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A Drive from Heaven

A visit to Dad’s grave on Mom’s birthday gave us an unexpected gift

Bob and Phyllis Chappell and son William Chappell

February 19th, Mom’s birthday. She had only one request for the family. That we all accompany her to the family plot, where my father had been laid to rest a little over a month before. So on an unseasonably warm afternoon, we all gathered around the well-kept plot to pay our respects.

I missed my father so much. It seemed like just yesterday we’d been out on the golf course, playing a round. Up until the day he died, golf had been his passion. “I’m a golfer who practices law on the side,” he’d often joke. In recent years, with his bad back, he’d lost the ability to drive the ball well, but he never missed a putt once he reached the green. I smiled thinking about the time when I swung and missed the ball and he told me, “Praise the Lord. That stroke doesn’t count. Maybe with golf masochists, but not with our merciful Lord. Give it another try.” Even at my age, with kids of my own, my father’s words of encouragement were like gold.

Now I watched as Mom lay flowers on his grave. The rest of the family stood still and silent in a circle around her. Was Dad with us now? Was it true that our souls go to heaven for infinity? Or were memories the only things left? I’m a faithful man, but at that moment, I struggled to find an answer.

Just then, my four-year-old, William, broke away from the circle and ran. I watched, horrified, as he trampled over the manicured plots. “William!” I called. “Come back here!” I was about to go chase him when he stopped about 40 yards away, picked up something from the ground and ran back to us.

“William, it’s disrespectful to run across graves like that,” his grandmother gently scolded.

“I’m sorry,” William said. “But granddaddy told me to.”

“Granddaddy told you what?” my mother asked.

“To get this,” he answered, holding up a golf ball.

There were no golf courses nearby, no mini-golf either. Where did the ball come from? Our only clue was a word, stamped on the front. “Infinity.”

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