picking up her friend Annie, just after 6am, they began the long drive.

‘How could she get out?’ Susan cried. She squeezed the steering wheel tighter. ‘How could they let this happen?’

‘Susan please, you need to stay focused; otherwise Ron will need to send out a search party for us too.’ Annie sighed. ‘Hopefully, she’ll be found before we arrive. Those new GPS tracking shoes for Dementia and Alzheimer patients are well worth the expense in situations like this. You’ll see.’ She sent up a silent prayer as Susan drove into the storm.

Ron met the two women at the car with an umbrella. He shouted updates as they scrambled across the parking lot and into the foyer of the nursing home. Inside, a young aide that Susan had recognized from her visit the previous week, greeted them with mugs of steaming coffee. Annie accepted hers with enthusiasm, but felt a twinge of guilt when she heard Susan decline.

‘What happened? Who’s responsible?’ Susan demanded.

‘Please’, Ron soothed. ‘It doesn’t matter now who’s to blame. The important thing is that everyone is doing their best to find her.’

‘You’re right.’ Susan reached for the coffee that the aide was still holding out to her. She held the mug of steaming coffee between her hands but didn’t drink.

A man wearing a search and rescue uniform stepped toward the siblings. ‘Ms Cummings, I’m O’Malley. I’m in charge of the team. I’ve been here with your brother since late last night.’ He offered his hand.

Susan shook O’Malley’s hand and took a quick sip of coffee before speaking. ‘Call me Susan, please. Ron tells me you have people out looking for our mother. How far could she possibly get in this weather?’

‘We don’t know. It wasn’t until almost midnight that the situation had been fully realized.’

The space between Susan’s eyebrows creased. ‘What do you mean—”situation”?’

Ron replied for O’Malley. ‘Mum had evidently dressed in a hurry. Her slippers aren’t here and her GPS shoes are still under the bed. We think she may have followed someone else’s visitor or a member of staff out the front door around 9pm. With the rain, they would have been concentrating on getting to their vehicle. Being so late well…Who would think?’ He paused to wipe rainwater from his face.

‘Ms Cummings…Susan’, O’Malley spoke above the sudden clap of thunder. ‘We are almost certain she couldn’t have gotten very far but this constant rain has slowed us down’.

‘Ron called me at 11:15pm last night.’ She looked at her wristwatch. ‘It’s almost eight thirty. If she’s exposed to this weather much longer, she…’ Her words faded with the reality hitting Susan with a jolt. She handed the coffee to Annie with shaking hands. ‘Okay… O’Malley, what can we do? Where do we go from here?’

There was still no sign of their missing mother by the time the rain eased at midday when the siblings and Annie returned to swallow down coffee and sandwiches. While O’Malley was updating the family and his search team, a small bus loaded with local volunteers arrived. After quick handshakes all-round the meeting continued. Annie, Susan and Ron had searched south along the main street questioning storeowners and shoppers. The search team had walked a few metres apart through an adjoining cornfield to the west and the vacant overgrown paddocks beyond, while O’Malley had conducted a search of out buildings, laundry and kitchen facilities at the nursing home. The night staff had been requested to report in with any information that may or not be related to the missing patient. O’Malley and a staff member also conducted interviews with a few patients who were with her shortly after seven last night. No clues or explanations were discovered. With directions for the original team to take a short break, eat and get dry, the new team were given maps for the north and east of the nursing home.

Susan and Ron took off on foot to cover the area between the car park and where they started their search that morning. Annie stayed behind to help serve coffee to the morning’s search team.

An hour later Susan and Ron returned chilled and wet from another soaking downpour with no news that would help with the search. Other searchers returned in groups of two and three’s over the next few hours—all quietly murmuring their disappointments but at least the rain had completely stopped.

Finally, Ron suggested to Susan that they drove around up and down every street and lane. He looked at his watch then up at the clearing clouds. ‘She has to be somewhere. It’s been too long and you know how Mum doesn’t like standing for too long. Perhaps we’ll have more success now.’ His face suddenly paled. ‘There’s also the railway station.’ He grabbed Susan’s arm and led her to the parking lot with Annie close behind.

