By Terry Coffman
It was in Chiang Mai, under the house built on stilts, that the cobra
bit him. The serpent was hiding near the water barrels. It raised its head,
lunged, and sank its fangs into Jonathan MacCumberís thigh.
Up until this moment, the only terror he had ever experienced in nature
came to him when he was a boy and a bumblebee crawled inside his sock and
stung him three times.
After the snake injected its venom into my friend, the Cobra slithered
away towards the tall grass and rice paddy beyond. Within moments, Jonathanís
face began to flush. He fell to his knees and screamed. Kaew came running
down the narrow wooden stairs. She managed to help him climb to the dwelling
above them. He collapsed on the teak floor of the bamboo house. She cleaned
the wound with the vodka Jonathan had brought for their tryst north of
Ayutthaya in the former Kingdom of Lanna. Within 20 minutes the skin above
his knee became hot, and the pain, at the bite site, excruciating.
When Kaew was a young girl she witnessed how cobras kill. It happened
on the steps of a temple in Ayutthaya. A Hindu woman, visiting the ancient
city, had kissed the head of a cobra. It was meant to be a demonstration
of faith. The Indian nun died within minutes. So, Kaew knew, it would only
be a short time before her loverís breathing would become difficult. Death
would follow rapidly. Jonathan was a large man; the venom might take longer
to kill him. Her prayer to Buddha to intercede might bring grace, but in
the past her pleas to the Enlightened One were seldom answered.
They were far from the city, and even if they could reach a doctor in
time, she didnít know how to drive the automobile Jonathan had borrowed
from one of the royal princes in Hua Hin. She was frantic. An ugly black
patch appeared around the wound. Jonathan was hallucinating. In and out
of consciousness, he screamed my name. Kaew had no idea who I was or why
he called out to me.
She ran to the wooden deck surrounding the hut. Off in the distance
she saw two men on a cart pulled by a buffalo. She screamed to them for
help, but they were too far away to hear her voice. She sprinted down the
As she began to run towards the high grass she hesitated for a moment,
what if the cobra might be waiting for her? Love overcame fear. All that
mattered was Jonathan. Kaew raced towards the cart.
When she got within earshot of the men, they turned to see her. Out
of breath, legs bleeding from the deep scratches made by razor grass, she
stumbled and fell to the muddy ground. The younger man jumped off the cart
and raced to her side. She could hardly speak. The one word, Naja, that
she repeated over and over, made it clear to the boy that she had either
been bitten, or scared, by a snake. He started to look for fang marks on
her legs. She pushed him away and pointed to the hut across the field.
He did not understand what she was saying. She was speaking in a language
he didnít recognize, repeating the same sound, the same word, "Jonathan,
The boyís father came to their side and looked towards the bamboo house.
He was bewildered. The woman was not a peasant, nor, from her dialect,
was she from Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai. Her torn dress was made of fine
silk and on her wrists and fingers were gold bracelets and jeweled rings.
He surmised that the woman lying in the grass might be of royal lineage.
The two men helped Kaew to her feet and lifted her into the cart. They
turned the water buffalo and cart towards the bamboo house. When they reached
the dwelling Kaew and the older man ran up the stairs. They found Jonathan
gasping for air. The father hollered to his son to fetch a small piece
of bamboo and took a lighter and a knife from his pocket. He lit a match,
placed the blade in the flame, and leaned over my friend. His boy handed
him a stick of bamboo. The old man cut it into a short length.
Kaewís hands covered her mouth. She knew what he intended to do, it
was the only way to save her lover. The knife was sharp and easily cut
through the skin of Jonathanís neck and into Jonathanís windpipe. As the
piece of bamboo was inserted, mucus and blood squirted from the hole. Then
he began pushing on my friendís chest. For hours, the father and son kept
Jonathanís heart beating and his lungs functioning.
By midnight Jonathan was able to breathe by himself. He was alive, but
it would not be for long. Where the snake had bitten his leg, a sizable
ulcer developed. If Jonathan MacCumber were to survive, the open wound
would require immediate medical care, antibiotics, surgery, and likely
In1926, Jonathanís odds of surviving a cobra bite were less than 10%,
and to be treated in a remote area of Siam would make his chances even
less. Thousands of people died annually in Southeast Asia from cobra bites.
