When I was 13 years old, a cousin of mine died as a result of a tragic accident. He was 11 years old at the time of his death. The day after he died, my parents and I went over to his parents’ house to visit his family. I went with my parents because I had been a good friend of my cousin and still was a good friend of his older brother.
About 15 years ago, I met a couple whose 20-year-old daughter was instantly killed when her car was hit by a train. She died five minutes after she walked out of her parents’ home. She was on her way to class at Illinois Central College. When she left the house, her mother told her goodbye and told her that she looked beautiful.
I’ve written before about how I broke my leg when I was a boy. The events leading up to my broken leg began during the summer of 1967, when I was 10 years old. While holding onto the end of an old rubber garden hose, I climbed the weeping willow tree in the back yard of my parents’ home. When I got about 20 feet high, I climbed out onto a thick branch and tied the end of the hose to the branch.
Imagine you are driving on University Street in Peoria and in the distance you see a large crowd of people gathered in a parking lot. As you drive closer to the crowd, you see a man who you have met before tied to a telephone pole. To your horror, you see two young, well-built men taking turns at beating the man with leather whips that have sharp pieces of metal attached to the ends of each whip.