Just as they were putting on their seatbelts, the nurse’s aide approached the driver’s side window of the SUV with O’Malley. Ron press the down arrow switch to hear her better. ‘I think I found something that may help.’ She handed him a book opened at a page with a recent date at the top and stepped back.

Ron read from his mother’s diary. ‘I have to know for certain if my Harold went AWOL. If he has, I know where he could be. We often met at our secret place before he went to war.’

‘Why would Mum think Dad had gone AWOL?’ Susan asked.

‘I don’t remember Dad ever going AWOL, Susan. Obviously, she’s confused.’

Annie, who had been relatively quiet in the back seat, spoke up. ‘Isn’t there an old army storage unit around here?’

‘Well yes, but it’s almost three kilometres from here.’ O’Malley looked in the direction of the army base. ‘It sounds a long way for an old woman to walk.’

‘When I was here a few months ago with Susan,’ Annie continued, ‘I remember their mother had an old newspaper clipping about the unit.’

‘You’re right.’ Susan gasped. ‘I wondered at the time why Mum had kept the article.’

‘Okay’. Ron took charge. ‘We’ll check the railway station on the way. If we can’t find her there, we’ll continue on to this army place.’ Ron swapped the diary with a folded map with O’Malley who had quickly circled a crossroad to the east.

O’Malley nodded. ‘I’ll grab some first aid gear and blankets and meet you at the Army storage unit.’

Ron thanked him and drove off.

At the railway station Ron and Susan raced in opposite directions down the platform. It was silent and empty. ‘Let’s go! This is a waste of time’, Susan shouted to Ron who stood with his hands on his hips at the far end and gawking down the tracks that disappeared in the distance.

A clear starry sky abruptly brought the long day to a close when the three entered the old army storage unit with O’Malley and two military personnel. Within minutes they had found, huddled in a skeleton of a storage shed, their mother. She was cold and wet but uninjured. With her dirt-smeared face looking up at Susan, she apologized for ruining her slippers.

Susan knelt beside her mother. ‘That’s okay Mum, we know of the perfect pair to replace them with. Let’s go home.’

© Chrissy Siggee

 This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Heads Up

Norm and I will be at my dad’s bedside for a few days by the time most of my loyal followers read this post. We came home late Sunday to prepare for our next trip down there but it’s been a much more hastier return than expected. It’s about a five hour road trip with a couple of comfort breaks. We’ll be staying somewhere within easy travel for long day visits and/or overnighters before the inevitable.

This photo was taken on the weekend. I’m not sure who was the happiest to see who. I know Dad was thrilled to see these two of his nine great grandchildren and almost cried.

I’ll have my laptop with me and I look forward to reading your new posts as time allows but I have just pre-schedule my posts until some normality returns.

Archived in: Announcements

Trials

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV)

How should we view the trials that we go through?  First, we should reflect on the reasons why we are facing them. Unfortunately, for most of us, our questioning comes from our human form of questioning of the— ‘why me?’ aspect.  This is of course is just questioning God. Often this type of thinking easily moves into anger. This is the exact opposite of how we are directed to respond.

We are told to “consider it pure joy.” Now that’s seems a strange statement. If someone were to teach me to do that when facing trials, I would be tempted to call him an idiot. This would of course reveal only an immaturity and the unbiblical nature of my biblical and spiritual thinking.

We should view our trials with joyfulness, knowing what is really happening. That is, when we are being tried, our faith is being tested. What does that mean? When we face a challenge, do we respond by what we see and feel—or by what we believe to be true? If we are being tested it should increase our stability, our steadfastness and our faith.

Father, help me to count all thing as pure joy, whatever we face today. Give me the faith that is unwavering in all trials and let me found tested and true. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee  2019

Scripture Verses used are from the New International Version of the Bible