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CBN.com I came down off that trip very slowly.
For three weeks I was afraid to touch anything — even beer.
Then word came that Brian Epstein was giving us an audition. For months Martin and I had been trying to get Epstein to listen to the group we’d formed. We called ourselves The Lost Souls and our talent consisted of four guys who were so good that it was getting hard to keep them waiting on promises alone.
Now Epstein had agreed to hear us. We met in a dingy studio and had our audition. I could tell just by watching Epstein’s face that we were in. At first bored, his expression grew more and more animated as The Souls made their way through the intricate patterns of their hard rock creations.
At the end Epstein said just two words. "You’re on."
To celebrate we all got stoned. The celebration lasted a week. By the end of that time we were making plans for The Lost Souls to go immediately to England to begin recording sessions.
The only trouble was that as Brian Epstein and I got further and further out of our heads, each of us went into his own ego trip. We quarreled and disagreed over every detail of the planning and arrangements.
On the day we went to the airport we were all so bombed we couldn’t find our plane. Special people from the airline were assigned to get us aboard. Finally we were all tucked away.
In the passenger waiting room, Epstein and I had our final and most serious fight. I accused him of having an emperor complex; he refused to accompany the group if I came along. "When you get your head straightened out," Epstein said to me, "come join us in England."
I set out to do the exact opposite. I took Brian’s limousine back to my apartment. A couple of guys from the Rolling Stones were staying there at that point but I didn’t even speak to them on my way to the refrigerator where I kept the acid. I was about to go on a trip like no one had ever gone on before. An average dose is about 250 micrograms. I took 1500.
That trip lasted I don’t know how many days with no food and no sleep. I kept hoping I’d reach a white light and, like they said, find God. I saw the white light, but God kept getting away. One day friends came into the apartment and found me stretched out on the floor again.
"Scott, you’ve finally flipped."
They started to pull me up.
"Let go of me. Can’t you see that I’m Jesus?"
They let go in a hurry. I crawled up to my knees and started saying the Lord’s Prayer, over and over. I was really frightened because the high wouldn’t go away. "White Light, who are you? Are you the guru? Are you transcendental meditation? Are you what I learned as a kid?" I did not remember what I had learned as a kid. The confusion was banging around in my head. I didn’t know who God was. I was Jesus, but who was God?
I was on a motorcycle, roaring at a very high speed up Riverside Drive. There was wind in my face and the buildings raced by in a blur. But for some reason I couldn’t keep my balance. I looked at the speedometer needle. It read ten miles-per-hour.
Another time I was on my bike on Park Avenue. The traffic lights were changing. Green, amber, red. It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen: Green, amber . . while horns honked behind me, I sat there in the middle of thee street, watching the lights change.
What finally yanked me down from the high was a phone call from a girl I knew.
"I’m pregnant." Just like that.
I waited a long time. "Yeah," I said. "So what’s that got to do with me?"
"You’re the father."
"Yeah, sure. I’m the father. Sure."
"Scott, I want an abortion."
I couldn’t remember not doing it either.
"How do you know I’m the father?"
"I know all right."
"I want an abortion, Scott."
"No abortion." I didn’t know why that seemed so important. "We’ll get married. No abortion though."
"I’ll call you later," she said, and hung up.
I was off the high, but the fear wouldn’t go away. I remember one day I was in a pizza parlor on Second Avenue near my apartment when the whole place started to blow up. The guy opened the oven to put my slices in and I could see inside, how it was swelling up to explode. I shouted a warning to everyone and ran several blocks up the street. The only strange part was, when I walked down Second Avenue the next day, that pizza parlor was still there.
They stared following me from the rooftops with telescopic rifles. I’d walk close to the buildings so they couldn’t get a good shot. Only that was dangerous too because all the bricks were loose and they were going to drop down and hit me. By the time I’d crouched and dodged my way home I’d be exhausted from being afraid. And that was odd because as a kid, back in Glasgow, I never used to be afraid of anything.
And then on top of everything came a letter from the government: my draft board ordered me to report to Hagerstown for a physical. That really did it. First my radio show, finished. Then my big change with Epstein and The Souls — blown. The chick with the baby coming. My mind going through changes. And now the lousy draft board.
