Thursday, April 28, 2011
My Life With Comic Books: Part # 176
A brief introduction:
My name is Paul Howley. Some people have called me the "luckiest man in the comic book business" but that all changed as of January 9th 2001.
The current cast of characters:
Paul Howley: age 46
Mal Howley: age 46
Adam Howley: my son, age 21
Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 16
MY LIFE WITH COMIC BOOKS: THE HISTORY OF A COMIC SHOP-Part 176
“Ob-la-di, ob-la-da.” Part Two.
A week or so after Adam’s memorial service, Mal felt the need to communicate with Adam’s friends in Newport, Rhode Island but she wasn’t sure how to go about it. She discussed her thoughts with church friends, Ronnie and Christine St. Cyr. They offered to organize a group of church members to go down to the park in Newport to speak with the kids. Knowing that we wouldn’t get too many opportunities to do something like this, we began to design a meeting that could get a message across to the “Park Rats.” Mal wanted to let the kids know why Adam loved them so much.
Ronnie suggested that Mal and I go with him to the park area to pray for some guidance about what we should present to Adam’s friends. We also spoke to the local authorities to get the proper permission to hold a meeting in the public park. One of the people in the City Hall knew about Adam and she helped us get the permission. Once we established a date, we began contacting some of Adam’s Rhode Island friends and asked them to spread the word about the upcoming meeting. Meanwhile, our church prepared for the meeting. Knowing that the Park Rats loved wearing jewelry, someone thought to create bracelets for the kids using colored beads that represented important things. The black bead represented our heart darkened by sin. The red bead represented Christ’s blood shed to redeem us. The white bead represented us as new creatures cleansed by Christ’s sacrifice. The green bead represented our growth in Christ. The gold bead represented our new eternal life with Jesus Christ.
While these bracelets were being made, a group of young people began to practice a short drama titled “The Doors,” depicting the many choices we have in life and how unfulfilling these choices can be. Our nephew Jesse would play the role of Jesus and several of Cassy’s friends would play the other characters. Cassy would play the “seeker” character who went from door to door, desperately seeking something meaningful in this life. Things were coming together for our upcoming presentation for the kids in Newport.
On February 11, 2001, on a freezing cold day, thirty-nine people from our church in Laconia, New Hampshire loaded into several vehicles and drove the three hours to Newport, Rhode Island. Mal and I rode with Ronnie and Christine St.Cyr on the way down. I vaguely remember a conversation someone started about my thoughts on human cloning. Of course, I’d spare no expense to bring Adam back, but a human clone, although similar, wouldn’t be the same person. He wouldn’t have shared the same life experiences that made Adam who he was. Would a cloned human being even have a soul? What a strange conversation!
We had no idea if there would any more than a handful of Adam’s friends showing up for this meeting, especially because of the below-freezing temperatures. We eagerly began to set up tarps for the “Park Rats” to sit on so they wouldn’t have to sit directly on the frozen ground. We set up a small amplifier so that our voices could be heard throughout the small park. While this trip had been organized by Ronnie and Christine, (and they really knew what they were doing!) they were very gracious and allowed Mal and I to take over and run this as we wanted. I only hoped that we’d draw a receptive crowd.
Next chapter: The Park Rats.