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Dark Rose

Dark Rose

Автором Steve Farrell

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Dark Rose

Автором Steve Farrell

270 pages
4 hours
May 29, 2003


High praise for Steve Farrell’s Dark Rose

“An inspirational story about one woman’s lonely journey through bitterness, hate and despair to faith, love and hope; one boy’s voyage through panic and peril to sympathy and service; one drunk-driver’s arduous ascent through uselessness and justice to redemption and mercy and one father’s inspired insight and influence pointing the way, but can he walk the walk? Destined to be a timeless classic, Dark Rose will touch the heart and brings hope to all who read it.”
The Editors, NewsMax.com

“An enchanting story of faith and family that is as enlightening as it is encouraging.”
Jon Dougherty, World Net Daily

“A modern version of the 'morality play,' Steve Farrell's writing style is reminiscent of the 19th century literary form which was best expressed by writers like Charles Dickens and other classic writers of that era—a style of writing which has, more or less, disappeared in this country. Interesting and refreshing!"
Dr. Jon Dolhenty, President, Center for Applied Philosophy

Dark Rose is a simple story offering an incredible amount of depth…bursting with lessons in faith, forgiveness and family…it is a modern classic that will be enjoyed and passed along to friends and family for years to come.”
Shane Cory – Editor, The Washington Dispatch

Dark Rose is a story of faith and hope from a writer known for his Biblically based political and social commentary...Steve Farrell carefully crafts a love story that communicates spiritual truths to the reader.”
W. James Antle III, Senior Editor, Enter Stage Right

"The most riveting, thought provoking book I've read in years."
Jeffrey Bennett, talk show host, World Wide Christian Radio

May 29, 2003

Об авторе

Steve Farrell is a pundit for Internet news powerhouse, NewsMax.com and other respected publications. One of the more popular columnists on the Internet, Steve is known for his thoughtful defenses of the Constitution, Judeo-Christian morality and non-partisan politics. A veteran and graduate of Regents College, he resides in Henderson, Nevada.

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Dark Rose - Steve Farrell





The Stickball

West Ave., Yankee Stadium, and the Lost Ball

Fruitful, Unfruitful Search

Itchy Perdition


First Encounter

Secure at Home


Kid to Adult—Relating the Impossible

Lesson in the Study

Trusting in Dad



Two Dark Miserable Objects

Accident of a Life Poorly Spent

Who’s in Prison? Who’s Free?


My Ways are Not Your Ways Nor My Thoughts Yours

A Shaft of Light

Morning of Discovery

Borrowed Light and the War

The Robin

Morning Checklist

Regarding Manhood

Robby’s Plan

Night Crossing

Missing Trees, Bay Window, and Moonlight

Let the Task Begin


Beware the Interloper!

Fascinating Womanhood


The Assassins Bullet

David Responds

Lost Loyalties

Tennis Match

Elizabeth’s Next Match

Saturday Nights

More Thoughts About the Difficulty of Reformation

New Rose, Same Old Town

Rose’s Friend

Vengeance is Mine!

Unexpected Guest

Widow’s Mite

No Small Coincidence

Blissful News

The Unveiling

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Gift Twelve—Rose Comes a Calling

Christmas Shopping

The End

An Observer’s Epilogue


To the love of my life, Jeanette


June 1956. Her name was Rose. And if she had smiled at you, you would have agreed that her name matched the picture she presented. But then she never did smile.

She did, however, perennially scowl, and so wickedly that the average sorceress would shudder and run for cover. As it was, grown men, even the bravest of them, did precisely that.

Ask any of the fellows in town. Each of them had been lured longingly to glance, unnoticed—or so they thought—upon her fair skin, her luxurious black hair and her sleek figure, a pleasing, intriguing, inviting sight, to any living, breathing, thinking member of that opposite class of humanity dubbed male. But, it was the frightful return glance, which brought an abrupt end unto any future inquiries.

Eyes set ablaze with the fires of hell did that.

And if that burning omen was not clear enough to send that shudder shooting straight through their heart, penetrating to their very soul, a grim and groaning, Beware!—she sent that cool, dark, calculating one, which struck fear enough to convince, one and all, that she was at that very moment plotting their untimely demise and their personnel escort to a hell uniquely situated for them!

She had a dark streak; let no one doubt it! And, it made a body shudder to think of the possibilities! Few, then, dared a round two encounter with Rose. So take note of this: she was left alone by one and all—excepting strangers.

Rumor had it that if there was such a thing as a witch, she was it, or at least the thesaurus equivalent. Others, less superstitious, were inclined to conclude that Rose was a worshipper of things dark and terrible. And of the paradox of the accompaniment of her dark soul with astounding beauty? Both the credulous and wary alike were in support of the theory that it was an illusion, concocted by her, or bestowed upon her by Lucifer to mock mankind.

