Welcome to the Whyte House Family Spoken Novels podcast: Holiday Edition episode #83. Today we are reading chapter 26 of the book “I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas” by Daniel Whyte III with Meriqua Whyte.
“I must get to the restaurant,” Grant Lee Jr. said to himself as he pedaled furiously out of the neighborhood making a right turn on to the main road. “Rev. Barnett will take me to Mister Briley’s house for sure. I must talk with him.” Rather than make the left turn at the intersection, he continued straight ahead and came to a sudden stop at a pedestrian crosswalk where he made the left turn as soon as the light changed. I’ll just take the back road in between the buildings. I should get there just as fast. Please, God, please get me there safely.
In a short while, Grant Lee was discreetly parking his bicycle at the back of the restaurant. He hurried into the restaurant which was already filled with customers having breakfast.
“Is Rev. Barnett in?” he asked the lady at the cash register. “Please, I must speak with him. Tell him it’s Grant Lee.”
Rev. Barnett was at the register within seconds. “Grant Lee, is everything alright? What’s wrong?”
“Can I talk with you, Rev. Barnett? Something came up.”
“Sure. Come back into my office,” Rev. Barnett answered.
Once in his office, Rev. Barnett closed the door. “What’s up, son? You look distressed. Is everything alright at home?”
Grant Lee nodded. He showed him the letter he had shown Grandfather Nichols and his mother. Rev. Barnett immediately recognized the letter but acted as though he had never seen it before.
“You must take me to see Mister Briley. You must, Rev. Barnett. I believe he can help me solve this mystery, plus he’s the only one I trust right now,” Grant Lee said. Taking a deep breath he continued, “Grandfather Nichols won’t say anything yet. And neither will my mother. They keep telling me to wait until after the wedding. Did you know my mother was getting married in a few days? In fact, she did not even know anything about this letter until I showed her. Her and Grandfather and Grandmother were arguing about it yesterday. Apparently they lied to her about my father saying he ran out on her and now she’s getting married to somebody and I don’t want another father; I want my real father, and…!”
“Slow down, son,” Rev. Barnett said. “Let me get you something to drink and then you start from the beginning. Trust me, I will answer any questions you have after that.”
When Rev. Barnett returned to his office with a glass of orange juice the phone rang. It was his wife.
“Yes, Athaliah…Before going to the hospital, why don’t you and Mrs. Mattie stop by here first. There is nothing she can do for Mister Briley right now until he recovers…Get here as soon as you can; something very important just came up…Bye now..Love you.”
“Did you just say, ‘Mrs. Mattie’? Is Mister Briley in the hospital?” Grant Lee asked. “He can’t be. I just spoke with him last night.”
“Sorry, Grant Lee,” Rev. Barnett said softly. “Last night we had to rush him to the emergency room. We believe he had a mild heart attack. He had a triple by-pass surgery early this morning, but thank God he’s doing better. The doctors said it all went well and he should recover without any problems. My wife and Mrs. Mattie and myself were going to stop by and pay him a visit, but we’ll take care of you first.”
“Can I come with you all, Rev. Barnett? I must see Mister Briley. He’s not going to die, is he?”
“No, I don’t think so, Grant Lee. Mister Briley is a fighter. He’s still in intensive care, so I’m not sure about you coming right now. I don’t think they allow minors on that floor. Now tell me everything from the beginning.”
Cassandra checked next door with Mrs. Casabelle to see if Mister Briley had stopped by and Grant Lee went for a quick visit.
“No, he’s not here,” the housekeeper informed her. “I remember him. Trust me, I have four boys and they love to take off exploring, so he’s probably exploring somewhere. Give him a couple hours.”
“Thank you,” Cassandra said.
After checking with three more of the neighbors who Grant Lee had befriended, she said to her parents, “He couldn’t be too far away. He’s on foot.”
“No, he’s not,” her father said. “His bike’s missing.”
“I checked the attic and he’s not there,” her mother informed her. “Does he have his phone on him?”
“No, he left it on the kitchen table,” Cassandra said.
“What do you think made him leave like that without letting us know?” Natalie asked.
“Mother, I am surprised you can’t guess at that,” Cassandra said. “I have no doubt it all has to do with the things he pulled down from the attic. What did you expect him to do after finding out we have been lying to him all these years? I believe he left to find his father.”
Rev. Nichols’ phone rang before anyone could reply. “Hi, Paul…Well, we were headed on out to the church for the rehearsal, but something came up. Is Grant Lee there by any chance? We don’t know where he is…Okay, Paul. I really appreciate it,” Rev. Nichols told him. “We’ll see you later.”