I couldn’t cope with it. The Ronettes and the Beatles had finished their big U.S. — Canada tour and Nedra was back in the city. I called her up. Nedra was the only person I knew who as straight, yet you didn’t mind telling her things. I told her about Epstein and how people were chasing me and about he draft board. I didn’t however, tell her about the pregnant girl.
"So I’ve got to go to Maryland."
"Scott, if you go to Maryland I’m coming along. You need someone with you."
So I had to tell her about the girl and the baby too.
"If you go to Maryland," she repeated, "I’m going with you."
My car had been re-possessed so we were going to go in Nedra’s. But when she showed up at my apartment I saw she didn’t even have a suitcase. Her mother had been adamant that she wasn’t going anywhere with this busted, no-good ex-disc-jockey bum. Nedra had reminded her mother that she was twenty years old now and simply walked out of the house without her bag or her car keys or anything.
"Scott . . . " she looked at me closely. "You’re really messed up, aren’t you?"
I tried to meet those deep black eyes but I couldn’t.
"Scott, I love you. I’ve tried not to but I do. I don’t know what’s going to happen to you. I just know I’ve got to be around when it does."
She loved me. This kid with everything in the world going for her, and they guy who’d messed up everything he got his hands on. Nedra loved me.
We took a Greyhound bus to Hagerstown. I’d been back to see Mum and Anne lots of times before, but this time for some reason I found myself thinking about a promise Mum had made the day I graduated from high school. She’d said then that she’d be praying for me every morning and every night. Had she really been praying all this time? Eight years?
Mother kissed me and shook hands with Nedra whom she’d met once in New York. She sat us down in her cubbyhole of a living room, made tea and then asked me how things were. Maybe it was Nedra sitting there — so honest herself, knowing all about me and loving me anyway — but thought suddenly, why fake it? I told Mum the whole story, this time not leaving out the failures. I sat there rolling joints right in front of her, while she just looked at me, this puzzled expression on her face.
"So that’s where it’s all been at, Mum; the pregnant girl, the drugs, the broken dreams, the whole bit."
"Charles, I want you and Nedra to come to church with Anne and me this evening," she said.
I laughed. I wasn’t going to any church. Especially not here in Hagerstown, Maryland, to Mum’s funny little Pentecostal place.
"No, I don’t want to, Mum. If you turn on to grass, you won’t need to go to church either."
I caught a warning look from Nedra. "You don’t have to get fresh," she said.
On second thought, it might be kind of a gas. You know, the little southern, lily-white church with its prissy ideas. Nedra just dark-complicated enough to give them fits, and me with my shoulder length hair and my suede suit with the long fringes. And stoned out of my head. It could be a gas.
So that night we all four went to church. Nedra and I sat in the back under the balcony where God couldn’t see us. I was laughing my head off at these small town hicks with their crew-cuts and white socks. They were fresh out of the hills all right. I knew their phony-emotional service by heart too.
"Yeah," I said to myself, "here comes the part where they try to make you feel guilty. And now come the soupy hymns to turn you on. After a while someone’s going to ‘receive a scripture’ for the evening." It was going to be very hard for anyone to quote the Bible at me: I could return five scripture verses for every one they could dish out. I knew the Bible. I was raised on it. And I wasn’t buying.
Up front I could see Vernon Miles, the guy who’d phoned me in New York that time I thought I was Jesus. His trousers were about five inches too short and his socks didn’t match. He picked up a Bible.
"Amen," he said. "Let’s see what the Lord’s got for us tonight." The guy must be blind. He brought the page up to about an inch of his nose, but even with those thick glasses, he couldn’t make it out. He handed the book to someone else to read. The passage was from Jeremiah. " . . I will cleanse them from all their sin and rebellion against me. And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and glory before all the nations of the earth — "
Suddenly Pastor Miles raised both arms straight in the air.
"That’s it!" he said. "Whoo-op! Praise You, God!" He jumped. Literally jumped up in the air. "Praise the Lord. Praise You Jesus!"
It was comical. I would have laughed out loud, except that this guy was wiping me out. He started talking about how God doesn’t see us in terms of our sins and failures. He said God did not see us that night as we were, sitting there in the pews, but that He saw each of us complete and whole. A praise and a glory — that was the way we looked to God. For some reason I was starting to shake like mad. I wanted to get out of there and turn on some more. But Nedra was gripping my hand. All at once she said, "Scott, this is for us."
