The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Neither Me Nor God’s Shepherds


The harsh winds of April raced like a whirlwind around and over the house last night. The soffit creaked and cracked and popped as the air rushed in and out of the grooves on the overhang. I fell asleep dreaming of the house rising from its foundation to be carried to the Land of Oz. I knew exactly what I would request when I met the Wizard.

I last talked to Jacob on Thursday afternoon when I delivered the news. He did not call on Friday. He did not call on Saturday. Today I visited. This past week-Easter Sunday to yesterday-was the first week Jacob had no visitors. We did not visit in expectation of being able to embrace him and be embraced by him for the first time since July 17, 2015. Instead we received the diabolically cruel embrace of ‘blind justice’.

Perhaps Jacob was on lockdown with his fellow inmates. Perhaps he was too busy with his duties to make a phone call.  Those are the reasons I hoped for rather than the ideas that percolated through the folds of my brain. Anyone who has a loved one inside understands the nagging fears that we on the outside have of the real and imagined dangers within the walls. The danger is two-fold, from inmates-from guards. You must learn to protect yourself physically and emotionally. He has talked of plans when he gets out. He wants to learn self-defense. Are there reasons for that?  My fear holds back an incredible rage that will escape if such fears ever come to fruition.

I hear stories now. When I tell my son’s story, there are others who have stories. Someone’s family member, a young man, was falsely accused of sexual acts by a teenage girl. She was the daughter of his ex-girlfriend. He went to jail; he died there. The young woman recanted, but the police refused to accept her second story. Did they just not find her credible on this second go-round? Could they just not accept a mistake was made or their own role in an injustice? Did they simply not care about the truth? Was it too much work to right a wrong? Is that Roman or Greek goddess symbolizing justice not only blind, but also deaf and dumb? Perhaps it is that she feels mistreated and has retreated.

The Visit

I scheduled my visit for 10 AM. A quick glance out the window when I awoke confirmed I had not been carried off to Oz during the night. I was still in snowy Pennsylvania.  I pulled into a parking spot in front of the jail grateful for free parking on Sundays. I noticed a woman get into the car behind me and make a U-turn to leave. Another woman walked back from the jail entrance, got into her car, and sat gripping her steering wheel. I walked to the jail doors and saw a guard taping a sign to the door. There seemed to be more than the usual signage taped to those twin double doors. I read a sign ‘You may leave money.’ Then I saw the sign I expected, hoped for. The jail is on lockdown. No visits and no church services on this Sunday after Easter. So neither my voice nor the voices of those preaching the word of God will be heard within these walls today.

I walked back to my car and signed in to cancel my visit so I could preserve the opportunity for a visit later in the week. A pamphlet outlining the guidelines for on-line visit scheduling noted a one-day advance notice for scheduling visits when it is actually a two-day notice. It is too late to schedule a visit for tomorrow. I sat in my car and signed into the GTL database to cancel today’s visit and found the visit was already cancelled. I scrolled through my emails; the 7:25 AM email cancelling my visit was in my folder. If only I viewed my emails as often as my text messages, I might have saved my time and gas. Still it eased my mind to view the explanatory sign in black and white on those jailhouse doors.

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