Cleaning out old computer files can be illuminating. The words below were the very first ones I wrote for Dancing Priest, circa 2005. They did not make it into the final publication. But they do give a small glimpse into the sequel, and beyond.
Transcript - From Interview 1 JZK-H
…ridiculous. And I’ve agreed to talk to you about this only because there’s so much foolishness about Dad and Sarah, and what did and didn’t really happen. Here’s another example – the so-called miracle healings. Total, absolute nonsense. There weren’t any miracle healings. But the legend did start in a sand of truth. Dad saved Uncle Robbie’s life at the Olympics in
, but the only miracle was that Dad had the presence of mind to press his hand against a bleeding head wound. No, he wasn’t a real uncle, but so many of Dad’s and Sarah’s friends were so close to the family that we called just about everybody an uncle or an aunt. That’s why the accounts get so confusing at times. Athens
But Dad did create miracles – the natural, earthly sort, the ones that come of perseverance, hard work and a lot of love.
I was one of his miracles, I think. Yes, you don’t have to ask, I’ve heard the stories and rumors that Dad was really my natural father. Another bit of nonsense. I was 8 years old when my mother and I first laid eyes on him. And Dad was 15 when I was born an ocean and continent away from
. But I was one of his natural miracles all the same, and that’s a part of this story. Scotland
We’re starting this off badly. You said you worked weeks on the outline for this, to try to tell the story factually, methodically and chronologically. Isn’t that what you said? That appealed to me, because that’s how my military-trained mind organizes everything. But like everything else connected to Dad and Sarah, I suppose, love trumps method and the grand plan. Memories don’t happen chronologically. Stories don’t either. And I think the same is true for the lives we live. Life really isn’t a chronology.
[Tape Inaudible] …miss them. I see a bicyclist riding down the street and immediately think of Dad in his jersey and spandex shorts, racing like the wind. How he could ride the bike. That’s how everyone first knew him, you know, the Olympic cyclist who became a hero. He taught me to ride the bike, too, in that little park not far from the church in
, the same park where the shooting happened. He taught us all to bike, in fact. There is a photo of all of us biking in a line – Dad, Hank, the twins, Tommy Mike, and then me bringing up the rear. It was one of Sarah’s favorite photos; they used it for the Christmas card that year. I must have been 18 or 19 at the time, I think it was right before I went into the RAF, and Hank would have been 9 or 10, the twins two years behind Hank and Tommy Mike two years behind them. Jason never got into biking; I kept telling him what he was missing, but he wasn’t interested; he was a runner. And you’ll need to ask him how he became a runner. San Francisco
And you’ve seen Sarah’s paintings, or most of them. Incredible, aren’t they? That show a while back at the Tate was something; it set attendance records for any art museum in the world. You saw it? Then you know. Sarah would have been overwhelmed by it; Dad would have stood there, just grinning like he knew this would happen because she was so good. Jason wrote the catalog for it, I hear it’s already become a collector’s item. And Jason could speak to her art better than anyone; he’d watched her create a lot of it. And aside from being Dad’s wife, she was a great artist. She was considered good before she and Dad married, before all of what came after.
Some of their stories have disappeared, you know. Likely most of them. And while I can give an educated guess about a lot of things, the plain fact is I’ll never know for sure. None of us will. We all have a piece of them and even putting all of our pieces together won’t give you the whole picture. And so we have to imagine what may have been, and likely was, and you’ll just have to be content with that. And I’ll tell you when I do that. Ultimately, though, we all have to imagine most things about them, to grasp what’s true. We can’t relive their lives. Yet the imagining makes it more special in a way, don’t you think? The imagining makes it more real.
But if you start with two known facts – Dad and Sarah loved each other and they loved God – you can’t go far wrong. That’s where their story centers, from the beginning.
And their story begins with cancer. Most of that beginning has to be imagined, because we’ll never know really what attracted Dad’s birth parents to each other. We have less of them than anyone else in this whole story, yet they were the ones, you might say, who started it all.