I am sitting here in Fort Lee Lodging writing chapter 17, 18, and 19 when I decided I would like to add to this forward.
I had spent the day at a round table, sitting on a wooden dining room chair at my daughter’s and son-in-law’s temporary military home, a military hotel of sorts.
The 5th floor where I sit overlooks a barracks area. In the distance can be seen the United States Army museum of ‘Woman in the Army’. Michele and I had visited this museum today. It was both interesting and at times emotionally moving as we looked at those women who had given their lives for their country.
Ironically I had written these three Fort Bragg chapters while here visiting our daughter. Though I know what life is like on a post, this did certainly help with writing about the army, while here.
You may wonder what our life on a United States Army Post is like. First thing in the morning, we started with bugle calls 1st was first call, then reveille. We usually slept through these.
What woke us up would be formations of men and women running to cadence. We would get up in time to see the stragglers falling behind on the closed off road below us.
Afterward, as in any city, the post would come alive with cars trucks bicycles and walkers. The only difference is that the majority of folks wear uniforms. As I’m writing this two soldiers in uniform are walking by below on the sidewalk.
We sadly leave here for the last time within the hour. Our daughter will come home for a weekend, and then she with her husband 2nd lieutenant Eli A. will move to Fort Lewis, Washington.
Well Lindsay just walked out the door to work and with some welling of my own eyes it is time to end this at an appropriate place where I pick up with my meeting with Samuel.
After our initial meeting Samuel and I would meet many more times. Some of those times we, our wives and ourselves would sit down over dinner or supper. Other times we would go riding, then other times Sam and I would go over to French Creek State Park to shoot, something we both enjoy doing.
It came time to sit down and write this book. I invited Sam to a working breakfast, where we got a private room at the Shady Maple Smorgasbord. This is a favorite place for both of us.
We would start out by eating with me going to get my favorite, a western omelet with white American cheese on the inside. Sam always gets his favorite creamed chipped beef on toast.
If anyone of you spent time in the military, it is S.O.S. That would be for any military. I’m using the initials sos because this is a Christian read.
I love sos for breakfast but never had it at Shady Maple Smorgasbord simply because I like omelet’s better. We both like bacon and would find ourselves meeting there and laughing about who got more bacon. Trust me it was a lot.
Samuel liked potatoes; I would get fruit, usually melons. He would get water and I would have OJ. We both had coffee. This is where we would start to work, usually on the second cup of coffee.
I carry this lap top that I’m working on now, worthless as far as the frills, but great for word processing on the move. I just have to plug it in where I sit. We got a big table near a wall and went at it.
Samuel loved to talk and would go into great detail. I found myself writing highlights and outlining as we went.
When we started we didn't know how Prodigal was going to go. We both agreed that the story being told was more important than how anyone person wanted it told.
As a rule, I wanted to start this book with a forward. I wanted to speak about Samuel and his family in the present, updating the reader about his life only because I know that the reader would want to know.
The Prologue is where I start the book in the first person from Samuel’s perspective. We had a good time regarding this.
When I got word from an agent that she would not accept a book where the protagonist spoke in the first person, he scoffed.
“Protagonist huh, never heard this. I have been an antagonist,” said Samuel, while laughing with a cup of coffee in his hand.
“What do you think, what do you believe, what do you want to do,” he questioned seriously. He cared about what I was doing.
“I want to do things my way, I want to do things out of the box and unexpected. I want to give the reader something different to read if only I reach one reader and have a positive effect on their life,” I told him.
He simply said, “Jah, then that is the mission, Sergeant Carpenter, though I feel very strongly that more than one person is going to read your book,” he smiled.
Samuel Hersberger is a cut to the chase type of personality. He believes what he believes.
No one intimidates him in thinking otherwise or makes him feel guilty. He is friendly and approachable until someone is insulting then he keeps that English far from him. He is a humble man, he doesn’t like arrogance. He is not what you would have expected when meeting him. He is quiet yet he is commanding not only of physical stature but also in the way he is in charge of his way of life. I have never seen him yell except to get above the din of life on a ranch.
Regardless of what anyone thinks of Samuel Hersberger, he is who he is without apology. No one owes him a thing. He owes no one. He has paid for his beliefs with his blood.
In this book, we bring the relationship between my wife, Michele and Mary into perspective. They share a very special bond.
They have spoken to each other a lot regarding what the two of them have in common and what they have experienced, each individually.
Michele shares this with you in ‘A Special word from Michele Carpenter, RN MSN Education’. She shares with you from her own perspective about her stroke and with understanding of what Mary had gone through during the same time period.
Though this book is a Novel, what she writes about is real; we want to bring to light what so many in the world do not understand of what they went through. As a nurse I believe she has done this.
Mary is a very happy woman, who today lives 90% of the time new order Amish the other 10% English.
The English part is broken up between cooking, I taught her how to make hoagies. She wears jeans for horseback riding.
The important part for her is that she is her husband’s friend and partner. She is not afraid to give her opinion, and Samuel welcomes it.
They love each other very much and it is evident in the way they look at each other and hold hands after these many years. They are for all intents and purposes still on their honeymoon.
The children will never go thru any form of rumspringa as Samuel or Mary had known it. The children are much more open regarding their lives and dreams while speaking to their parents.
When speaking of their future, they are encouraged to seek out Gods calling in their lives, to find themselves where God wants them to be.
“God is where you will find true happiness, jah,” Samuel would say constantly, to all five children. Samuel is more concerned that they find themselves with God whether that be amongst the English or Amish. Five, yes they have five children now. Sarah was added to the fold three years after Christopher. The boys all work the ranch, the girls help their mother. They are respectful, kind, and most importantly loving. They are all strong in character as their parents are.
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