Author, Linda Heavner Gerald



It is true that I am a relative of Thomas Jefferson which causes a great deal of pride but lately, I have been considering the possibility that I may have another relation of more ancient descent and more holy. This thought is not something which occurred to me suddenly. Considering the events over the past twenty-five years, the randomness of this assumption is most unlikely. Yes, there is indeed something very strange at play here. Is it an aura which surrounds me? Could it be my voice, which is a real contender in my considerations? Maybe my scent? What would cause a group of normal birds to behave so unseemly? Perhaps that is the key. Could the birds all suffer from some sort of mental instability? Forgive the pun but maybe the birds in question were all bird brains? Who knows but it is a unique story.
My tale begins over twenty-five years ago when a friend asked me to join her for a day of sunbathing on the lovely local beach at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. A Carolina blue sky greeted us. Looking up at the sky, I was content to watch the wispy thin layers of white smoky clouds move endlessly past. The warm sun was so relaxing that it was impossible not to dose carelessly on such a day. As I began to turn over so that sunburn may be avoided, I noticed him. Standing only about a yard away, a simple seagull was watching me. Harmless enough, I gave it no thought. After a while, I again raised myself from my incoherent state of sun intoxication to note that what appeared to be the same gull was standing in nearly the same spot; still watching me. This was a little strange but when my friend pointed out the gull’s strange stance and gaze, I agreed that it was more than weird.
“Look at him, he looks like he is in love with you. What did you do to him?” My friend was one of those less than jovial sorts who was very suspicious of even the best of her friends. When I explained that all I had done was enjoy the incredibly perfect day, she groaned loudly. She thought that every man was a victim of some sort of spell which she believed that I cast. That was an interesting suggestion but this was not a man but a small bird. I ignored her comments once again. Yet, I began to watch the bird watch me. He inched his way closer to me. This was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Was he about to attack me? My negative minded friend remarked that he may be rabid. This did not soothe my feelings of despair as others began commenting on the strangeness of the poor bird. Another lady pointed out that the bird was looking at me with looks of love. Quiet laughter was stirring around me. The bird was so close that now he was resting near my foot. He was passive so any fears abated for the time. Still, he moved nearer. Things continued well enough after that. However, I was afraid to move my foot for fear that I may upset my new friend. When a passerby moved a little closer than my protector felt was appropriate, he spread his feathers and charged him. Laughter erupted as everyone agreed that the bird was in love with none other than yours truly. My friend announced that she was embarrassed. She thought that we should quietly leave. Actually enjoying my notoriety, I looked at the bird as I softly commented that I was not dating anyone at the time and he was a very handsome bird. He would make a lovely dinner companion.
Marching away, my friend replied, “You always take things too far. The bird is sick.” After that, I have no recollection except that I felt sorry for the poor guy. Mumbling only to him as I packed up for the day, “I’m really sorry if I did anything to encourage you. I haven’t meant to hurt you.” Sadly, he flew away.
Fast forward about eight years. My husband and I are enjoying cappuccino in Venice. St. Mark’s square is not so busy; it is an off tourist season time. As we enjoy the rare moments of quiet; I spy a lone pigeon yards across the square. I notice that he seems to be looking at me. Repeating the funny story of the seagull to my husband, we watch with disbelief as the pigeon walks very unsteadily towards me. Something is obviously wrong. He looks bloated.
