Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

October 25, 2012

Murder at my House

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

It was a warm summer night.  My parents and grandmother were enjoying a time of relaxing . . .  rocking . . . and making general conversation as they sat on the front porch.  I was rolling a toy car across the floor.  Suddenly . . . two gun shots rang out.  Although I was only 7 or 8 years old . . . I knew the sound of gunfire.

My dad sprang to his feet.  We all knew the shots came from behind our house . . . really in the backyard!  I jumped up and began running behind my father. As he ran to the little house on our property . . . no more than fifty feet from our house . . . he was met by the lady living in the little house.  “I just shot a man!” she exclaimed.

The lady and her daughter were living temporarily in the little house.  They had lived across the alley — the unpaved road between our houses.  Their house had been torn down to build a duplex.  The little house was vacant and my grandmother let them live there for the few months.

This was not something I liked.  You see, the daughter — about 10 years older — and I were mortal enemies!  We fussed about everything – – got mad at each other almost every time we saw one another — and had rock fights all the time.  There were plenty of rocks in the alley!  And one time, I even went in the house and got two table knives . . . she was in the yard . . . and I threw those knives at her.  Of course, at my age there was not much accuracy or force.  But then she picked up the two knives and threw them at me.  The first one came close and I realized she might just hit me.  As I turned to run, the second knife hit me — in the head, but fortunately, not with enough force to penetrate my skull.  But that is to tell you the conflict.  I knew she wanted to murder me!  (The feeling was mutual, of course!)

So you see, I wasn’t going to be surprised what bad thing had happened at this little house!  To hear the lady saying she just shot a man, caused me to think, “Like mother . . . like daughter!”  But that was not really true, of course.  The lady told my dad that a man tried to come in the back screen door and she shot him.  She told my dad that the man ran around the back of the barn, which was part of our yard.  Dad began to run toward the back of the barn . . . I followed closely!  As we turned the corner to the back of the barn . . . a man had fallen against the side of the barn and had slid to the ground.  He had been shot in the chest two times!

I watched as my dad sought to aid the man . . . but realized he was dead.  I stood there.  Murder!  That was the word that came to me immediately . . . and in our backyard!  It seemed exciting!  Of course at my age I had no understanding of such a tragedy.  Within minutes, Mr. John, our only policeman arrived.

Within a few minutes, another Mr. John arrived.  He was the undertaker!  I remember vividly the removal of the body.  There was only one house between our house and the funeral home.  With the help of another man, Mr. John simply used a stretcher to carry the body across the back of the property to his home where the basement was used for the preparation of bodies for burial.

The story finally came to light.  The man had written some letters to this lady.  He had come to retrieve them.  She refused to give them to him and evidently was frightened by him.  Why she had brought a gun to the door, I don’t know.  But she shot him through the screened door.  I only remember adults talking about it and making judgments that an affair was going on.  Of course, at my age I had no idea what an affair was, but I knew it was something that was wrong!  I do remember there was a court hearing about it all . . . but I do not recollect any consequences.

You can imagine the stories I had to tell to all my friends!  Murder at my house!  This was better than the Saturday afternoon matinée.  I probably embellished the details . . . but I do remember showing to many of my friends the back screen door where the bullets had gone through —  simple patches were there on that door for years!  I showed my friends the exact spot where the man died.  In fact, for a long time the blood stains remained on the barn wall.

That tragic night is burned in my memory . . . tragedies such as these make an indelible impression.  I am just thankful for a sound mind that God has given so that I am not scared or haunted by such an experience.

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”  (2 Timothy 1:7)



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