I turned to look at her. To my amazement she was crying, big ears rolling down her cheeks.
At that moment some woman got out of her seat, came over and grabbed my by the arm. "Son, you need Jesus," she said.
I stared at her. She looked exactly like a woman who used to be in my dad’s church. I hated her guts.
"Get away from us," I said.
Down front, someone was speaking in tongues. Shouting in tongues was more like it; I recognized the high-pitched hysterical babble from a thousand church services in my childhood.
From the other side of the room, came the "interpretation" in a kind of wailing chant: "I have directed your steps to this hour. Cast your burdens upon Me, my children, yea, cast them all upon Me!"
What was there in this familiar rigmarole that was making my throat swell, my eyes sting?
"There are two people here tonight," the sing-song wail continued, "who are responding even now to My call. Come forward, come forward, My children! Give your hearts to Me this night!"
"Scott," Nedra said again, "that’s us! Those two people — that’s us. Scott, let’s go forward!"
She tugged me by the hand and I followed. Together we stumbled down to the long kneeling bench that stretched across the front of the church. Mum sat ever so still in a pew nearby, but Anne came up and knelt down beside us. In fact it seemed like half the congregation got up and came to stand behind us. I tried to keep from crying. It didn’t work. Tears were falling on my jacket, making blotches on the new suede.
Then Pastor Miles was standing in front of me. He laid his hands on my shoulders. "Yourfather would be very happy tonight, son."
At the mention of Dad, I really broke down. My mind went back to that hospital room. "God has a plan for your life, Boy." It was almost the last thing Dad said before he died. It freaked me out, thinking about that.
I couldn’t take any more. I had to get out of there. Embarrassing as it was, I grabbed Nedra by the arm and forced our way through the crowd standing behind us.
"Let them leave," Vernon Miles said in his warm, loving voice. "The Lord’s ways are not ours."
Once again, Vernon Miles caring about me. He was not doing the expected thing, he was caring. By the time we got back to Mum’s I was shaking worse than ever. The first thing I did was to roll a joint. Nedra watched me silently, not condemning, just waiting. I offered it to her, but as usual she shook her head. I lay down on the couch, lit up and inhaled.
And immediately sat up, gagging. The smoke felt like it was poisoning me. I coughed. A black ugly substance came up out of my throat. I looked at Nedra, confused and frightened. I coughed and again and more of the vile black mess came out of my throat. I jumped up from the couch, ran to the toilet and threw up.
When I got back the phone was ringing. It was the girl with the baby. Somehow she had found out where I was, and she was having a screaming fit because she thought I’d tried to run away. I told her I was coming back as soon as I’d seen the draft board. I also told her what had just happened in Vernon Miles’ church. She couldn’t understand it, but then neither could I.
"Well, so long," I said to her at last. "Doubtless I’ll be hearing from you."
"Doubtless you will, Daddy."
After I hung up I knew I had to get off by myself for a while.
"You mind standing here alone?" I asked Nedra. "Mum and Anne’ll be back soon."
"Of course not, Scott."
So I left Nedra at the apartment and took a walk through the dark Maryland countryside, rolling joint after joint, lighting up, then throwing it away because of the gagging.
The next day, I went to see my draft board. When they asked if I had ever been arrested and told them about that bust on drug charges, they wanted nothing more to do with me.
So that was that. We could get out of here. At the bus station Mother hugged me, then turned and hugged Nedra too.
"I want you to have this," she said. She put Dad’s Bible in my hand.
I looked at it. I didn’t know what to say. Out of the window I saw Mum waving till the bus was out of sight.
A funny thing happened. As we roared along the New Jersey Turnpike, I found myself praying. Actually talking to God. I hadn’t done that in years. It wasn’t much of a prayer. Sort of a spiritual shrug. "Well, Lord, I don’t know what You’re doing . . . here I am still stoned . . . not even the Army wants me . . . what good could I possibly be to You?"