Most never made it to a doctor, and in the Chiang Mai region, there were
no hospitals that could perform surgeries, or worse, an amputation. Even
if he could get back to the capitol city of Ayutthaya, the likelihood of
my friend being able to recover was unlikely. Kaew was desperate to save
her lover. She gave the farmer three silver coins and two folded notes.
One was a plea to the crown prince to help save Jonathan. The other was
addressed to the army commandant in Chiang Mai ordering him to deliver
her letter as a telegram to the kingís chief counselor in Hua Hin. He would
then forward her plea to the prince. Kaew knew the kingís most trusted
advisor (who was a close friend of her fathers) would make sure the prince
would receive the telegram as quickly as possible, and more importantly,
support her cause to the king himself. She told the old farmer to give
one silver coin to the commandant and keep the other two pieces of silver
She had used her influence with the royal family to insure that Jonathan
receive the best care possible, despite knowing that such help would place
her in a position to be manipulated by the prince and others close to the
king. Her plea was answered. The King sent his own surgeon to Jonathanís
The American Consulate notified Jonathanís mother as to what had happened
to her son. They telegrammed to say evacuation was not possible until her
son was out of danger. At the same time they assured her that the American
doctor, who was the physician to the king, had visited her son in the capitol
city of Ayutthaya. The doctor was confident the young MacCumber would survive.
In spite of his motherís pleading, Jonathan did not want to return to the
United States. Doing so could mean he might never see Kaew again. Jonathan
informed the consulate that he would not leave Siam. "Let them rip my leg
from me, but not my heart."
Jonathan and I share a long history together. He lived his life as an
adventure. Except for my brief stint in the war, mine has been safe and
My father bled to death on San Juan Hill in1898. It was eight years
earlier, at a wedding party in Louisiana, that my mother first set eyes
on the man who would become my father. My grandmother, with her son, my
future father, came from Virginia to the wedding of her cousin, Captain
Jonathan Patrick Knight. Years later my father wrote in his diary, "The
day I met my wife I was bewitched. She was the most beautiful woman Iíd
ever seen. The sun was setting behind her. Her light hair glowed like the
wheat fields that surrounded the wedding party. She had just turned towards
me when I first caught her glance. Her clear lake-blue eyes captured me.
I had a strong feeling of recognition. It was as if I had known her in
another life. We danced every dance. That night the stars shared the sky
with a quarter moon and the amber sparks of a blazing bonfire. Fireflies
danced in her hair. Several months later I convinced her to marry me. It
was no easy task. She had many suitors; I had few prospects."
My sister was the first child. She was born two years before me. My
father and mother had a small farm. It was a modest place, a homestead
where they planned to raise chickens, cows, cotton and kids. That is, until
Captain Knight persuaded my father to join the Rough Riders.
Spain had sunk our battleship, the Maine, and President William McKinley
wanted the Spaniards out of Cuba. Lots of men wanted to fight.My Mother
was not happy about Father leaving to go to war. After all, it was a volunteer
army. He didnít have to go. She couldnít talk sense to him; he was determined
and no matter how hard she tried he wouldnít listen to her. All he could
hear was the Captain telling him it was his duty and that the war would
be short and heroic. They trained in Texas. My father came home on leave
for five days before shipping out for Cuba. His brief stay was productive.
The stork showed up in March of 1899, some eight months after a Spanish
bullet slammed into my fatherís chest.
Mother was very bitter towards Commander Wood, the leader of the Volunteer
Rough Rider Army. She blamed Wood for my fatherís death. His decision to
leave the menís horses behind in Florida, and ordering the cavalry to fight
on foot in Cuba, was insane. Mother often said, "My husband was not an
infantry soldier. How could Wood have been so stupid? Cavalrymen without
horses are crippled on the battlefield. No wonder my husband and Captain
Knight died on that cursed hill in Cuba."
She received a letter from his captain. There was no pension, no widowís
supplement, just a brief "Thank you" for his service and the Rough
Rider pin her husband wore on his cap.
Mother never remarried. She supported my sister and me through her ability
to write. In her day, she was considered to be one of the Southís best
humorists. Now, only a handful of old-timers remember her stories.
I was only a boy, with thick red hair and a face full of freckles when
my chance to be a hero came. I received a letter from my local draft board.