To be fair, no one was quite sure of the truth behind the terror called Rose, nor were there any inclined to conduct a scientific survey or pastoral probe into the cause of her evil—speculation was far easier, far less demanding, and invariably a jollier pursuit! Speculation or no, there was a common thread amidst this sea of supposition: everyone felt dreadfully uncomfortable in Rose’s presence; and they all knew she was a widow, for her late husband’s ring was still faithfully fixed upon the fourth finger of her left hand.

You would think, then, in light of the peculiarity of this hallowed token of lost love still anchored upon a dark, sacred finger of a wretched lonely heart, that a hint, if not a flood of compassion might flow forth from some human breast, of some discerning soul, for in behalf of this most miserable widow—but to search for such as that would be to search in vain. Never was there heard a kind word or seen a kind deed from any quarter of town toward Rose. She was, as it were, a hiss and a byword, cast out from the society of good friends, and as far as everyone was concerned, Good riddance!

She deserves not a friend in the world, many would be heard moralizing, because she is incapable of friendship!

Some curious neighbors even chose to spread the fantastic tale that Rose had killed her husband and that his remains lay buried within the walls of her stately Victorian home. The first time Robby met her, he might have agreed.


His name was Robby. And had he frowned at you, you would not have believed it. For a smile fit the natural curve of his face, the tenor of his eye, and the angle of his heart.

Had you asked any upstanding boy or girl, Christian schoolmaster or next- door neighbor, what he or she thought of Robby, they would readily have told you he was all boy. He was muscular. He was clean cut. He was handsome. He was smart. He was reverent. And he was responsible.

The only child of a widower father—this classically educated, gifted, and imaginative child, who had moved to Maryville but three months prior to the start of the events of this story, from but a half mile down the road—this five- foot-nothing, twelve-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed wonder was everything that a boy should be, and in intellectual and moral capacity, more than many men were.

No dirty language, no smoking, no drinking, no gossiping, no bullying, no shoddy work were dark companions of Robby’s. What he did, he did well. His father and his late mother had come to expect the best of him, and happily, for them, the formidable child delivered. It was his nature.

Besides these and perhaps this is why, the boy was, some would say, unusually serious about life. He read often and read deeply, and was quite the little philosopher, or little poet, or little scientist, or little scriptorian, or a good many other little thingsa boy set apart for a special work in life, others would say.

But don’t let that grave guise upset the reader, so as to draw a sketch in the mind of a boy so very, very above and beyond the household variety born of the daughters of Eve, denoting one who would not cheerfully sit at the feet of Mom and Dad, soaking up every word, every precept, every lovely story with the deepest, humblest regard for Mom and Dad as two akin to God or the angels of God. No! Listen here! Do not alarm! The boy knew all about humility, about his proper place as a lad among women and men, but better than that, his heart was light and the lighthearted boy knew what fun was all about too! When it was time for play, he played with as much violence as he worked, and added much, much more for good measure. And so besides being one busy with chores, study, and stay-at-home social duties (when father entertained), the boy played and loved sports in the extreme, and was sure to be among the best, the most competitive at any game whenever it was played. His favorite was stickball. Robby—just like his three new friends, Red, Ronny, and Rusty—lived for stickball!

The Stickball

The stickball was an ordinary ball. Round and red. It bounced. They always bounced, and bounced well—reason being, when Red, Ronny, Robby and Rusty went shopping for a stickball, not ‘any old pinkie’ that the five and dime had to offer was procured. They were selective. And their selection process was highly scientific—it had to be—a five-mile round trip walk to the five and dime was grueling enough—a same day return trip was sheer torture! Suffice to say, after a few bad apples, masquerading as great balls, con man their way into being picked by unsuspecting ball pickers—the ball picker boys learned about wrong and right, rip-off and bargain, failure and success in the stickball picking game. And so, the stickball picking law of success became this: the ball had better be good! And compliance with the law demanded this: a combination of science, expertise, attention to detail, good horse sense, and salesmanship—in short, it required Red, Ronny, Robby and Rusty at their very best!

The foursome’s method was meticulous.

First outward appearance was important. Was the color faded? Not a good sign! Was the ball warped, egg shaped or showing signs of sagging here or there? No, better not! Was the seam unseemly? If so, Leave it alone!

Next, the squeeze test. The ball had to be firm, the rubber thick, and the seam crackless. With one eye shut, each scientist child scanned the equa- tor—that junction where rubber met rubber—squeezing here, squeezing there, insuring the seam was smack-dab married, not aimed for divorce, not agog to become the neighborhood Fool’s Hill lover, not apt to fall abruptly and wretchedly by the wayside. A stickball had to be better! Only true partners, symmetrically matched, maturely committed, and sealed by their maker were recruited. Those, thus glued, advanced to the next stage, which was:

The light test. In trial number three, the ball was held up to the scrutiny of florescent light, to check for egging again, this time more thoroughly. One cannot be too careful to avoid an egger, for eggers, like their cracked, disreputable ruptured relatives, notoriously rip at their first rendezvous with stress, their first Sultan of Swat application of bat on seam. What kind of ball is that! Say no to eggers! was the bottom line.