As soon as we got back to New York Nedra left to go shopping with Ronnie and Estelle. The three of them were leaving in less than a week for a tour of Germany and Spain. I wandered aimlessly around the apartment. If grass wasn’t agreeing with me, there was plenty of booze and acid around. But each time I’d reach for some I’d keep wondering what it would be like to be in my right mind for a change. At last my eyes fell on Dad’s Bible lying on the bed beside the suitcase, the big black Thompson’s Chain-Reference edition he’d loved. I picked it up and thumbed through it. Dad’s small, neat handwriting was on almost every page, filling margins, even squeezed between the lines. I sat down and began to read.
Over the next few days, without understanding what was happening to me, I gulped scripture. I couldn’t seem to stop. I would get up early in the morning — which by itself was a miracle — and start to read. It made no difference where I opened the book, it was all like food to a starving man. New Testament, Old Testament — I read about Saul and David and Solomon, the split kingdom, the wars, the exiles, like it was today’s newspaper. I raced from page to page, hungry to discover how it all turned out, even though I’d known theses stories since childhood.
On the third day, there was a knock at the door. I thought it was Nedra coming to say goodbye, and ran to open it. It was some musician friends full of talk about a big concert they’d just signed for. I tried to get interested, but I had to keep asking them to repeat everything.
As the drinks went round, they noticed I wasn’t having any. "Man, what’s happened to the party?"
"You wouldn’t believe it if I told you."
But I tried to, anyhow. How I couldn’t stop reading the Bible. "This book is speaking to me, man. It’s talking about what’s happening."
"Yeah? That’s great. Have a joint."
Saturday I went out of the airport to see the Ronettes off to Frankfurt. Afterwards it was awful. It was like my whole life took off with that plane. Next morning I tried to go to church. I walked into a big place downtown. A phalanx of ushers in white gloves closed in on me. "You’ll be very welcome in the Lord’s house," one of them said, whispering so as not to break the holy hush, "when you return in appropriate attire." Sure, bud.
Up the street another place let me in. Afterwards I spoke to the minister. I told him I was trying to figure out what this book was all about — I held out Dad’s Bible. He told me the church was having their midwinter retreat next month and if I wanted to come I should put down a $200 deposit.
Finally, the third Sunday of looking, I wandered into a funny little place on East Sixty-second Street. The name really grabbed me: Rock Church. Only "Rock" turned out to mean Jesus. It was a great place, though. Nobody asked me for money, nobody griped about my clothes. The preacher talked about the scriptures and he kept answering the very questions I was asking. There were services at Rock Church every day and I started going a lot.
Being a new person in Jesus, that’s what I wanted to find out about. Starting fresh. Getting all the old junk behind me. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" — I found that in Second Corinthians. I liked that. "Old things are passed away," it went on: "behold, all things are become new." Dad had drawn a line under that verse, and already I could tell that part of it was true. I mean — getting up early in the morning to read the Bible, not wanting a joint or a drink, not even thinking about them. That was new all right.
But . . . "old things are passed away?" As far as I could see, most of the old things were still around. The fear whenever I had to walk down the street. I had thought the fear was a chemical reaction, because of all the drugs I was taking. But I hadn’t touched drugs of any kind for weeks, and it seemed like the fear was getting worse. Sometimes my heart would pound so hard I couldn’t breathe. I even went to a doctor but he couldn’t find anything wrong.
Pastor Vick, at Rock Church, said if we felt afraid, all we had to do was pray. Man, it seemed like I prayed all the time. And it helped, some. But this thing sure hadn’t "passed away" when I became a Christian.
One night while Nedra was away I was lying in bed around 2:00 A.M. trying to sleep (that was another thing I was having trouble doing), when suddenly a beautiful, glowing, shimmering light entered the room. I started to sit up, all excited because I thought it was Jesus, when this paralyzing fear crept over me.
The light was beautiful, the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen — and yet, if it was Jesus why was my mind suddenly full of terrible thoughts? I pictured an airplane in flames. The plane was burning, falling, with Nedra inside. But I knew it was more than a thought. It was happening, right this minute. I saw the plane crash to the ground and explode, and Nedra was dead.
I wanted to jump up and run to the telephone and find out where in Germany the plane had gone down, but I couldn’t move. The light pulsed and glowed. It was alive and it was all-powerful, and if I moved even a finger it would kill me.
I felt sweat soaking the sheet beneath me. I was crying for Nedra but I couldn’t lift my hand to wipe my eyes. My eardrums ached my heart was pounding so hard. I watched an hour crawl by on the clock on the dresser. Two hours. And still I lay pinned to the bed and the fear grew and grew.