Upon hanging up the phone, he said, “Paul says Grant Lee is not at the church. They’ve put the rehearsal on hold.”
“Well, I can’t just sit around hoping he’ll turn up,” Cassandra said picking up her car keys. “I’m going to drive around to some of his friends and see if he is with them.”
“Why don’t you ride with Cassandra,” Rev. Nichols told his wife. “I’ll ride around, too. If we don’t find him by four, we’ll call the police. Keep your phones on.”
By the time Athaliah and Mrs. Mattie got to the restaurant, Grant Lee was telling about his mother getting married.
“Come on in. Grant Lee and I were just talking,” Rev. Barnett said opening the door to his office.
“Grant Lee, how have you been doing? It’s been a while since we’ve seen you,” Athaliah said giving him a hug. “How’s your mother doing?”
“She’s doing fine. Hi, Mrs. Mattie,” Grant Lee said.
“Have a seat, Mrs. Mattie. I’ll get someone to bring you both something to eat. In the meantime I have to speak with my wife about something very important,” Rev. Barnett said to them.
“Sure, Rev. Barnett. Grant Lee and I have a lot to talk about. I have not seen him in a while,” Mrs. Mattie said making herself comfortable in Rev. Barnett’s leather chair.
“Is Mister Briley going to get better?” Grant Lee asked as soon as the Barnetts closed the door.
“Oh, sure. He’s in God’s hands. We’ve lived a good many years together. I jus’ don’t feel in my bones God is ready to take him on home yet. So how have ya been doing?”
The two ate their meal quietly until Mrs. Mattie said, “Ya knows, Grant Lee, sometimes da Lord allows things to happen in our lives for a good reason. Mos’ times it is so we can better ourselves and have more faith in Him. An’ I say all that to say this, son, I knows who ya daddy is.”
Grant Lee stopped eating. He stared at Mrs. Mattie. “You do, Mrs. Mattie? Who is he and how do you know?”
Mrs. Mattie laughed. “Ol’ folks liken me knows a lot of things; we jus’ don’t tell a lot. Anyways ya daddy is a great football player – Grant Barnett, Rev. and Mrs. Barnett’s son.”
I knew it! Grant Lee thought as he remembered what he had found out from searching Google. “Are you sure, Mrs. Mattie?”
“Yes. As sure as I is black. Listen up real carefully. My husband asks ya mother, Miss Cassie, when ya was a baby who ya daddy was, an ya mother she says ya daddy was Grant Barnett. An’ Rev. Barnett told me ya was his grandson on da day ya mother came to da church at Mt. Shiloh and Rev. Barnett blesses the babies. On top of that, ya look jus’ liken ya daddy—only some shades lighter.”
Mrs. Mattie waited for him to respond. “Ya sure don’t look surprised,” she said.
“That’s because I just found out myself that Grant Barnett is my dad. Nobody would tell me anything. I figured it out myself and you just confirmed it, Mrs. Mattie.”
“I have to make this quick, Athaliah.” Rev. Barnett said. He told his wife all that Grant Lee had shared with him. “I’ll fill in the details later. Cassandra is supposed to be getting married in a few days…”
“Wait a minute. I thought Grant told us her mother sent him a letter shortly after Jake Seymour’s funeral telling him that Cassandra was getting married and for him to cease all correspondence with her,” Athaliah said. “Grant said that he had questioned that letter since Cassandra had not written it herself, especially since they had agreed that if any one of them were to get married they would return their commitment ring.”
“I really do not know exactly what’s going on,” Rev. Barnett said. “All I know is we have a grandson in my office who is hurting for his father and we are going to help him by first telling him who we are. It’s way past time that somebody told him we are the missing half of his family.
“The reason why I was behind Grant making things right and trying to be with his son years ago is because we in the South, both black people and white people, have been lying and covering up these kinds of things for a long time. And when the children grow up and find out the truth, it always turns into a big mess and causes irreparable damage to the child. I remember years ago, there was a young man who turned eighteen and his grandmother popped on him that he had a half-brother who lived nearby who was a priest. That young man said, ‘No, he’s not my brother because I don’t know him.’ We need to stop doing this to our families because it always comes back to bite us in the butt.”
Thank you for joining us for this episode of Whyte House Family stories. You may purchase a copy of this novel and any other Christian fiction books read on this podcast from Amazon.com.
Now, dear listener, please know that God—the divine Author of all things—wants to write a great story with your life as well. But first you must give Him the pen by trusting Him with the life He gave you and surrendering your heart to Jesus Christ as Savior. Here is how:
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
May God bless you until next time.