“He is not well.” I proclaim this to my beloved who sadly nods. Closer the ill feathered friend moves until he is near my foot. Feeling a little overwhelmed and perhaps slightly freaky, I change the subject; hoping to make my husband forget my earlier story. When I feel my new friend collapse on my foot, I know that I could not ignore that the bird had chosen me to die beside. This act raises questions in my mind such as is there some strange connection between me and nature? When I embarrassedly reveal my secret, my husband whisks me away. He also fears for my safety from others if they know my strange powers. I have always regretted leaving yet another victim. Surely, we should have given him a proper burial.
Years later, we are now living in Florida. A place which displays endless sunsets of pastel crayoned colored skies. Wildness such as one never images in the hustle and bustle of Florida are ours each day. Bald eagles are a common site. We have a family of the king of birds living near our home. Frequently they stir our hearts by their flight of strength and majesty. We watch the heavens for their sightings. One of the eagles is goliath. His large white head and tail are wide and strong. He soars over our home; our days are richer because of his protective flights. Any snakes that would harm us are in danger. We name him Sampson; a worthy name.
So it was that innocently I would call to him, “Good morning, Sampson.” At first, nothing happened. Quickly his act of avoidance seemed to turn to one of curiosity. He began to fly over the house a little more frequently. Waiting on the balcony for his majestic appearance, I would call to him. Soon he would land in the tree near our house. For a very long time, he would sit and watch me. One day as I talked with my son on the mobile phone, I explained that I was in the garden talking with Sampson, my eagle. My appalled son begged me to stop my liaison with “a predator.” He seemed to believe that I may be putting myself in harm’s way. Since I love and respect my son, another victim was left in my wake. Poor Sampson still flies overhead but he ignores my calls. He knows that I am fickle and no longer trusts me. Just as well; my neighbor has mentioned my bizarre behavior of talking to the clouds. Now I talk with God often in my garden so I ignore his looks of worry.
The final episode in my list of quirky bird lore is the one that is now playing out each day. This little Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker is driving me insane. It started innocently enough. Since I frequently study my Florida bird book with matching binoculars, I am aware of his fate. He is an endangered species in our fair state. He is almost as handsome as my warrior, Sampson. This red headed specimen once lived in a dead pine tree months earlier. I watched him frequently from my perch in the window. Often I would see him in the tree in front by the garden. One day, I made the mistake of calling to him. I am a slow learner. The next thing that I knew, he was pecking on our house. The incessant pecking of this bird on hardy board seems absurd. After all, we are speaking of a reinforced wood. If he is looking for insects, they are not there. His next move to my bedroom window seemed more thoughtful although my afternoon naps are constantly disturbed by his pecks of whatever it is he is pecking about. My retirement is not as blissful thanks to my newest amour. When I sit in the swing on the front balcony, he sits in the tree and stares at me. It seems that he is talking to me. My husband asks me to please not encourage another suitor of the feather species. I laugh but am becoming concerned. Then the bird dive bombs my husband’s head. We no longer enjoy our swing. It has become a place of territorial rivalry. My husband wins, of course, but I never should have put him in this position. Daily, my red headed friend pecks. At night, I can hear him as he protects my bedroom in his tree by my window. The only peace which I seem to obtain is when my husband yells angrily at him. This causes him to fly away but he always returns.
My deduction is that St. Francis must have suffered the same sort of admiration and love from his many friends. Did he also suffer from concern at their strange behaviors? If I am related to yet another great person, I am thrilled. My hope is that perhaps these are small miracles that God has given me because he allows these creatures to see something special. Maybe I have a similar quality such as kindness that only one who sees the heart can understand. I hope this is true.