Fourth, the semi-finals, otherwise known as the bounce test. Of the few, the proud and the brave who endured this far, sudden death elimination was the fate of nearly all here. The bar was high. For beyond firmness, crack- lessness and egglessness, they, the lucky few who hoped to go on to the big leagues had to now, in the field of battle, prove they were true straight shooters, deserving of the highest accolades. The boys dropped them. Those that bounced back up strong and true, high and far, straight up and straight down, on the first and subsequent drops, moved on to the next round—those who did not, were sent back to the minors, back to the braggadocios bin with the rest of the chumps, the cheaters and the stickball wannabees!

Ultimately, two balls, at the most three stuck around for the finals —which entailed winning the hearts of the selection committee of athletes, experts, scientists, or four fiercely finicky boys. Height now, but frankly, prejudice (each committee member extolling the virtue of the ball he had discovered and he had recruited) was the deciding factor, since all who remained were qualified, their differences minimal. By and by, one or two or three boy’s suffered an irreparable breach in his pride, and a winner would be declared, a true stickball worthy of every penny of the 59 cent investment in fun taken home to step up to the plate and fulfill the measure of its creation.

As for the picking of bats, stickball bat selection was a far less worrisome, far less scientific process. The bat needed only be straight, comfortable, and colorful, usually one’s favorite color. After the purchase, only this was required: enough responsibility to keep the bat out of the rain, which Red, Ronny, Rusty and Robby nearly always did. That done, a good bat lasted all summer.

Stickballs on the other hand, despite the skilled and itemized thoroughness of four experts, rarely lasted more than two weeks. This was true in the case of the story at hand, because of her, because of Rose. Rose was the mortal enemy, the amoral nemesis of a kid and his games at the corner of Willow and West Avenues—a fact Robby, the new kid on the block, would discover first hand.

West Ave., Yankee Stadium, and the Lost Ball

Kids—unlike their parents, their grandparents, their teachers, and all the other well-read realists and cynics of the grand halls and the high offices of the highest echelons of experience—are not incapacitated by a lack of imagination. This scribe brings up this fact of life, this wonder of nature, to help explain how it was in the minds of Red, Rusty, Ronny and their imaginative inductee, Robby, that a stickball field, their stickball field, deep in the heart of Maryville was in a very real way Yankee Stadium, the same which housed Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Maris, in the Bronx, New York, the greatest stadium of them all.

The stadium—which the unimaginative eye would not call a stadium, but rather a blacktopped road on a quiet tree lined street in the buried midst ofho- hum town—was not ho-hum to them. Hear-hear! No-no! It had, and they knew it, the immortal stadium’s principal features:

•   A short right field porch (Widow Day’s south fence)

•   A respectably deep right centerfield wall (Widow Day’s southwest fence)

•   An upper-deck (of tall maple trees)

•   The monuments (three thick, thick trunks in far away dead center), where stood affixed, in their inventive minds, the names of several of the aforementioned legends.

•   And the bleachers, an imposingly deep centerfield fence, directly behind the monuments.

Now, all this being said, it nearly took a ball shot out of a cannon to reach the latter location on a fly, not just at the stadium, but at their stadium. And that was good!—for beyond that fence dwelt trouble, calamity and disaster.

Mark well the day, the first time Robby attempted to retrieve a ball which had taken the tremendous trek to and across Rose’s property line. Robby was the new kid on the block and hadn’t been properly informed—as friends ought to inform friends—about the neighborhood do’s and don’ts. All the boy knew was that Ronny had fired a shot out of a cannon, a one hop blast that soared over his head and bounced between the monuments, over the distant and formidable centerfield fence and into the bleachers—and he, the centerfielder, was tasked to get it, pure and simple.

The centerfielder approached the centerfield gate, like any other gate, with the intention of opening it. Methodically, the ball player child, reached for the white lever on the white picket fence—and had almost grasped it—when he heard Red, Ronny and Rusty howling in indecipherable tongues! The cheery ball seeker endeavored for nearly a second to break the code, but three hundred feet away is three hundred feet away, and being in hot pursuit of the vital instrument of their game, brought about the thought, It can wait! Besides, his imaginary fans anxiously awaited him and would mob him and shower praise upon him beyond the gate! Paying the trio no mind, the focused lad centerfielder smiled and went about finishing the business of unlatching the gate and passing into the bleachers and finding the ball so that the game might go on. The very instant he resolutely unlatched the gate, the boys stopped yelling and started running—wildly!