I was now just like so many other lanky eighteen year olds. I was given
a tin hat and a gun, and then shipped off to France to fight Germans. I
would come to learn later that they, too, were just boys not much different
from me. After only a few weeks of basic training, I came home to say good-bye
to my mother and sister. My mother took my simple doughboy cap and clipped
my fatherís Rough Rider pin to its side. "Morgan, keep this, it belonged
to your father. Wear it and your father will watch over you."
My friends threw a party for me the night before I shipped out. Most
of the town showed up, and we danced all night long. I do-si-doed with
every woman there. Married, single, plump, skinny, old or young; it didnít
matter to me. I figured that if I were going to be shot, why not by a jealous
husband rather than one of the Kaiserís boys.
The definition of hero, formed in the immature mind of a teenage boy,
exploded for me in the woods outside of Paris in 1918. I, along with so
many young American boys, paid back an old debt to General Lafayette. Only
fifty miles from Paris, we stopped the Germans as they attempted to cross
the River Marne. Over 7,800 Americans were lost on that road to Paris.
The battlefield was filled with the sound of rifle fire and artillery explosions.
The quiet thud of the mustard gas canisters bouncing along the ground mingled
with the cries and screams of men dying or about to die.
I was lying in a blast hole, bullets buzzing over my head, pinned down
and unable to return fire. I was shaking like the leaves of the birch trees
when the wind blows through the hollows and valleys beneath Spruce Knob
Mountain. I began to pray, Lord, let me wake from this nightmare. At first
I thought God had answered my prayer because, at that moment, stillness
crept over the killing grounds. I was wrong. It was the winds of silence
blown by Lucifer over the battlefield, trumpeting the coming carnage.
I heard the Grim Reaper howl as he leaped upon me. I saw the flash of
steel as the blade of the bayonet pierced my leg. The pain was beyond description.
My attacker didnít simply lance me and withdraw the scalpel, no, for the
coup de grâce he pulled it up and twisted the blade in a thrashing
movement, exposing mangled bone and muscle in a sea of blood. I grabbed
for his rifle, trying to yank the weapon away from my thigh. My fingers
began to shred as I caught the sharp edge of the bayonet. I released my
grip as the bastard let out a scornful laugh. The last image I remember
before passing out was his helmet shattering into a thousand shining metal
I awoke in a Paris hospital, remembering the events that brought me
to the infirmary. It felt like my leg was on fire. Tearing away the sheets
covering my body, I stared with horror at the place where my right leg
had once been.
All around me were men, crippled, maimed, blind and insane. I lay in
that hospital bed for almost three months. Depressed and feeling hopeless,
my thoughts turned to taking my own life. I missed home and I missed my
Perhaps it was Jonathanís familiar cadence, his speech revealing that
he, like me, was a Virginia boy. I was convinced Iíd never walk again,
but Jonathan would not let me mourn the missing leg or wallow in self-pity.
One day he came to my bedside with a pair of crutches. He said it was time
to get my ass out of bed and prepare for re-entry into the world. He told
me I had to go home and start a new life. I refused; I was stubborn. He
said heíd not leave until I was up and moving, walking from one end of
the ward and back again. I cursed him and held tight to the bed railing.
He pried my fingers loose and put his arm under my body, pulling me to
a sitting position and than he lifted me to my feet. Jonathan forced me
to walk. With patience and care, he mended not only my body, but healed
my spirit. Toward the end of my stay, I tried to give him the only personal
possession I had, the Rough Rider pin from my fatherís military cap. Jonathan
pushed my hand away and said he could not accept my gift. As he had done
so many times before, Jonathan bent down to change my dressings, and unbeknownst
to him, I slipped the Rough Rider pin into his pocket.
Now as I look back upon my giving him the pin that day, I realize fate
is not always visible to us. Circumstances of our actions, or the things
that randomly happen to us, eventually make sense. What if I had waited?
He didnít return the next day or the days after that. The pin was our touchstone,
an amulet that bound us together for the rest of our lives.
I pleaded with the doctors and nurses on the ward. "Where is he? Where
did he go? Why was he gone?" No one knew. He had simply vanished. Three
weeks later I was discharged with a wooden leg and orders to return to
The war was still going on when I returned home. One day when I was
reading the local paper I saw picture of a fella on the front page who
I recognized. He was the country boy from Morgantown who I had sat next
to when we rode the train from West Virginia to South Carolina for basic
training. He had become a hero. He single-handedly took out a German machine
nest, thereby saving his platoon. Hadley Hebb, the hunter of opossums,
had become a killer of men just as I had.