Linda Heavner Gerald
Some of Linda’s other works: Beaufort Betrayal, Rosemary Beach, Will He? Dusty the Island Dog, and Till Heaven Then Forever. All of her books are for sale all over the world.

Linda Heavner Gerald


Thank you, everyone, for your votes. Because of you, I have been voted one of 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. This could never have happened without you. This is my first award as a writer. It means so much. THANK YOU for taking the time to vote. Linda


I have thought a great deal lately about faith. Why can some people believe in something that is not seen with our physical eyes, hear a voice that is not heard by our ears, trust with their life a force that by all physical accounts does not exist? Yet, this has been the case for over two thousand years. Millions have given their life for such a force that they believe so strongly exists.
Count me as one who believes. I am not sure why I find this so easy. There are some that would say it is because I am simple minded; easily swayed. Maybe that makes a good argument. However, when you consider that so many have died, would you not consider that there must be more? Pride is the main reason that so many are unable to believe. Perhaps they consider themselves so intelligent or perhaps it is insecurity that results in the need to appear so intelligent. The label “atheist” is worn by many for that reason, I feel.
There have been so many occurrences in my life to more than convince the skeptic. Here is just one.
The 1999 Cape-Verde hurricane came from Africa with tremendous force when it hit the U.S. causing one of the largest evacuations ever recorded. My husband and I were on our way to visit our home in the Bahamas. The storm was forecasted to hit Florida so we were going to stay at our home out of harm’s way, we thought. Leaving our home in Wilmington, N.C., we anxiously left there with heavy hearts. We arrived in Daytona Beach for a private flight the next day to our beloved home. Floyd surprised everyone by hitting the Bahamas with such devastation that we were told that not a single home remained standing on our beloved island of Abaco. As we deliberated over what to do, we decided to visit a friend’s restaurant in Tarpon Springs, Florida. When in doubt, eat something wonderful, right? I will never forget the drive back to our hotel as word of mass evacuation from Florida thru the Mid-Atlantic States was broadcasted over the radio. There we were going back toward Daytona as thousands were lining the interstate heading away. People were yelling at us to turn around. “You are going the wrong way!” Their shouts were good natured considering the terror that we were about to face but in our sublime “brilliance” we were not too worried. It didn’t matter to us that we were just about the only car heading due East while the rest of Florida was panicking to be delivered from that area. The forecast now was that the massive spinning path of destruction was headed directly for us. The plan was to ride out the storm and then fly over to the devastation awaiting us in our island paradise.
A second night was spent in Daytona as the winds increased and the surf became mountains of swirling waters. What happened next was a complete surprise. The storm skirted Florida and headed directly into the dark waters of Cape Fear, N.C. This was the location of our other home. The one that we had innocently left two days earlier with no idea that one of the largest storms ever recorded was about to do mischief in the Wilmington area. When we awakened the second morning of our forced stay in the hotel, we were amazed to hear that the winds had not been as horrible as anticipated. The fear that night as the few patrons huddled by the hotel television will never be forgotten by the about twenty people who “sweated out” the night.
Coffee by the black box of shocking news was swallowed with the grim reminder that God is in control. All of our plans were about to be shaken for you see, the storm had not only devastated Abaco, Bahamas but Wilmington, N.C. Did we even have one home still standing? My husband and I looked at each other in shock. Eventually, I was able to find a small local plane headed to the Bahamas. I was going to drive back to N.C. My fears were with my husband who was headed for what? Who knew how terrible the news that awaited him might be? Was our beautiful island home devastated? We kissed goodbye and I set out in my car for Wilmington. The storm was lashing that area as I drove directly into hell.
I remember turning off I-95 and listening in amazement as I heard the news that the devastation in the middle of N.C. was totally unplanned. Still, I convinced myself as I drove that things could not be “that” bad. The Highway Patrol cautioned me that I was in danger and should turn back but I seemed to be unable to listen. There was an overwhelming feeling that I had to reach my home. The rest of the story will shock those who know me now because it is so fool hardy. Please take this as a voice of caution. Should you ever find yourself alone in an area just hit by a major hurricane, listen to the voice of reason and turn around for a day or two. Still, I continued down the flooded roads in a place that I barely recognized.
Each road brought another road block with grim faced enforcers telling me to find a place of safety for a few days. I continued on in my trance-like state. Down flooded roads that ended in another block until the light of day was almost gone. Now what? I did not know the area where I found myself. With the small amount of light that remained, I knew that I must find a hotel. Stopping at a convenience store, I asked if there could be a hotel in this isolated and devastated area. The needle on my gas was almost on empty. Truly, I must have been in shock. The store where I stopped did sell gas but I was told that it could run out at any moment by a gentleman eagerly pumping. I tried to hurry the slow machine but it took time to fill my tank but it did fill. When I asked about the possibility of a room, I noticed that people looked at me in pity.