The author scribe supposes, had Robby known the nature of all the hubbub and hullabaloo, he never would have unlatched the latch that let himself into the yard, but would have beat the boys home with ten yards, perhaps a hundred to spare! As it was, the boy wonder, boldly advanced, stride unnerved into his fantasy, never looking back, never wondering what the fuss was. No, and I say, why should he have! Without a single worry in the world, and plenty of imagination, his able eyes and nimble feet wandered merrily through Rose’s yard—and what a yard to behold! Kid friendly! he enthused.

A sense of awe smiled upward upon the child’s face. And this is why:

First, he was greeted by every color in the rainbow! Red, white, and blue pansies; orange, pink, and yellow roses; greens of every shade from lawn, bush, and tree; these and so many more colors and shades of colors, all of them beckoning the boy’s artistic eye to refresh itself, each of them sending summer greetings to a friendly and cheerful soul.

Next, intelligently arranged, meticulously manicured shapes, said hello! Round apple trees, square azalea bushes, rectangular hedges, triangular pines, and irregularly shaped and randomly twisted vines—sprinkled here and there, as if by the Master’s brush.

Next, an assortment of natures own sporting goods, hailed and hallooed and how do you doed! Trees fit for climbing and tree house building, slate walkways fit for biking and running, ponds fit for toad catching and mud sloshing, and perfectly shaped clearings fit for seasonal sports: baseball, volleyball, football, and hockey.

Add to this, an abundance of birdbaths and bird feeders bid him good day! Put there so that morning birds might blithely play, sing, and relax; and afternoon crows might pause for leisurely chats.

Lastly, two carousels saluted with song and dance! where Robby, the center- fielder child imagined spring, summer and fall parties; board games and shelter from the cool rain and hot sun; and small orchestras playing songs from the Music Man, the Sound of Music, and Oklahoma.

‘Who could improve on a yard like this!’ he reveled.

Yet, whether or not anyone could possibly improve on the layout of the bleacher yard was not the issue that mattered most. The imaginative child had a need to contend with something of an opposite, queer, or puzzling nature, an undetected reality his imaginative reverie missed—a riddle to remedy. For amidst and around this sea of magnificent loveliness—no leaves were rustling, no bugs were buzzing, no frogs were jumping, no dogs were barking, no kids were playing. No, none of these things that ought to be, nor a hundred other signs and wonders and happenings that ought to qualify a place as belong- ing—to the living,—were seen or felt or heard—only the stamp of profound silence and the silence was deafening. Which ought to have struck the lad odd! But no bother! No bother at all! Tuning out grim shouts and grim silence, the search began for the ball.

Fruitful, Unfruitful Search

It was time to stop gazing and start searching, the boy concluded. First, in the grassy, open lawns, Nothing! Next, on top of the sidewalks, Nothing! Then, along the fence-line, Nothing! From there to the more transparent of the plant beds, ‘Nothing!’

Aw shucks! he protested with a snap of his finger. The ball, had undoubtedly, naughtily wandered beneath the denser ground cover; imbedded itself in the thorny cage of a wild rose bush; or worse, lodged itself in an itchy evergreen; or horror of horrors, settled down into a moist, monstrous mound of some sick dog’s scour. Stickballs were notorious for escaping into such torturous hideouts, as boys well know. And such hideouts were indeed torture. Besides, what boy was ever prepared with the proper gear for such prickly, putrid duty! Needed were protective long sleeves, thick gloves, pooper-scoo- per, and can of air freshener, which no self-respecting male child carried on his person.

Robby wondered, Which is the lesser evil, prickly rosebush, itchy evergreen, or pizza surprise?

Pizza surprise, he thought. Though, he wasn’t altogether sure. So he thought again:

A. The ball could be laying anywhere beneath its leafy green carpet; and

B. one must lift up one leaf at a time—a tedious chore; and

C. unwanted wonders always lay hidden below awaiting their life’s opportunity to assault blind fingers, new sneakers, bare toes, and timid nostrils! Whether creepy crawly, rotten old mulch, or worst of all, the aforementioned stinking, messy muck—one of these, especially the latter, if trod upon, made the best choice, the worst.

So here again we must probe into the principle of skill, or those unique skills that a boy must possess. For here was another kid’s job—who else would do it—which required considerable care and exacting skill, care and skill exercised not in the finding, but in the avoiding.

Hmmm… he pondered. Despite the risks, the ball searcher stuck with the mine field as the risk of choice, for this much he conjured, the pizza surprise laden mine field might or might not bring home the ball at the cost of distasteful disaster, while the everitchies and the prickly sticker bushes were without fail, disastrous.

The lad’s trained hands cooperated as he entered the mind field and commenced with the turning over of the leaves—his nimble feet did not. Rudely crushed with every step were decorative rows of red and white blossoms, and not a few. But as chance would have it, or was it eagle eyes, the ball rescuer directly spied the object

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