by Dan Hayes
Colleen Lord is excited about the Grammys. Until she receives a disturbing letter.
|After cleaning up Colleen put on a nylon flower dress, and walked into Pastor Schmidt's office. She knocked on the door to see if he was in, and after a few seconds heard Pastor say "Come In." Colleen came into the office, and sat down. Pastor Schmidt looked like he'd aged about fifteen years since she last saw him. Even though he was fifty-seven he looked so much older. His wife experienced a stroke five years earlier, and now was in a nursing home as she was going through the early stages of dementia. Pastor Schmidt sacrificed giving up their home, and moving in with his wife, so he could stay near her. Colleen upon hearing this from the news back home prayed that someday she would find such a man who would do this for her. Just thinking of the latest revelation that she had this in Lowell made her sad even more.
"So what brings you to church today? I thought you'd be hobnobbing with the celebrities in Hollywood this week." asked Pastor. "Well Pastor I came here because my Mother asked me to before going out to Hollywood. You see I was preparing to go, but then I got this mysterious note from a boy who said I hurt him." said Colleen. Pastor sat back, and just listened. He already knew the crush that Lowell Swanson had on Colleen. He wanted to marry her, and be with her. Pastor felt he failed Lowell by telling him that what he felt was only a crush of a young boy, and he would get over her. Pastor began to wonder how much he believed that as he kept seeing poor Lowell's heart get crushed as well meaning Christian girls couldn't get past Lowell's handicap. Especially with Lowell's spirit being so strong. "Please go on." said Pastor.
Colleen told Pastor about how she was all set to head out to Lowell's birthday party, and how Bos had forced her into performing a concert on a Sunday evening that she didn't know about until the last minute. She didn't connect that it was Lowell until she got a call from her Mom to come home, and this was after she received the letter in the mail that this boy had intended to kill himself because of something she did to him. When Colleen gets home she finds out it was Lowell who killed himself. Pastor shook his head as if he understood. "I suspected this Colleen." said Pastor. "Keri has cut all of us off since Lowell killed himself. Anytime we've tried to reach out to her she vehimently says that she's ok, and that she hasn't turned her back on God, but with what you shared with me it makes perfect sense because she hasn't been to church with the exception of Christmas since Lowell killed himself." shared Pastor.
Colleen's tears began again. "Pastor I never meant to hurt Lowell that way. I would've been there for his birthday, and he could've hugged and kissed me all he wanted because I love him. I've loved him since the first day I met him right after her husband died trying to save Daddy from the mining accident. It's just that I didn't know he was physically attracted to me. I didn't know." she sobbed uncontrollably. "Colleen it's not your fault. You wouldn't have had any idea he felt that way about you. Keri whenever anyone from church sees her in town is so sorry for her because this has eaten away at her. She's so distant because her family is gone. After Lowell was born she was told that getting pregnant again was going to be difficult, and could cause her to die giving childbirth because her reproductive system was damaged in the car accident, so she stopped trying to get pregnant again." Pastor revealed. Colleen looked up, and she tried to grasp what was being said. "I remember asking her why she didn't have anymore children. I would've wanted to babysit them all. She told me that she couldn't have anymore." she choked through her sobs.
Pastor would speak again. "Colleen even though Keri hasn't been around she did make one interesting comment about you. It was around Christmas when we were discussing how proud we were that you were nominated for the Grammys you are up for, and she made an angry comment concerning your salvation because of the nature of the song you had the big hit. I know you're a grown woman, but I was the one who planted the seed for you to come to Jesus as a little girl. I want to know are you still following Jesus?" asked Pastor? Colleen looked wide-eyed at Pastor Schmidt. She was angry that he would even entertained a question like that in his head. However, out of respect she didn't scream at him like she wanted to. "Pastor believe me I haven't changed. I know at Keri's house that she made us all sing "Happy Birthday" to Lowell, and it was after I found out the tragic news. I still pray, and read the Bible everyday. I told Mom my next album was going to be all my favorite hymns I sang in church growing up, and Keri mocked me. I was so angry that I left." said Colleen.
Pastor wanted to believe Colleen, but with the wisdom he had he knew it was going to be between Colleen and God because in the end Colleen would have to answer, and give account, but he needed to share this. "Colleen. I've always enjoyed hearing you sing because you're so passionate when you do. God gave you that talent, and that desire. I prayed you'd sing to the whole world, so that they could experience the love of God through your singing voice. While we all tried to raise you with Jesus we knew that when you turned eighteen we had to begin to allow you to make your own decisions. You have proven to be a responsible young lady, but I feel that you are making a mistake having Bos Guthrie as your manager." revealed Pastor. Colleen was stunned, and she felt the same way, but to know others felt the same she had to ask "Why?"
Pastor reached into his desk, and pulled out a magazine. It was a tabloid from a few years ago. It showed a picture of Bos when he looked younger, and a familiar face. "It's Gretchen Lee." spoke Colleen emphetically. "Yes. Gretchen Lee Bradford. She was managed by Bos Guthrie twelve years ago. You would've been sixteen at the time." said Pastor. "She was my favorite. She planted the seed in me to pursue my dream as a musician. She died so tragically, but the newspaper never really told us how, or why." Colleen wondered. "She committed suicide. There was a scandal concerning Bos and Gretchen. One that someone paid to keep out of the newspapers. There was going to be a tremendous fallout about this because it would've definitely ended the Guthrie's marriage." said Pastor. "So Bos bribed the media to keep himself looking clean and starched?" spat out Colleen with so much contempt. "No it wasn't Bos. He didn't care. It was someone who had a lot to lose had paid the money to keep this scandal from hitting the newspapers." Colleen said "Who?" "It was Bos's wife Elisabeth. When she told Bos she was pregnant with his baby. He did the right thing by marrying her, but he made her sign a prenuptual agreement that she get absolutely nothing should the marriage end in divorce. She was young, and so struck with his charisma that she didn't know any better. She was a simple country girl from Benson, OK.