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From the full version of Sunnyside's Lousy Book.


I asked God for a sign

The experience with the insurance company wasn’t anything like the way they portray themselves on television commercials. The first attempt of contacting the insurance company didn’t seem to get anywhere, but I was told that they would be contacting me.
       My second attempt was the next day was while I was at the paint store and during both attempts I learned that their game seemed be one of trying to get a recording of you on tape while you're stressed out and they use proven ways of trying to put words into your mouth. It made me feel as if they were looking for something I might say that could void the insurance coverage I paid for.
       As I got off the phone at the paint store, I saw my paint representative walk through the door. The representative thought of himself as a Christian and had been known to push his beliefs on to others. I heard that he had showed up at job sites with religious literature and try to push his beliefs on to others. Another annoying thing about him was that he had a superiority complex. He had a way with using derogatory statements of a person as a gesture of humor. Needless to say I never thought his humor towards me or others very funny at all. I had taken him on as my representative just so I could negotiate better prices on the materials I would normally use because the special prices were not available through the management within the store. However, I learned that it was a mistake telling the outside paint rep about my clientele because the result was that my customer’s office doors became revolving doors for other painting contractors bidding against me and many of those other painting contractors were signed up with the religious rep.
       That day of the fire, I wasn't in the mood to hear one of his smart elicit remarks and didn't want to hear a word out of the hypocrite. At the moment I decided to vent some of my frustration out on him as soon as he’d open his mouth. And without a doubt he did, so I took the opportunity to blow off a little stem. I wanted to get him into a side office away from others and beat the living crap out of him, so I grabbed him by the front of his shirt and jacket and swung him towards the doorway of the small side office. Unfortunately my aim over the back of my shoulder wasn’t as good as it should have been because I missed the doorway and put him through the wall.

With all the hassle of trying to get in contact with the insurance company and carrying on with the paint work I had in process, I didn't find the time to board up my windows that day of the fire. Since the door to my bedroom was shut during the fire, it was the only room that didn't get smoke damage, so I thought it was best to sleep there overnight to deter looters from taking salvageable possessions.
       To my dreadful surprise, water had leaked through the ceiling tiles and got the bedding wet. I managed to find a couple dry blankets in the closet under the stairway and put them on my bed. But that didn’t solve much because Baxter and I found out how cold a waterbed can get in one day.
       About 1:00 am, while I laid there freezing in my bed, I thought to myself, “What did I do to deserve this? This has to be about the worst thing that could ever happen to a person.”
       I not only lost my home, but also the equipment I needed for the work. Without the equipment, it would be difficult to keep my painting business operating and without my business operating, it would make it difficult to come up with the house payments that were still there.
       The fire destroyed everything I had worked so hard to get. My bass guitar was the only thing I had left.
       Just as some advice I'd been given by a customer: "We've always bought what we needed, because we knew we could get what we wanted later." Everything I had such as the home furnishings were mostly hand-me-downs and most of the possessions I owned were tools I used to make a living with. As for my tools and equipment, if it wasn't like new, it was near good as new and functioned just as well. Just as the time a friend named Darlic brought his friend by; we were in my tool room and Darlic said to his friend, "This is where things are happening."
       I really didn't have anyone to turn to since my family was in a sense -- distant from me and I didn't have a girlfriend at the time; I felt entirely alone.
       As I laid there in the light of a propane lantern, I began to pray to God. I spoke to him just as I always did; like an ordinary friend. I said, “God what did I do to deserve this? Are you with me Lord? Do you even know this has happen to me? Is this something that was meant to be?” (Of course it was a one sided conversation.) “If so, how am I'm suppose to get through this? Is there some way I can come out ahead? If you are with me -- please let me know -- please show yourself to me.”
       I knew God doesn't usually make himself visible to people and I figured it wasn't likely he would appear before me, but as I laid there and prayed, I said to him, “Please give me a sign that you know this has happened to me. Please let me know that you're with me.” I said, “Anything Lord; just make a tile fall from the ceiling or a pitcher fall off the wall. Please anything at all.”
       Strange how those things you hear about how it is when you're at your lowest point in life, you'll have a thirst for God.
       I can't remember for sure, but I think I heard some thunder and I wondered if it was the sign I was looking for.

Before long, I got thirsty for something to drink but all my dishes were either melted or covered with soot. Another problem was that water had been turned off at the meter because if the pipes froze, it would cause them to split, then later when they’d thaw, it could cause another mess such as the possibility of the house being encased in a mound of ice if the temperature would drop down into freezing temperatures again.
       Then I had a notion: If the face of the microwave on top of the refrigerator has melted down the front of the refrigerator and it’s been at least eighteen hours since the time of the fire, then the ice cubes in the bowl and ice cube trays inside the freezer should have melted by now. It's my guess the water from the ice should be fairly clean too.
       So I got up out of bed -- grabbed a propane lantern and walked into what looked like a kitchen from hell. Over-powering was how the soot turned everything black. The paint had blistered and had pealed off the walls. The water from the fire-hose had streaked the blackness of the walls and caused fallen debris everywhere. The floor was wet and sloshed from the sound of soggy debris and ashes. To say the least it was quite the horrendous mess.
       As I opened the freezer door, the first thing I noticed was how black it was inside. Then my mind flashed back to what it had looked like a day or two before the fire. It was about time to defrost my freezer because there was about 2 to 2-1/2 inches of frost built up on the top.
       Though blackened with soot, I was surprised to see there was even more frost than there was just a day or two before. The seal on the freezer was burned and melted. It destroyed by about forty to sixty percent. The frost was blackened with soot and the surprising thing about it was that the frost hanging from the top was at least 3 to 4 inches thick.
       I examined a soot covered bowl and noticed the ice cubes in it had not melted at all. I scooped the soot covered ice out onto the floor and looked for a puddle in the bottom of the bowl. There wasn't even one drop of water to be found. The ice cubes had not melted at all, not even one drop. In conclusion there was no evidence of water being re-frozen because of some freak refrigeration.
       Then I grabbed the ice cube trays and noticed the ice cube trays were stiff. The cubes were still stuck in place, so I smeared the soot off the top of the cubes; then twisted the tray to free the cubes. I took a couple and wiped them clean with my shirt. I took a bite with a smile of amazement on my face because I thought it had to be some kind of miracle and I was sure it was the sign from God that I'd asked for.
       I thought to myself, "Gee, this just has to be the best ice cube I've ever tasted." I'm going to be all right. Its obvious God knows this has happened to me and I'm not going through it alone. Maybe this is something that was meant to be. I guess I'm just going to have to make the best of it. May-be if I kept my faith in him, there might be some sort of blessing in it.”
       I wondered if it was possible to come out ahead on the ordeal. As I walked back to my bedroom I felt there was nothing to worry about. I knew things would work out because no doubt -- God was with me.
       I have to wonder if God knew what the local government had in store for me. I wonder if he knew of the corruption and anticipated the way the government was planning to sweep me under a rug. In turn, he made me a person of special importance as well as a person whom could deal with the corruption that would be dished out to me. No matter what the government would try to do, the fact that I'm the person that I am and what I done; can’t be changed. Like, Stupid Rule Number 3: You can't change history. I figure; God must have saved some of the simple ideas for me.

The next chapter of Sunnyside's Lousy Book is:
They called it newsworthy

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