I didnít march in parades; I threw my medals into a lake because I was
ashamed of what I had done. I had taken the life of so many mothersí sons,
stole husbands and butchered childrenís fathers. My bullets tore apart
bodies indiscriminately. They sliced through flesh and organs, shattered
bones and exploded in cavities and craniums. How many men did I cripple?
How many did I kill? Some said I was a hero. But in the eyes of God, isnít
a man responsible for his actions? It was I who set men in my gun sights
and I am the one who pulled the trigger.
Before the war I called myself a Christian. After the war, I could no
longer say that. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill." While my
confessor told me that it was permissible to kill Germans because the war
was Just, I knew what motivated me. At first it was personal glory, but
then it turned into the sheer will to survive. I was ashamed.
For months after I returned I sat alone in the childís bedroom that
had been mine before the war. The posters of movie heroes still hung on
the wall; comic books were neatly stacked on the bookshelves beside toy
soldiers; the slingshot and peashooter that I had hidden from my mother
were still safe behind the catcherís mitt in the closet.
I came home to that innocent childís room in my motherís house as a
deformed creature. It was not the loss of the leg that had made me a grotesque
relic of what I had been; I had resolved my physical disfigurement. It
was my spirit that was a mangled mess; the soiling of my soul was unforgivable.
How can a man be forgiven for such sin? The first boy I killed was lying
on his side, his face drowned in mud. When I flipped him over, I saw the
crucifix that hung from the chain around his neck.
My mother suggested that in spite of my wounds, I go to the mountains.
"Morgan, take the dog and the old truck out back; take your fishing line,
a flask of gin, some sugar too, a slab of bacon, biscuit mix and your sisterís
marmalade. Go for a month or more. Camp beside cool springs. See if Old
Man Johnson will lend you a horse, then you can ride through the balds
and climb the trail to Spruce Knob. Listen to the whippoorwills and cardinals
like you did before the war. The trillium will be in flower; the fiddleheads
will be ready for the pan and butter; you can even take your fatherís old
rifle and shoot a wild turkey or a deer if you need to."
Mother probably thought it was her insistence that brought me to the
mountain, but it was something else that made me fleeÖa letter from Siam
that brought back stark memories and a precious memento.
Greetings Morgan Boone,
You are probably surprised to hear from me. I realize itís been a
few years since we parted. I am living in Siam. It is a place of great
beauty. For me it is Shangri-La and the Garden of Eden all wrapped into
one place. Not only is the landscape lush and filled with life, but the
people are too.
I came to Siam after the war by way of volunteering for the Red Cross.
At the beginning of my time here, I was working in a clinic near the Chi
River in the province
of Khon Kaen. I have always loved rivers. Much like the veins in our bodies,
they are the arteries that carry life. My time at the clinic was fulfilling.
I knew I was helping the hill tribe people. Malaria, typhus and snakebites
were the scourges that occupied the course of my healing work. It was a
short stay. I realized that to be an effective healer I needed to fully
understand the people of this part of the world; politics, society and
religion all impacted the treatment of disease and the danger of life in
Siam. I eventually found my way south to the city of Ayutthaya where I
resided for some time. I began to study Buddhism and I ministered to the
There are a lot of stories to tell you about my time in Southeast
Asia. Tales about my romance with the beautiful princess of Siam, my discourse
with snakes, and my encounter with a mystic monk may intrigue you. But
Iíll save them for another letter or two.
I suppose you are wondering how I found you and why I am contacting
you. Locating you was simple. I knew you were a Virginia boy and your family
lived somewhere between Winchester and Front Royal. Your family name is
well known in Virginia and the mountain that you called out so many times
in your feverish state provided clues to where I might find you.
The day I last saw you I was ordered to the front. I had no time
to say goodbye. I grabbed all my gear and jumped on a truck headed for
the Belleau Wood. You know what a horrific nightmare that was. Your battalion
fought gallantly and many of your brothers gave their lives during that
month of slaughter. Major Wise was a great leader and I know you would
have wanted to be with him and your buddies. Sometimes, fate intercedes
with what we want. I consider you to be a hero. I know the severity of
your wounds and the level of your sacrifice for your platoon and country.
On the day the 5th Marines took such huge losses, I thought
I would drop from exhaustion and disgust. The revulsion I felt from seeing
bodies torn apart and hearing men crying for their mothers was unbearable.