Dad’s Bible was on the dresser next to the clock and I knew it could help me. But it might as well have been on the moon, as far as getting to it. My heart couldn’t stand the wild banging much longer. The beautiful light grew brighter, dimmed, grew bright again.
Six A.M. I was stiff from staying in one rigid position so long. My heart still shook my body each time it beat, but it was slowing down. I was suffocating. I couldn’t get breath down into my lungs.
Outside the window the palest hint of gray appeared. And suddenly I knew that if I could get that window open, something clean and life-giving would enter the room. It took many more minutes to build my courage, but at last in a single leap I hurled myself off the bed and tore open the window. I leaned outside for a minute, gulping the icy January air. When I turned around, the shimmering light had gone.
I dashed to the phone. No use calling Nedra’s mother: he’s only hang up on me. So — though it was only 6:30 in the morning — I dialed Nedra’s Aunt Helen, to ask if she had any details of the plane crash.
And of course there hadn’t been any crash.
It had all been my own mixed-up head. Or . . . was it something outside my head, too? Something that wanted to hurt me and keep me afraid? I remembered Jeffrey and that time when I thought I was Jesus and he was Satan. What if that had been more than just drugs, that time, too?
As it turned out, Nedra was back in New York two days later. The Ronettes had played nine cities in Germany to standing-room only houses, then abruptly cancelled the Spanish half of the tour. "Why, Nedra?" I asked, hoping she’d say it was because she’d been as desperately lonesome as I had. We were sitting in a Dunkin’ Donuts place which was the best I could afford nowadays. Nedra seemed tense and tired as she always did after a tour. She stirred her coffee for the dozenth time without tasting it.
"Scott," she said finally, "there was this guy over there. Part of the publicity team. He kept telling me this Jesus kick would last exactly a month. That’s what he called it, ‘this Jesus kick.’ He kept daring me to go out with him — said he could bring me back to earth in one evening."
"And — did you go?"
"No. But not because I didn’t believe him. The horrible part, Scott, is that he was right! If I go on with these club dates, the clothes, the fan magazines, all the rest of it — oh, maybe not in a month, like he said, but sooner or later what happened in Maryland is going to start to seem crazy."
"Lots of people in music are into Jesus," I said, vaguely. I didn’t know who they were, but I was sure there must be some.
"I know. I kept telling myself that. Maybe it’s just me. I mean — I ‘went forward’ at a church service. But what do I know about Jesus? This guy would ask questions and I wouldn’t have any answers and he’d laugh himself sick. One church service just isn’t enough."
Anyhow, she went on, while they were in Germany Ronnie had suddenly announced she wanted to leave the group and marry Phil Spector. Phil was the record producer for the Ronettes. "When she said that, Scott, it was like God opened the door out of a big dark room. Estelle wants to keep on, but she’s good enough to get solo dates if she decides to."
And that’s how it happened. Estelle started singing alone. Ronnie got married. And Nedra and I began going together to Rock Church.
We went almost every night, partly because we liked it, partly because I wasn’t working and every place else cost money. I’d long ago made up my mind never to spend a dime of Nedra’s bread. All this while I’d been job hunting, but I was still black-listed at radio stations and I didn’t want to do record promotion or anything. Not because I didn’t believe in the music, but because my friends in the music world spent all their time stoned and I didn’t need it. So I spent the days answering ads in the Times, evenings with Nedra at Rock Church. Nedra would arrive from uptown in her white Chrysler Imperial hard-top with its black leather seats, I’d walk from my apartment, and we’d settle down to listed to Pastor Vick.
One bitter cold February evening, I had two pieces of news as I waited for Nedra on the corner of Sixty-second Street. First, I had a job, clerking at Bookmasters. And second, I didn’t have a pregnant girlfriend. I pulled Nedra into a doorway out of the wind.
"Guess what? The girl with the baby? ‘My’ baby? Well suddenly she isn’t pregnant anymore."
"What do you mean?"
"I don’t know. She just got herself unpregnant and it wasn’t an abortion either. Seems it was all a great big mistake. She called up this afternoon to say goodbye."
I looked down at our feet, so close together on the narrow sill. Nedra was wearing little white boots with white fur around the tops. "Nedra, will you marry me?"
