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Joyce M Bell, Christian poet, author, writer
A return to Sandville...and the joy, tears, gains and losses of Steed and Almay Vance
Walk with Steed and Almay Vance, through
experiencing their enduring love and
continued faith in God
Joe Vance had been out gambling and drinking for the whole weekend and had come home that Sunday night drunk, cursing and demanding food, as usual. He, and his two older brothers, who had been playing marbles by the chimney, stopped and huddled together. His mother went to the stove, as his father sat down heavily at the kitchen table.
“C’mer,” he bellowed with a drunken slur, looking directly at Steed.
Steed didn’t move. He was scared of his father when he was drinking. He eyed his mother who had stopped what she was doing and was looking at Joe, who had a mean, frightful look on his face.
“Dija hear me boy?” He yelled at him. “You, the so called ‘heir’ - the one that owns ‘my’ house! Bring your a-- over here, now!!!” He demanded.
Steed was petrified. He wanted to get to his mother. He started moving slowly towards his father then changed directions and started to run to Nell, but Joe tripped him up and grabbed him up in the air by his collar and swung him around against the brick wall, bumping his head, hard. Steed began to scream and kick. Nell, picking up an iron frying pan, ran and brought it down with all the force she could muster on Joe’s head. Momentarily stunned, he dropped Steed, but he recovered quickly and turned, landing a blow in Nell’s face that sent her sprawling. The boys ran and grabbed his legs, trying to stop him long enough to enable their mother to run out of the house, as she had done so many times in the past. Suddenly, Joe stopped trying to kick them away. He stood motionless looking straight ahead. The boys turned to see their mother holding a pistol, which was pointed directly at Joe. She wiped the dripping blood from her nose with her hand.
“Come on over here boys,” she said in a tone of voice that they had never heard before.
They ran and stood beside their mother. Steed would never forget the expression on his mother’s face that night. She was no longer just their mother. She was their general. She was a compelling, defending force that was there to protect them and Steed remembered that he moved close to his mother, so that he could feel the warmth of that protection.
“You have touched me and my children for the last time.” Nell spoke resolvedly. “I want you to pack your clothes, now, tonight - and get out! And if you ever come back, I’ll kill you!!”
The boys knew she meant it, but Joe took a step towards her. A fine line of purpose appeared at her jaw bone, as her eyes narrowed. She cocked the pistol without even so much as a flinch. It was then that Joe, too, knew she meant it. He left that night and the next time Steed saw his father, he was in a coffin.
He recalled how tender and lovingly his mother had gathered him and his brothers in her arms that night, when she told them that from then on, she was their momma and daddy. She promised them that as long as God gave her strength, no one would ever hurt them again.