“Lady, I don’t think that you are going to like this place but it is all that we have.” The man giving me directions would not look me in the eye. What was going on now? I followed his directions until I came upon a dilapidated structure. The parking lot was filled with old cars and a “boom box” gyrated music as people danced around before me. This was not acceptable.
“What is going on?” I called to a group of young people who seemed to also be in shock or maybe it was some sort of substance instead.
“A hurricane party!” A voice slurred back to me. The danger light finally was going off in my head. I entered the lobby to see a foreign man smile from behind a bullet proof glass. He happily told me that there weren’t any room.
“Please, I am desperate. There must be something. Please.”
His smile told me that there was but I would be paying dearly for this beautiful experience. He offered me the only remaining suite. I took it. My hands were shaking as he deposited the key into my white, sweaty palm.
In a haze, I walked toward the room as I looked at my beautiful, shinning car amid the heaps of old worn out vehicles. It occurred to me that I would be fortunate if I had tires to greet me but what else was I to do? Entering the room, I was shocked at the unkept state of my home for the night. It was pretty bad. Everything was dingy. The sheets looked as though they had indeed been washed but it was not yesterday. The dead-bolt on the door had been pried off. I had a lock remaining but it was not much. I pushed the abused sofa in front of the door. It would be impossible for anyone to enter since it was now wedged in the corner. My “suite” was named so because it contained a Jacuzzi tub which my foot would not be touching never mind the rest of me. My shower was filthy. I took the fastest shower of my life with at least a fresh bar of soap.
I will never forget that night. Suddenly, I was filled with peace; supernatural peace. Praying I knew that my God was right there beside me. A plan developed in my mind. I listened to every station that I could find. I mapped out the details which they delivered. My map was a mess of lines and configurations as closed roads were announced. Then, I thanked Jesus for being with me. Without a doubt, I knew that I would be fine. There was even a feeling that tomorrow night, I would be in my own bed. I smiled as I turned the light out.
The next morning, I listened again to each station with details of closings and flooding. I walked outside to sunshine and calmness. No birds greeted me but there was beautiful sunshine and blue skies; Carolina Blue skies. My car was untouched. I carried my map as a badge of courage as I entered the sanctuary of my car. The once beautiful life which my husband and I shared was radiant. As I decided which way I should head, for some reason unknown to me, I drove past the entrance to the hotel. There stood a man. He was very handsome in clean jeans and a white shirt. He seemed brilliant. His sandals seemed out of place in all of the nasty waters. I pulled right in front of him and stopped. He looked directly at me with a smile. It was as though he had been waiting.
“Good morning. You headed for Wilmington.”
I could only nod “yes.” I wasn’t sure if he saw my head move but he did. Again, he smiled. “I want you to listen carefully to me. Throw your map away.” How did he know that I had a map? It was crumpled on my seat from overuse. Still, I reasoned that anyone would have a map under these conditions.
His look was calm. He smiled as he instructed me how I should proceed.
“No matter what you hear, follow my instructions and you will arrive home safely. Do you understand?” I did understand. I wanted to yell, “Are you an angel?” I knew the answer.
I smiled and waved. I was on my way. Unafraid, I completed his directions as I watched church steeples float pass me as I crossed roads where no one else ventured. I was in a hell of my own making. The radio stated that the waters had not yet crested but would soon. I drove forward. Miles later, I was so close to Wilmington but then I saw it. My hands violently shook as I realized that up ahead, a road block waited. Now what? The waters were set to crest soon. Already the area where I found myself was severely flooded but in my mind, I saw my angel. As I approached the road block, I saw that someone had moved it. There was just enough room for me to squeeze through. I smiled.
Finally, I was almost there. As I approached the final barrier, another road block. The highway patrolman told me that only people who lived on the island could enter. Did I have proof that I was a resident? I smiled as I handed him my license. He nodded and motioned me through.
As I entered my driveway, I literally got out of the car, dropped to my knees and prayed. The only thing out of place was a garbage can that had been blown into the street. There were a few limbs and leaves but it was heaven to me. My legs were shaking as I entered.
Immediately, I phoned my husband. No phone lines were available. The shaking of the hands started afresh.
After the longest, hottest shower in my history, I felt clean. I waited. All through the night, I prayed for his safety. The next morning, the call which I prayed for came through. Someone had a satellite phone and he was able to reach me but had to talk quickly because there was a line waiting to use the same phone of one of our friends.
“The devastation is massive. Trees down everywhere. It will take years to clean all of this. Are you sitting down?” It must be horrible.
I sat down; looking at my hands, again the shaking. I nodded that I was ready. Almost on cue, he answered as though he had seen my head shake. “Our house it fine. Hardly a branch was destroyed. Around us though, it is really bad. Everyone is coming to our house for a shower. The mess of all of the showers would repulse you but I will get it cleaned up. Just glad that we can offer the locals a cold shower. Love you.” He was gone.
That man dressed in sandals and a white shirt was my angel. Now, maybe he was not sent directly from God or maybe he was. You see, there are angels of every description living amongst us. I have known others; have you?