"Of course, Scott."
To Nedra’s mother, though, it was anything but of course. To her I was still a strung-out bum in pursuit of her little daughter’s fame and fortune. Nedra had turned twenty-one January 27, so she didn’t need her folks’ consent, but to prove her point she and I agreed that she should put all of her property and income in her mother’s name. Nedra would keep only her car. She and I would live on my bookstore clerk’s take-home pay of $102 a week. I had often spent that much on an evening.
Nedra and I wanted to get married in Rock Church. Together we went to Pastor Vick and made the plans. The ceremony called for an exchange of wedding rings. I didn’t know whether you could buy one ring for fifty dollars, let alone two — but it was all I had, and someone gave me the name of wholesale jeweler’s on the West Side. On my way down Fifth Avenue, I passed Tiffany’s. It sure would be great to get Nedra something from there. And all of a sudden it was as if Jesus Himself were telling me to go inside.
"Sure," I said to myself, "just walk right in!" I wasn’t accustomed to this kind of nudging and didn’t know what to make of it. But I went in anyhow and was wandering around when I heard a voice,
I looked around. There was this guy standing behind a counter.
"Don’t you go to Rock Church?"
I didn’t recognize him.
"I sing in the choir."
Now I remembered. We talked for a few minutes. Then he asked me if I was looking for something special.
"Frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing in here at all. I need a couple of real inexpensive rings. I’m getting married."
"Wouldn’t you like something from Tiffany’s?"
I laughed. "Yeah. Sure. I’m, a clerk in a bookstore and I buy rings at Tiffany’s?"
The guy stepped from behind the counter and talked for a while with a fellow in a morning coat. "I think we can do something," he told me. I went out of that store ten minutes later with two gold wedding bands in a little velvet bag. It was unbelievable. I carried that little bag around with me for three days, just thanking God for giving us the best when all I could afford was the cheapest.
We decided to have the wedding just after the regular 7:30 Sunday evening service, so at least there’d be a few people from the congregation there. No one from Nedra’s family was coming except one cousin, Elaine who’d agreed to stand up with her. I knew my mum would never understand my bride’s family not being there, so we just told her and Anne we were getting married and didn’t mention a ceremony. We did invite some friends from the music and show biz world, but we were pretty sure they wouldn’t show up because it was in a church.
But when the night came, to our amazement, there they were, sitting in the back pews, our atheist and freak and Taoist and Eastern mystic friends, all of them under thirty, while no one down front was under fifty. My Jewish friend David from Life was there, clapping his hands like an old-time Pentecostal, crying,
"Out of sight, man!?"
They were all stoned. The lot of them. The regulars at Rock Church didn’t quite know what to make of it — especially Nedra’s mini wedding dress — but they were very nice about it. After the marriage service they all wanted to shake hands with Nedra and me, so we stood in the door with Pastor Vick and said "Thank you," and "Yes, very happy," for fifteen minutes. When the first old fellow got through pumping my hand I looked down and there was crumpled dollar bill in it. "I can’t take this!" I said — the guy worked as a janitor on Seventy-second Street.
He patted my shoulder. "You keep it, son. Jesus wants you to have it."
The next person it was the same thing. And the next. Dollar bills, quarters, dimes one five-dollar bill. "Jesus told me to give you this." Nearly every individual in that procession of garment workers, cleaning women, widows and retired old men left a little money in my hand — some of it, I suspected, carfare and lunch money for the week ahead. If the line hadn’t ended when it did, I would have been bawling like a baby.
Afterwards, our musician friends had a surprise for us too: a wedding party at The Scene over on Eighth Avenue. Tiny Tim and a group called Spanky and Our Gang were there to make the music, playing a lot of the songs Nedra and the girls had made famous. It was fantastic evening — only I had all these quarters and dimes in my pocket, and I kept wondering how much the party was costing.
How come, I wondered, Christians were always the ones with the frayed overcoats, while everyone else had clothes and cars and all the good times they wanted? Christianity had kept my father poor all his life — was it going to do the same for Nedra and me? I looked around at the crowd, dancing, laughing, having fun. How could I tell them, "I'm into something great," when to all outward appearances Christianity had nothing to offer at all . . .
This excerpt from Scott Free is reprinted with permission from the author. Any use of this material without written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.