But I had to bear it. It was carnage, a horror that is unimaginable.
I was helping doctors amputate Tommy Franklinís leg. I was holding
his arms when he yanked my shirt open. The Rough Rider pin you must somehow
have put into my pocket fell on his chest. As Iím sure you know, Tommy
survived. So, if you havenít already opened the small pouch enclosed with
this letter, please find your grandfatherís pin. I accept your appreciation
for what I did to help you. But like you and Tommy, Major Wise and all
those brave marines who gave so much, we do not expect anything in return.
What I will treasure is your friendship. Someday we will meet again. For
now, I want us to keep in touch through letters.
Off and on, for over forty years, hundreds of letters went back
and forth between MacCumber and me. I learned of his adventures and how
precious his heart and soul were. I relished his tales of escapades. At
some point early on in our correspondence, I wrote that I was useless.
My leg had been amputated, my spirit broken and I wanted to hide from everything
and everyone. He wrote, "No, Morgan you are whole of spirit. Your doctors
and I did not save your life so you could wallow in pity. God has plans
for you. You must follow them. To give up will be a sin. My advice is to
Jonathan stayed in Siam. He did so because of his love for the princess.
The intrigue of those in the Kingís court conspired to keep my friend away
from the woman who loved him. Kaew was led to believe that Jonathan had
died in the hospital from the cobraís bite.
Unbeknownst to Jonathan, she chose to become a Buddhist nun.
Soon after being released from the hospital Jonathan searched for the
princess. He went to all the places where she should have been. He tried
to contact her family, but to no avail. Her home was vacated; the neighbors
told him the family had moved away. When he finally gained an audience
at the kingís palace, he was told she had married into the royal family
and he would never be allowed to see her.
With a broken heart, he left Ayutthaya for Chiang Rai to become a cobra
catcher. For MacCumber, the one who threatens is the one to be embraced.
For him, poison became nectar.
In one of his early Chiang Rai letters he wrote, "Shedding its skin
once a month, a young cobra grows fast. When it hatches it does so with
venom in its fangs, but not enough to kill anything bigger than itself."
On my 19th birthday, I killed the German boy who wore the
cross around his neck. I went on to kill many, many more. And Jonathan
MacCumber, well, he never killed anyone or ever wanted to kill anything.
From Chiang Rai he wrote, "When I walk on the grass I feel guilty. I
catch beetles in my hut and carry them outside. I share my home with fruit
flies and bats. I catch cobras, milk them, thank them, and then release
them on mountaintops."
He told me that the cobra lays her eggs and protects them for two months.
She leaves her nest before they are born. When they hatch they climb into
the bamboo for safety. A full-grown cobra will grow to 15 feet in 10 years.
One bite of an adult contains enough poison to kill 100 people.
"Morgan, as I wrote you last month, I had begun my first round of
cobra tattooing. It was, and continues to be, both painful and sickening.
Yesterday, I completed the first of a series of many inoculations to come.
You probably will think what I am going through is barbaric. It is not.
It is ancient and traditional. There are incantations to say and chants
to be sung while the cobra venom is mixed with black ink. In the beginning,
only a small drop of toxin was taken from a cobra and then used to draw
words and pictures into my flesh. Using needles made from bamboo or razor
blades, the mixture is applied by the elder serpent catchers. Two Buddhist
proverbs were cut into my right thigh in Siamese. The first, ĎTo conquer
oneself is a greater task than conquering others.í Morgan, before I can
capture the cobra I must conquer my fear of the cobra. The second tattoo
is: ĎYou cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.í
Over the next year my body will receive more tattoos with more venom and
He became the only "Fharang" cobra catcher in Siam. After losing
Kaew, MacCumber remained in Chiang Rai for three years. He became highly
sought out by the nearby hill tribe people. For them, MacCumber possessed
special powers. Also he did not ask for money for his services. Instead
the villagers showed their appreciation by giving him gifts. Silver bracelets
made by the Kaw tribe women embraced his arms. Rings circled his fingers
and toes and hung from his ears. In his silver purse he carried antidotes
and prayer sheets. Three silver studded leather belts wrapped around his
thin torso under which he tucked a shiny silver cigarette holder, a gold
knife and a bag containing seeds for his gardens. He wore fishermanís pants
and sleeveless white cotton shirts made by the Akha people. He refused
to wear shoes. He had no fear. The snakes in the grass kissed his feet.