Casual Author 4

Saturday Blues

My parents divorced the summer of my third year in school. This did not come as a great disappointment. My father was a womanizer and a heavy drinker. The fights between my parents were frequent. We moved that summer into our “own” house. My mother was a hard worker and with my aunt to help her, our new life began.
In many ways, our life was much better. There were no more fights to fear and our little cottage, although not in a really desirable part of town, was better than the house we shared with our father. My brother and I were happy and accustomed to making the best of things. Our life sailed along with an occasional trauma as life goes with all of us.
The summer of my thirteenth year, out of the blue, my father called. Professing his undying love and remorse that he had not called since I was eight years old, he asked for the pleasure of my company for the approaching Saturday morning. Excitement pulsed through my young body. My father actually loved me. All of those years feeling that their problems were somehow caused by me were erased with that one call. He was probably drinking pretty heavily when he called but I didn’t know or care about that. MY FATHER LOVED ME. I decided right then that every Saturday would be spent with my Dad. We would make up for all of the lost days, weeks, months and years in the coming Saturdays. At school, all that I talked about was my upcoming special time. I cancelled my usual time with Kathy, my best friend. She would have to understand that although she had been my companion for years spending each Saturday morning with me, she had been dropped. Our typical Saturday at the local movie and then a banana split were over. Whatever my father had planned would be so much better.
The time passed slowly. My wardrobe was planned down to the ribbon in my hair. That day finally arrived. My mother tried to curb my over zealous attitude. “He probably won’t come.” She would stress that my father was undependable and basically a liar but I knew better. After all of the hurt that he had caused, he wouldn’t dare disappoint me.
An hour before his arrival, I was dressed in my prettiest dress and waited on the front steps with my mother who continued to warn me that I was about to be hurt. I listened to her patiently at first. Sure, she hated him because he had caused so much hurt but that was her problem. He loved me. I remember waiting in the hot sun as mother continued to try to prepare me for disaster. An hour late, he pulled up to the curb as my mom explained that we could go get ice cream later.
“I knew that he would come. You need to believe in him!” Yelling those comments, I ran to the opened door without a hug or kiss to my faithful mom. Dad closed the door and we were off for a few hours of much needed bonding. Little did it matter that he wanted to see a Western movie. Not my favorite for sure but next week, he would probably insist that I see what I liked. After the movie, he treated me to a banana split as he watched with great pride. We laughed and talked so much. The day was everything that I had ever dreamed.
The next week, I excitedly planned his arrival. Just like all of my friends, I had a father. The kids at school quickly tired of hearing about my special day. What was the big deal anyway? Didn’t everybody have a father?
The next Saturday found me dressed in another pretty dress with a new ribbon because dad liked the ribbon in my hair. Again I waited in the hot sun. Mother didn’t join me since she was amazed that he showed last week. I waited for three hours. He never came; not even a phone call with a lie. When my mother tried to get me to go with her for ice cream, I assured her that I was not disappointed. It had always been crystal clear that he was a liar. Now that I had given him a chance, I would never wait for him or make plans with him again.
Quickly, I changed from special clothes to those of play. Pulling the ribbon from my hair, I frowned at my reflection. How gullible could I possibly be? The rest of the afternoon was spent in my swing where I sorted out life’s problems. He never phoned again but I didn’t care. My Saturday’s were spent again with Kathy and life went on as before. Yet, in my heart, I always hoped that someday he may call again.

#writingwithapurpose; that’s me.

Great People

I want to thank all of the people at Word Press who watch over our websites. Word Press has been so supportive. Thank you so much for being vigilant. Linda Heavner Gerald