Willis: My Dad, Part 2 – The Field

I want to again explain the purpose of these pieces, in that my goal is to not only honor the life of my Dad, but also to show how one can endure a life of failure, cruelty, and suffering, and still maintain faith in Christ. And that one can be capable of being bent and molded by the Word of God, even at the age of 80… but that is a story for another time.

All of these pieces are written based on stories my Dad has told me. There are embellishments and modifications made for the purpose of storytelling, and to fill in the gaps of information my Dad cannot remember. If you are curious about any of those changes, let me know.

Some things I still do not know, like the name of my grandfather, or my grandmother. My Dad told me long ago, but he won’t talk about them much for reasons that will become obvious. So, please bear with me on that aspect.

In my first piece, I strived to show that even in his teen years, my Dad for whatever reason was unaware of sexual intercourse being a thing. That rapidly changed after that event, again for reasons unknown, but it was to demonstrate that it is possible for children to remain unaware of sins. I want all my readers to go back and read that piece and ponder what perhaps led to this? How was this possible? And is it at all possible for children in our modern times to be allowed or able to avoid knowledge of sinful acts of the flesh like my Dad was?

I think that is enough for now. I will let you get to the next part of my series. Be warned: the piece contains graphic descriptions of events and contains foul language. If this bothers you at all, please refrain from reading. In order to preserve the harsh reality of this world, the depravity of sin, and the wretchedness of mankind, I felt it necessary to include these elements. Again, if you are sensitive to such content, do not continue.

Because of the very, very harsh nature of the next few pieces, I am going to keep them shorter.


Setting: Michigan, Early Fall, 1948, Somewhere near Royal Oak.

In the fields near the Willis home. Sometime after 1 pm.

Begins with exterior shot: A 10 year old boy, with crudely cut black hair, is working in the field, cutting grass and other vegetation with hand sheers. His skin is well tanned, and his arms clearly showing evidence of having been doing such work from a very early age. The boy is sweating profusely, but works as if he is undaunted by the strangely hot fall day. Such is Michigan weather, unpredictable. 

Voice from within the field: Hey Boy!

The boy looks up, and does not see anyone. He goes back to his work. 

Voice: Hey Boy! What is your name?

The boy looks up and sees a man emerge from the field. The man is wearing typical worker clothes of the time. Rough cut pants, unremarkable boots, and a loose fitting flannel. He is sweating, and as he fully emerges, wipes his head with a handkerchief. 

Larry: My name is Larry, mister. I need to get back to my work. My Dad has a temper, and work comes first.

Man: I understand that, I understand that, takes a strong hand to keep his boys working.

The man approaches Larry and kneels down with a friendly smile. 

Man: And I admire that sense of work ethic. But why don’t you take a minute and catch a breath. I got something we can share together. Come on Larry, it is Larry, right?

Larry: No, mister, I told you, I have to work.

Man: It will only take a moment. Here, let me show you.

The man stood to his full height, and unzipped his pants showing his genitals to Larry. Instantly Larry turned and ran through the field, sheers in his hand. He could hear the man laughing and calling for him, but Larry didn’t stop until he cleared the field and entered the backyard of their home. He ran into the shed, and locked the door. Eventually the man stopped calling for him. After a while, Larry exited the shed. He took a moment to scan the yard, to see if the man had followed him. There was no sign of him. From the shed, Larry walks to their garage, where Larry’s Dad is working, fixing tools. 

Larry: Dad. Dad, can I interrupt you? Dad?!

Larry’s Dad turns around, his clothes dirty from work, his face a frowning snarl of anger.

Larry’s Dad: What, Larry, you can’t expect me to believe you are done with your work. Get back out their now, damn it!

Larry: But Dad, there was this man, he showed….

Larry’s Dad: Showed what? Get your ungrateful ass back out there and cut that damned field! Get!

Larry: But Dad… he showed me his!

Larry’s Dad: G*d damn it! I said get back to work!

Larry’s Dad lashed out with his fist, smacking Larry in the face, causing the child to slam into the dust. The Dad picked Larry up from the dirt, and surprisingly gently patted some of the dirt away from Larry’s clothes. But the moment passed and the grimace of fury returned. He grabbed Larry by the collar of his shirt and stuck his face almost nose to nose with the boy.

Larry’s Dad: And now look! You got your clothes dirtier than before! Your Mama is gonna be pissed! And when she is pissed, well boy, you are gonna get a f**king whooping! Now get back to work!

Without another word, Larry, his face full of tears, turned and ran back into the field, but he was too scared to work, so he hid, for the majority of the remaining day. He hid in the field, hid from the man, hid from his Dad, and hid from the world until he could hear his mother calling for supper.

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