Jacob Wingate age 16
My happiest memory was the day I became a Christian. My parents were there. They were so happy for me. They’d waited a long time for it to happen. I was twelve at the time. People think I did it because my dad’s a preacher but that’s not true. I did it because I felt God calling me. Somehow I seem to have messed all of that up now.
My saddest memory is when I had to leave my best friend Bret to move to Florida. I mean we’d grown up together. We had both joined the youth group together. Then one day my dad comes home and says, we’re moving to Florida. It was some little place called Strawberry Ridge. There wasn’t any ridge there, just lots of flat land.
If I had to tell you one thing I don’t want people to find out, it is that I’m a preacher’s kid. When they find out they usually pre-judge me based on my dad’s job. It makes it hard to make friends. Any friends I make are afraid my dad will judge anything they say or do. He probably would too. They find it easier to be friendly at school and stay away from my house.
I would have to say if there was one thing about my personality that stood out it would be my ability to make people laugh. It doesn’t matter what the situation is they always laugh at my jokes or I can get them to laugh if they are in a bad mood. If my best friend (the one I had in Beardstown) had to describe me he’d say I was the best looking kid in school. Just kidding. He would describe me as a shaggy headed or mop-top kind of guy. I keep my hair like this to bug my dad. It is the only thing I feel I have control over.
Very few things bug me except my dad constantly yelling at me and putting me down. I figure that is just my life, being the kid of a preacher. You know I have all of these high standards, (his) I have to live up to. My mom bugs me when she flits around treating me like I’m some little kid that has to be protected from my dad. I know she loves me but she needs to just drop it. It will all have to come to a head between us in the future anyway.
If I had to tell you one thing I’m afraid of it is doing something so wrong that God won’t forgive me and I’ll go to hell. You thought I was going to say I was afraid of my dad didn’t you?
You should see my bedroom. It’s just ordinary. I don’t have any sorts trophies or anything because I got yanked from the football team to move down here. I have a guitar and a banjo on my wall across from my bed. I also have one wall that is full of bookshelves and books. I love to read. It has always been the way I escaped from my dad and his harsh words. I could open a book and be somewhere else for a little while.
I have to tell you about the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me. I went on my first date with this girl I had liked for about two years. My girlfriend and I parked along the river and we were making out. My dad had been invited by one of the church members to do a ride along with him. He was a cop. Well they saw this car parked along the river and two heads inside and decided to stop and tell the occupants to move along. Who pops up at the window? My dad. Needless to say that was the last time the girl went out with me. My dad made such a big deal about it.
I know none of us are perfect. I would like to have a house that was out in the woods somewhere and not connected to the church in any way. I’m not allowed to have a pet. My dad doesn’t see any reason for one. I’d love to at least have a salt water tank full of fishes from the coral reef. Then when my dad was being a jerk I could sit in my room and watch them swim. It would be so calming. The only other thing I do to calm me is play my guitar. If I could have any talent I wanted I would want it to be the ability to play my guitar and banjo really well. Lessons would probably help. My dad says they are too expensive and if God wanted me to have the talent to play he’d give it to me.
I guess if I had to tell you what I really wanted out of life it would be to live my life for me. Not live it for my dad or his church. Not to be judged by his profession. I want the opportunity to be me, whoever that is.
Check back this week for more of my characters.