Last night, I dreamed I was back at Parkins Theological Seminary. Once more I found myself standing on the icy cobblestone walkway that extended from the two-story red brick student center to the portentous neoclassical cathedral. It was winter, sometime in the mid 1970s, and snow enveloped the landscape. But with the imperviousness of a dreamer, I did not feel the cold. As I drew nearer to the cathedral, I could see its doors open wide, beckoning me inside its cloistered halls (where the wisdom of the divine awaited to be imparted); Clearly I was one of those whom the Almighty had singled out to do His service.
Stepping inside, I found myself on the stage of an arena that must have seated an audience of thousands. To my right an orchestra pit was filled with giant-sized statues of Jesus and the Greek god Dionysus. I was no sooner able to take in the panoramic view before a dozen or more stagehands ushered me backstage with such words as, “You’re late. The show’s about to start. You’re not even in costume! We’ve got to get you ready. Do you know your cues? Have you got your lines memorized? And, for God’s sake, don’t forget your mask! All eyes will be on you. So, go out there and break a leg!”
Less than a heartbeat later, I was on stage before an audience of thousands. I could feel my throat constrict, and my mind began to fog over. And when I glanced down, I discovered that I was naked, except for the mask.
That’s when I woke up, my forehead covered with perspiration and my heart throbbing. Only when I realized that I had returned to reality did my panic subside. But the memory of that dream has continued to dog my waking moments, a memory that I have kept to myself for fear of being mocked.
But my time of silence has passed, and my story will not go untold. Just as I, the dreamer, dared to venture inside that cathedral, you will now come with me inside the cloistered halls and meet, as I did, the people who deemed themselves obligated to pay heed to a curious phenomenon known as a call.
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REVIEWS for The Call! | INTERVIEWS with Derald W. Hamilton
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TWICE UPON A PREQUEL & THREE SHORTS
From the pages of The Call, two supporting characters from the novel, Elmo Piggins and Reginald Dexter, are given their own stories as part of this anthology.
The Astonishing Elmo Piggins introduces young Elmo Piggins as the prototypical Southern preacher’s kid. His older sister seems to eclipse him, until she leaves home and he joins the Navy following high school graduation. While at sea, Elmo experiences a Road-to-Damascus transformation, turning his life and relationships on their ear.
The Rebirth of Reginald Dexter tells of a tenured professor of psychology who is forced to retire at sixty-five. It is both a funny and inspirational story that supports the life-affirming notion that it’s never too late for new beginnings.
Taken Up Before The General, follows the misadventures of a hapless military brat who is pummeled into submission at every turn. Taken Up Before The General provides a blistering portrait of a social order that grants no quarter to the those who just don’t fit in… anywhere.
The War Comes Home explores the same social dynamic – that of self-sacrifice for the sake of conformity -- only this time, the story is told through the eyes of a military wife saddled with the task of avoiding any upsets upon her husband’s return from war.
And finally, there is A Litter Bit of Wisdom—a darkly humorous tale that explores the possible repercussions that might result from our actions or inactions. Or could it be simply the workings of fate?
There is nothing dark, twisted or sinister in any of these stories… only the exceptional writing talent that puts the reader squarely in the middle of the story… ~Rebecca Hayes, Publishing & Design Specialist
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STUCK IN TRANSIT
From its folksy beginning detailing the history of transportation in the fictitious “Feral County” mid-America, the novel STUCK IN TRANSIT humorously and darkly satirizes the inner workings of a metropolitan public transportation company. Beginning in the office of the Feral Area Rapid Transit (F.A.R.T) CEO, Hal Bannerman, we are introduced to a world of characters the likes of which can only be found in the workplace. Hal Bannerman is a well-to-do church and family man, volunteer with the Boy Scouts and member of the Rotary Club and the Masons. Except for his extra marital affair and enlisting the union to organize against the workers with the end of padding his own pockets, he is a pillar of society.
Along with its scathing portrayal of the inner machinations of F.A.R.T.’s upper echelon, STUCK IN TRANSIT also examines the opportunistic and often duplicitous workings of the unions affiliated with the public transportation industry.
There are the potentially explosive hydrogen busses, affectionately reference as “bombs on wheels,” bus yard landscaping fiascos, hydrogen fires, retirement parties, and the sheep and goats used in place of the John Deere mowers to keep the grass short and the organization green.
This so-crazy-it–might–be-true story culminates in tension as the workers gear up for a strike. No one knows what will happen, but the old timers swear they’ve seen it all before and will most likely see it again.
STUCK IN TRANSIT comes forth as a wry and cynical indictment of the deceptive and shortsighted attitudes and practices of those in influential positions in business and politics. In this instance, the business and political policies and procedures propagated and promoted are seen portrayed within the microcosmic setting of the public transportation industry with results that are often humorous, but disturbing, leaving the reader to wonder, “Is it really safe to board that coach or trolley, and where is it all going to end - at a board meeting, at the next bus stop, or under the bridge with a bottle of Muscatel?”
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