For Only A Season – Goodnight Uncle Clem – (FREE Chapter 19 Excerpt)

Uncle Clem reached into the top drawer of his nightstand and pulled out a cigar. He asked me if I would light it for him. I did so and handed it to him, along with an ashtray. He smiled as he puffed and tapped away the ashes. “There’s nothing like a good cigar.” Carefully setting the lit cigar in the ashtray, he reached into the pocket of his robe and removed his pocket watch, a money clip full of bills, and keys to his two cedar chests at the foot of his bed and the two safes in his closet. One was located on the top shelf behind a couple of jars of coins, and the other one on the left side of the floor, behind some shoeboxes. A .38 revolver was lying on top of that one. He sipped from his jar again while puffing on the cigar. “I want you to hold onto these things for me, okay?”

“Sure thing.”

Uncle Clem pointed to the bottom drawer of his nightstand. “Would you mind reaching in there and passing me those photo albums?”

” Sure thing.” I grabbed the albums and handed them to him.

” Thanks.”

” You’re welcome.”

By now, Coltrane’s CD had finished, and Bird’s sax was blaring through the speakers. Uncle Clem opened the first album, looked me squarely in the eye, and closed it.

” What’s wrong, Unc?”

“Nothing. I know you’re probably ready to turn in now, but I need to say one more thing to you, if you don’t mind.”

“Of course, anything. What is it?”

He carefully put his cigar in the ashtray and took another drink. ” You brought a very special gift with you when you were birthed into this world. Being born with a veil is a mighty powerful blessing. Always see it as such. Always trust it, and never be afraid of whatever it reveals to you. I’m guessing, by the time your first grandchild is born, you’ll clearly know and understand everything your gift is capable of. It grants its possessor unlimited power, but with great power comes great responsibility.”

“I got it. I understand to whom much is given, much is required.” I walked over to him, took his hand in mine, gripped it firmly, and kissed his forehead. “Good night. Rest well. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Making my way toward the door, I turned and asked, “Can I get you anything before I leave?”

He put out his cigar and drank the last corner of whiskey from his jar. “No thanks. Everything I need is here with me now. Now go on downstairs to that beautiful woman of yours and get some rest.”…

For Only A Season – First Day of Summer – (FREE Chapter 9 Excerpt)

June 21, 2000

Summer’s solstice heralded the arrival of summer. It was the one day of the year when the sun was farthest north of the equator, which brought to the south, down here in Alabama at least, blazing humid days and sweltering nights. The only relief we received from the stifling heat was the intermittent rains.

The beautiful buds of spring had blossomed into the beauty known as summer. Life had exploded and matured. Trees once clothed with blooms were now adorned with new, pliable leaves. The grass turned vibrant green, and the buds had opened into brightly colored flowers. It was if Mother Earth herself, after her infancy and adolescence of spring, had matured into a lovely young woman called Summer.

I managed to relax, listen to my heart, and settle into a routine. To stay busy, I oversaw the construction of the winery’s buildings. We had the soil ready to receive vines come autumn’s first frost. When I wasn’t conducting winery business, I either went to the parlor with Blackie and Uncle Clem or ran whatever errands he needed me to. On occasion, I ferried Grammy to order groceries.

Socially, I’d been on a few dates with Dora from Frankie and Doc’s clinic…

For Only A Season – Forgiveness – (FREE Chapter 10 Excerpt)

I replied, “I do Mama, and you’re right. I have forgiven my husband for all of the reasons you named.”

“Good, I’m so happy to hear it. Now as far as your sister is concerned, she made a terrible mistake, one she can’t take back. I need to hear you forgive her. You’ll never be able to get past this, and your heart won’t heal until you do. Do you understand me, Eula Mae? Forgiving her will do you a world, and it will help you more than it will help her. So come on now, I need to hear and see it. I don’t have much time left for this world. I can feel that sweet, sweet chariot swinging low for me now. I need you to do this for me. We all need it.”

Mama’s voice was weak, but she never relented. “You two girls and the tight bond of love y’all have always had for each other are my greatest joy. The two of you are proof that I’ve done something great along my journey. You’ve been my reason for being. Besides seeing the two of you loving each other again, the only thing left for me is to lay my eyes on my beautiful grandchild that’s about to come into this world.”

“You were always the stronger and tougher of the two of you. Your sister’s always looked up to you. I’m not asking you to do this. I need you to. I need you to be the Eula Mae that I know you to be. Now take your butt off your shoulders and forgive your sister.”

“Lula got up and waddled over with tears streaming down her cheeks, her head down, and said, ” I’m so sorry, Eula. Could you please find it in your heart to forgive a jealous fool? It was all my fault, all my doing. I took advantage of Bull. I knew he had way too much to drink and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I made him believe I was you. Please forgive me, please! I miss you so very, very much.”

“Hearing Lula’s apology lightened my heart, and instantly I felt a calming peace wash over me. I put my arms around Lula, kissed her on the cheek, and told her I loved and forgave her. The three of us smiled and shed a few happy tears. I’ll never forget that moment, how great I felt having my sister back. It wasn’t a minute afterward that Lula’s water broke, and she began screaming about the pain of her contractions.”