A tribal leader gave my friend his favorite daughter. Her name was Meelo.
She was small, MacCumber tall. A year later their son was born. He was
named Dusit, which means, "fourth land of heaven," a place similar
to the Hall of Souls in Christianity.
In the great monsoon of 1925, the snakes migrated into the mountains
to escape the swollen rivers and flooded lowlands. Cobras infested the
villages and hid under houses. The people died from cobra bites and thousands
of snakes were killed. For the catchers of cobras, it was an impossible
situation. There were no places where the snakes could be removed to and
the village leaders were demanding death for the snakes. MacCumber could
not bring himself to kill the serpents. He collected as many as he could.
Separating the males from the females, he put them in barrels and hid them
under his house built on stilts. He clamped the lids with nails so they
could not escape.
In his letter dated October 12, 1925 Jonathan wrote, "Morgan, my
son and wife are dead. I am to blame. Dusit was in his motherís bed when
I found them. Their bodies were still warm. The cobra was beneath their
blanket. I grabbed the snakeís head; it fought. It twisted its body around
my arm. I slammed it against the wall with such force that my arm shattered.
I let go and the snake slithered away. I screamed. I prayed. I am ashamed.
I loved them both and now there is nothing to hold me in Siam. I donít
know what to do.
For two years I tried to find MacCumber. No Siam official or anyone
associated with the king would help. Not even the American ambassador was
able to use his influence to find my friend. It was as if Jonathan had
Like most miracles, something is revealed because it is supposed to.
His mother discovered my letters in his suitcase. She wrote:
Dear Mr. Boone.
I am writing you in regards to my son Jonathan MacCumber. A month
ago while cleaning his room, I discovered several letters you had written
to him between 1922 and 25. They were hidden behind a suitcase in his bedroom
closet. I know I shouldnít have read them, but I am glad I did. Maybe the
good Lord wanted me to find them, read them, and contact you. Your earliest
heartfelt letters of appreciation for my sonís care of you during the war
were beautiful. I wept as I read each one. He never shared with me any
details of what he had done in France, or that he had saved so many soldiers.
Thanks to your letters, I realize that Iíve been naïve concerning
my son. I thought the boy who left in 1918 would return just as I remembered
him. After the war and several years of his not coming home, for reasons
I still donít fully comprehend, he returned two years ago to his sister
and me. Maybe it was penance or just plain wanderlust that kept him away
so long. Itís not that we didnít know where he was. But the correspondence
between us was, at best, infrequent. I guess that could be excused by the
instability on the war front, and later, the poor quality of mail service
in a land of jungles where mainly monkeys and elephants seem to reside.
He has yet to explain to my satisfaction why he didnít return right away
from France. Until I read your letters I was most angry that my boy didnít
come home after the war like he should have. I have to admit, reading your
letters has enlightened my thinking in this regard. So thank you Mr. MacCumber.
I am now ever so slightly able to understand what possessed him to move
to the other side of the planet. More importantly, Iím willing to accept
I must tell you, heís not the happy-go-lucky son that left this place
nine years ago. He has become, as I think you know, a kind of recluse.
Up until now I thought he had no friends, no colleagues in arms to converse
with. I suppose he thinks his sister and I canít comprehend all thatís
happened to him. Iím his mother. I know him better than anyone else. But
he has successfully bamboozled me by employing his odd behavior, which
seems to work well for him as it relates to keeping me in the dark. Iíve
come to believe he hides the memories of those years in some far away galaxy
inside his head. He thinks by relegating the thoughts accumulated over
the war years, and what I call, and I suspect youíd agree with the title,
"My boyís lost and found years," that heís safe. I donít know for sure,
but it seems to me heís simply trying to place his recollections in a memory
prison and throw away the key. Maybe he believes heíll be safe, protected
from thoughts of war or whatever happened to him in Siam. But thatís not
how life works. We canít escape pain. Sometimes we need a confessor. To
hold pain inside keeps it from being expunged. Unless you lance a boil
the chances are it will become infected, and then the whole body may shut
As best I can, Iíve tried to help him. But Iíve been failing. Thank
God he found you. Your letters reveal you are a wise person filled with
compassion. Youíre giving my son what I cannot. I thank God each night
that youíve reached out to my boy. I want you two fellows to continue to
help each other find peace and renewal.