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After a 32 year old burden of carrying an empty heart was finally lifted when Joey returned to Beal Gardens, on the campus of Michigan State University. Late one Saturday night, Joey sat in the center of the gardens admiring the protective canopy of oak and beech trees, which had grown from the puny saplings he helped plant. As he closed his eyes in the peaceful darkness, re-living the best years of his life and imagining what could have been if the only girl he had ever and could ever love hadn’t abruptly ended their lives together; he was startled by a shadow in the intermittent moonlight. Joey prepared to defend himself from the intruder when he was shocked speechless as a beautiful woman with an athletic build, long reddish brown hair and a crooked smile revealed herself and began drawing his eyes deeper into hers.

Mary Ann didn’t understand what had lured her back to Beal Gardens until she saw Joey sitting on the concrete bench that they had shared so many years before. Neither one spoke a word. They gently took each other’s hand, left where they had originally found love and disappeared into old memories.

After the amazing reunion, a depressed Joey sulked on the tarmac, waiting for his flight back to loneliness when he was removed by security guards and escorted to an anxious Mary Ann who had raced to the airport to tell him that she couldn’t make the same mistake twice. Late one December evening, in the middle of the worst blizzard in history, they were blessed with the impossible birth of a beautiful baby girl who grew to be one of the greatest gifts from God that the world had ever known.

When the power had failed and the house dropped to sub-zero temperatures, Mary Ann decided that was the opportune time to go into labor. Fearing the worst, a panicked Joey sought shelter inside the warmth of his barn’s hay room and moved his wife there on the back of his trusted donkey, Milton. Born two months premature to a carpenter/ home builder father and a school teacher mother, Jessica took her first breaths surrounded by a bevy of farm animals and two, shocked, admiring parents.

While caring for his new family, a trio of stranded frat boys miraculously found their way through the cold and snow to the safety of Joey’s barn where they joined in the celebration of baby Jessica’s birth.

Raised in a centuries-old Little White Church, people knew that there was something special about Jessica when she confronted the influx of “new” Christians and a fanatical Reverend who sought to replace the Church with a more elegant and modern version.

In search of direction, Jessica embarked on a 40 day trip around the country, ending up in a deteriorating and mostly abandoned section of New York City where she was welcomed by Big Mike, the leader of a violent motorcycle gang.

Knowing that was where she was supposed to be, she formed a group of loyal women followers who sought to bring hope to the surrounding community. Feeling threatened by the change Jessica was causing, Big Mike ordered her elimination. Betrayed by one of the ladies in her group, Jessica faced her fate unafraid and returned to show the world the path to everlasting life.

In Heaven, a visibly annoyed God summoned all who had worked to bring salvation to the world for a second time, to His courtroom, where he presided over a short trial to decide if the world was worth saving, or not. After an intense deliberation, God delivered His verdict and passed sentence, bringing change that everybody in the courtroom feared but was desperately needed.

Published: Mitch Egan Slate on
ISBN: 9781311152978
List price: $2.99
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