On his deathbed, my grandpa told me three things to remember for after he died. First he said, “You can’t own a cat. Ever.” Second he told me, “Friendly boys make friendly friends.” Finally he said, “You were adopted, just like your father before you, and his father before him.” “So,” I said, “you were adopted?” “Of course not!” he replied. “Your father’s not my son, just like he’s not your father.” And to this day I am still confused. I have no idea why I can’t own a cat.
I wanted to ask my father about his regrets. I wanted to ask him what was the worst thing he'd ever done. His greatest sin. I wanted to ask him if there was any reason why the Catholic Church would consider him for sainthood. I wanted to open up his dictionary and find the definitions for faith, hope, goodness, sadness, tomato, son, mother, husband, virginity, Jesus, wood, sacrifice, pain, foot, wife, thumb, hand, bread, and sex. "Do you believe in God?" I asked my father."God has lots of potential," he said."When you pray," I asked him. "What do you pray about?""That's none of your business," he said. We laughed. We waited for hours for somebody to help us. What is an Indian? I lifted my father and carried him across every border.
My Ona Elena once told me something important," Adam said, hesitant now that the force of Levec's anger had deserted him. "Happiness is like a seed." Before Levec could speak, Adam lifted a hand. "She said that anger and hatred and love are like seeds as well. All the things we feel that endure, are.""And we are?""Dirt," Adam replied."I might agree with that statement, but I'm certain you intend to go elsewhere with it.""We are earth. But we are like different types of earth, in different climates. Not all seeds that fall from a tree take root. Not all things that take root survive. We cannot be given happiness. Only the seed of it. We might not recognize the seed," he added. "Because we can't see the tree it might become. We are surrounded by trees, and the seeds in our hands looks nothing like them."For some, the earth is damp and fertile, and all seeds take root. But for others, the earth is hard, and water scarce. Elena believed that no man--or woman--starts life as a desert. But without trees, any many or woman can become one." - Adam
It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out. So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send.HUCK FINN.I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:"All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.
Father Brendan Flynn: "A woman was gossiping with her friend about a man whom they hardly knew - I know none of you have ever done this. That night, she had a dream: a great hand appeared over her and pointed down on her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O' Rourke, and she told him the whole thing. 'Is gossiping a sin?' she asked the old man. 'Was that God All Mighty's hand pointing down at me? Should I ask for your absolution? Father, have I done something wrong?' 'Yes,' Father O' Rourke answered her. 'Yes, you ignorant, badly-brought-up female. You have blamed false witness on your neighbor. You played fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed.' So, the woman said she was sorry, and asked for forgiveness. 'Not so fast,' says O' Rourke. 'I want you to go home, take a pillow upon your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me.' So, the woman went home: took a pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escape to her roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old parish priest as instructed. 'Did you gut the pillow with a knife?' he says. 'Yes, Father.' 'And what were the results?' 'Feathers,' she said. 'Feathers?' he repeated. 'Feathers; everywhere, Father.' 'Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out onto the wind,' 'Well,' she said, 'it can't be done. I don't know where they went. The wind took them all over.' 'And that,' said Father O' Rourke, 'is gossip!
The wisest thing my grandpa ever said to me before he died was "Stop!" Thinking back, I don't know if he was talking to me or the car that ran him over. I prefer to think he was talking to the car, because how could he be so foolish to try to talk to me, when I was busy driving the car.