The Longest Minute

I met my best friend, on the day of an unusual pep rally. It was in the sixth grade, while still in elementary school. I had just moved from a school named Welcome Elementary, and into the district of Midway Elementary. I played little league football, and since I had played for over half the year for Welcome, after I moved they still allowed me to play for them. But, this was the day of the Midway pep rally against Welcome. And since I was in school there, I was forced to sit thru it. Now of course, the kids all knew who I was, because I was the new kid, and they started to pick on me pretty hard. And the guy who would become my best friend came, and sat beside me. He played for Midway but he told the kids to stop it. He was big and they stopped. Hahahaha And then he said, besides, I looked at his stats, and he averages 1 touchdown a game, and they did not want to make him mad…of course…hahaha…the other kids laughed hysterically. But he protected me, and I never forgot it.
So now, Midway was the best team in the league. They were way above every one else. And they just rolled over everyone. And we were no exception. But they had ever been scored a touchdown on, and I was still determined to. And it had come time. I knew it was my chance. It was an impossible situation, and there seemed no hope. 4th down and about 20…hahahaha…. There was only a minute to the end of the game. But I knew it was my perfect chance. Believe it or not, I could feel the strength of God. Everything was right to me. No one thought we could do a thing, and everyone had put down there guard. But they rode me all game on it, and I had to. Coach, as expected called for a punt. And instead of kicking it in little league, it was allowed to throw it. Stipulation was that the quarterback had to step back from center a couple of yards to get the hike. I didn’t tell no one, not even my team, but I had a plan. But to be sure, I said a prayer to God, that I should be able to humble them. Then, when the center hiked it, I stepped in front of the ball, caught it, and ran. Fake punt…hahahaha. I ran about 20 yards before, my new best friend, was looking at me saying, ” I can’t let you do it.” And I said, ” Sorry, I am going to score.” But, he grabbed me. He grabbed me by the waist and was going to throw me down, but, out of nowhere one of his teammates, had jumped up to get at me too. He hit my friend and it knocked us sideways and it was like I had planned that spin move. But I swear it was the motion of the turn from the hit that spun me around. And they were both on the ground, and I was running toward the goal with no tackler in sight. I scored right before the clock run out, and it seemed it was all in slow motion and last forever. And as I did, I could here my friend yelling behind me, ” I told you guys, I told you…but you had to make him mad.” And then I knew my friend really did know me, and that he was a best friend indeed. When I was with God, there was nothing that could stop me.

A bit later in life, I was about twenty-two, I fell away from Him a little. But it was testament to the freedom of my country that I was able to do anything I wanted too. And I had begun to sing. I had learned how to initially with a band a couple of years earlier. We were a garage band, but they taught me a lot. I left, to go with a band that was playing out in clubs, and found one in my home town. Their singer was leaving, and bring me in, and start over. We had only played a couple of times together, when we got the best gig ever. It was at the famous Shangrila, in Columbia, South Carolina.
When we got there, we waited for a guy to meet us at the hotel, like we were told. And all of a sudden, here come driving up a Camaro, with a guy in it that seemed to have been up for days…hahahahaha. His hair was all messed up, and his eyes had bags but, they were wide open. He gave us our “special” tags and told us to meet him to get ready to load in the gear and maybe do a sound check, and we would be free until 8:00. We didn’t have much, as we were o 4 piece- Guitarist, vocalist, bassist, and drummer. The drums were the hardest, as our drummer had the coolest kit, but still it didn’t take us hardly anytime to get the stuff on stage, and have a few songs played. So as we got done, the club guys brought us a whole large trash can full of beer and ice, and 2 bottles of Jack and Coke. And the man we met earlier told me to come see him in a minute in his office. I waited about 5 minutes, and went on up. I went in and he told me to shut the door. As I did, he pulled out a small plate stacked with the other kind of coke. Now mind you, I said I had fallen away a little, and it was the eighties, coke was everywhere. And all the clubs were doing well, as everyone went out and partied back then, and all the clubs, doing well, had the stuff flowing around everywhere. But, after all the alcohol I drank, I didn’t do any. Besides, it messes with your vocal chords, they say. Anyway, he also gave me a key, and said, ” I have given you the golden key, and it is to the greatest strip club ever known, and it is right upstairs. And here, 1,600, just as agreed in case I forget. You have a 2 day gig. All I ask is that you go on at 8:00, play 40 minutes. Go back at 9:00 play 40 minutes, and the again at 10:00 play 40 minutes. Give me back my key when you are done, and come In my office to get some of this when you want. My castle is your castle, have a great time.

Now mind you, this story could be stretched forever if I told you all that happened before and after that show. But what was important enough for me to tell it, was what happened onstage, so we will just…conveniently I might add…move on to that…hahahahahaha.
Basically the only rule we had, was to be onstage, from 8:30 to 9:15; 9:45 to 10:30; and 11:00 to 12:00. And we had to pull a double, Friday and Saturday. Heh, we got this. But so, on the first night, and mind you, the place would hold about 5,000 people, we waited to go onstage for the first set. Place went dark, we go onstage and get ready…intro music comes on…And as it ends, we start playing. Well there place deal was to bring up all the lights in a flash, before they went back down into concert mode, so we could get a good look at our crowd. Well, so all goes well in the first set for us, and after we are having a great time, except for our drummer. I said, ” Hey man, what’s up?” And he said. “I thought he said there was going to be a big crowd.” I just laughed… The place was huge. It had three levels like a theater, with a big area in front of the stage so people could get right up to it. Was weird though for them on the floor, because the stage was about 8 ft high. But anyway, there was about 6 or 700 people through the first set, but I knew there would be a lot more later.
During the second set, there was about 1500 people, but I could tell, he was a little better, but he was still disappointed. But then in the third set…that is when it happened, the longest minute…Intro comes on…we go out…lights come up…the drummer starts this set with a drum roll starting on snare, and working around through toms. But, as the lights come up…there they are. The crowd was packed, over 4000 strong, three levels high……and he started his drum roll…and he froze! Now he kept playing, but he kept his drum roll going on just his snare…for a whole minute. Hahahahaha… I had to go back there and nudge him, to get him to finish his drum roll.
But in that minute, I separated myself from God a little bit. I lost a little faith. I had prayed to him before that set, to give us the best show ever. And then that happened. I told my self I could do it own my own, and I started to prey a little less.

Now so, as I got older, and went into my prime, I had really fallen away. But right at my peak, I realized what I had done. In my turning away from God, and separated myself from Him, the more things were also falling apart. I had finally gotten to the point where I had nothing. Nothing that is, but my family. I turned to everyone and everybody for help, so I could feed and shelter them. But, we found little to no help at all. The food bank would give us food, but all the bread would be molding, and everything else, almost, were right at the date of being good. But, no one helped us with anything else. We turned to churches, to friends, to organizations, and to the government. Nothing. So, I remembered Him. And I felt guilty that I did, because I hadn’t for so long before. But, when I called on Him, He has also answered me. And in so doing, has reminded me of a deal I made with Him along time ago. And so, He has told me…Your team is seemingly losing, there is a minute on the clock, and it is fourth down…Time to make my play!

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