For Only A Season – Uncle Clem Explains The Correlation Between Us & Seasons – (FREE Book Excerpt)

“Are you okay?” I asked again.

“I’ll be okay. It’s just a part of growing older.” I guess he could see the fear in my eyes and hear the concern in my voice. ” The older you get, the frailer your body grows, I suppose. Besides, at ninety-one years old, I’m well into the winter leg of my journey. My nights outweigh my days, and I hear the sand running faster through my hourglass.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, let’s take the seasons, for example. Couldn’t spring be compared to your early years, from birth to adolescence, when you’re developing your personality and becoming comfortable with your body? When every experience and everything is fresh and new?”

“I’ve never looked at it that way before, but it makes sense.”

“Good, ’cause just like the trees bud and bloom, flowers come to life and everything feels fresh and new, so do we. And isn’t summer comparable to a young adult coming into his own, ready to take life head on, similar to how the buds of a tree become vibrant leaves? Usually, when you’re between your twenties and forties like yourself, the grass is firm, green and growing, and the plants have fully blossomed and matured. And your days and nights are equally as long.”

“But autumn brings about another season of change. The leaves begin to change color and lose their strength, just like your hair begins to change color and you begin to lose strength. Likewise, your vitality gradually fades. During this period of transition, from your fifties and on through your sixties, most folks begin to appreciate each day and the joy it brings.”

“Winter could be compared to reaching the backside of your sixties on into- God willing- your seventies and beyond. It’s a time for reflection on your journey, where you’re still seeking joy and hoping to be a joy to others. Like winter, it’s when your days become shorter and the nights grow longer and colder, where leaves dry up and fall from the tree. Our bodies grow weaker. Our senses fade. Before long, our bodies can no longer sustain us. Our bodies are mortal suits of flesh and bone that our immortal souls wear. Immortality wearing mortality, so to speak.”

For Only a Season – Betrayal – (FREE Chapter 10 Excerpt)

“When we finally made it back home, I went to look in on Bull, and that’s when I saw that Lula was in our bed with Bull! I couldn’t believe my eyes. Of course, what I didn’t know at the time was that Lula was pretending to be me. Your grandpa was so groggy that he just kept saying he thought Lula was me. I never imagined Lula wanted my very own husband for herself. I couldn’t even begin to rationalize what I was feeling at that moment. The utter shock and betrayal at the hands of the two people that I loved the most was almost too much to bear. I almost allowed it to take me to a very dark place.

“I suppose I should have figured it out, though. Whenever I made mention about the poems, notes, and so forth that Bull would give me, Lula hung onto every word and wanted to know every intimate detail about us, if you know what I mean.” Grammy paused to wipe a tear from her cheek. “So I threw her out and moved to another bedroom in the house. I vowed to never speak to her again. As far as I was concerned, I no longer had a sister.”……

For Only A Season (Book Cover) - Charles R. Butts Jr.

For Only A Season | Christian Fiction Novel | – Press Release

As his flight lands, Pollux “Scooter” Flood IV ponders the meaning of the years spent away from his ancestral home in Greensboro, Alabama. His wife and unborn son’s death sent him into a tailspin that led him to interning on a client’s vineyard in Italy and California. On the surface, he’s returning home to establish a vineyard on his family’s farm, but in truth,he longs to reconnect with his roots and his beloved family.

In the terminal, he expects his great uncle Clem to be waiting to drive him home, but is instead met by someone he doesn’t initially recognize. When Frankie introduces herself, Scooter can scarcely believe that this confident, beautiful woman is the gawky, tomboyish teenager he once knew and is equally delighted to see that Greensboro and its friendly citizens have remained unchanged during his absence.

As happy as Scooter is to be home, he still mourns his wife and son. Even immersed in work, he can’t let go of his wife’s ghost. His visions of her are so detailed, they seem real. When he shares this with Uncle Clem, he’s told his visions are indeed a reality. Like his grandfather, and his grandfather before him, Scooter possesses the ability to see and speak with the dead. It is this gift that has kept the Floods so connected to their ancestors and will aid Scooter in more ways than he can imagine, should he learn to use it properly.

For Only A Season is a story about love and the long road back from loss. It’s a story about the weight of responsibility we carry from our ancestors, and the honor such weight can bring. It’s a story about the seasons of our mortal lives and our eternal journey as immortal spirits, destined to learn, grow and ultimately return to God.

SPIRITUAL THOUGHT – Immortality Wearing Mortality

We’re immortal spirits born into this world for a mortal journey! We choose to come here, forget our infinite wisdom in order to know life experientially. We follow the voice of the fragment of God that dwells within the heart of every being. He grants us free will in order to grow, know, live, laugh, seek, love and experience all mortality has to offer. My novel “For Only a Season” touches on this powerful truth. We come to this world as immortal spirits wearing mortal bodies guided by God hoping to remember who we truly are, before ultimately returning home to Him.