Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 180

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 180

… P.I. Caraway and Hollywood Goldwyn have hijacked a baggage tow and sprinted through the muddy grass to the crippled plane…

After the smoke clears from around the 27,393 pounds of steel and aluminum, loaded with Crusade props and Jesus freaks, pilot Ace and the other everything are still in one piece. His copilot is passed out and the navigator is face down on the cockpit deck, so he climbs over debris to check on his human cargo.  He finds the good Reverend is already checking on everyone, as is the registered nurse who is in the crusades’ employ.

Happy

The newest member of the revival staff, Willard Libby gives Billy a wave, unable to shake the thought that he brought the trouble with him, like the other improbable events over the past 4 months.

And other than a few loose wits and several severed nerves, the truly injured have but minor issues, none life-threatening.

“Normally I consider applause as inappropriate, but this ain’t Sunday and we ain’t in church!” He raises his hands to God in praise and directs the passengers in very appropriate hand-to-hand (raucous) appreciation.

The ever modest Ace takes a bow while opening the boarding door. There are airport bowpersonnel down on the ground, but they have no way of off-loading the people, seeing they are nosed out into a city street. They need to wait for the ambulances and shuttle buses to make their way, down 63rd Street, then up Central to nearly 55th.

One face, in the concerned throng below, is a familiar one; Constance Caraway is there with arms weighed down by blankets for those in need, but her spirits lifted high by answered prayer. She and Samuel Goldwyn the junior have hijacked a baggage tow and sprinted through the muddy grass to the crippled plane. The neophyte film producer has captured the entire calamity on film and now sets up his equipment for the aftermath.

She is among the first up the stair/ramp when it is placed roughly against the tilted fuselage, protocol be damned, “Excuse me, can I get through with these blankets?”

“You heard the lady,” Captain Bannion is coordinating the unloading of Crusade people, each according to their ambulatory status. At second blush, there are more serious injuries than previously reported, most likely because, to a man and woman, were plain grateful to have survived at all; never mind that sore shoulder or stiff leg.


Constance Caraway P.I.

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 176

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 176

…This is your Captain speaking, on your right you will see the lights of Indianapolis Indiana…

Captain Ace Bannion guides The Blue Ridge Angel on a steady north-northeasterly course out of Kansas City Missouri. At 15,000 feet they encounter turbulence from the outflow of a spring storm rising out of Iowa, but he steers their Douglas Aircraft nimbly to the east.

He is in contact with Midway tower within the first half of the 7:00 PM CST hour and things are looking good for an on-time arrival for this planeload of people jazzed for Jesus.

“This is your Captain speaking. On your right you will see the lights of Indianapolis Indiana. We are 150 miles out of Chicago and can look forward to a balmy evening about 48 degrees with broken overcast. If you are not wearing your seatbelt, please peel yourself off the ceiling and find your seat and then buckle up. These measures are the continuing policies aboard the Blue Ridge Angel, concerning both landings and takeoffs. Thank you”

Safety is a paramount responsibility of the pilot, no matter how the feeling of invulnerability permeates this load of Billy Graham Crusade regulars.

Idiot lightAs the plane descends below the stratocumulus cloud deck at 4000 feet and 50 miles out, it is time to lower the landing gear. As routine as that deployment is, it is not advisable to land without wheels down. There is even an idiot light that goes on should the gear not both drop and lock. No offense Mr. Pilot.

Ace’s copilot is a recent graduate of the Lewis University School of Aviation and is interning in this airliner, which is a far cry from the Cessna that he trained in. He wants to be a commercial airline pilot when he grows up, which started 10 years ago when he was 10 years old.cockpit2

A decade later his dream is going to turn into a nightmare.

“The red light is on Ace,” he alerts the Captain.

What do you mean…” he retracts the gear with a flip of a switch and then flips it on again and again x5.

“It’s not locking Mr. Bannion!”


Constance Caraway P.I.

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“On your right…………..”

Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 171

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 171

 …It’s a gas to see Willard pump Billy with science and Billy filling Willard with some old-time religion…

When you are young, somewhere between newborn and teenager, your mother holds sway over you. When it thunders, she tells you that the angels are bowling. If your drop a fork, you should expect company. See a rainbow, catch the leprechaun and you’ll have a pot of gold. When you bump your noggin or stub your baby toe, it feels like you’re going to die.

Nearly without fail, mom’s words, ‘It’ll be all right honey, let me kiss it and make it all better’, would soothe the wounded soul.

For Constance Caraway and Fanny Renwick adulthood has come a calling and there isn’t a mother alive who can make things better. For more years than either will admit to, they have leaned exclusively on each other, in the good times and the bad. Whether as best friends or business partners, emotional support comes from the other, needing not the likes of an Ace Bannion or a Worth Moore.

But the times they are a changing.

Ace has becomes the man Constance cannot wash out her hair and there is no hiding it. When he calls to tell her that he is flying the Graham plane back to Chicago for an extended layover, she is beside herself with joy. With Billy absorbing an unexpected open date at the Chicago Stadium (sorry L. Dick) and then taking to a Midwest bus tour on this leg of his Crusade, up pops a one month window with an “ace” in hand.

“Is this Willard Libby’s, sweet sixteen party?” code for Libby becoming part of Billy Graham’s Chicago Stadium Crusade, seven days sold out and counting. Sellouts, even though admission is free, determine how long the troupe will stay in any given city.

Greyhound

Midwest Crusade Tour Bus

“You know it. He’s on a Greyhound Scenicruiser to a KC right now, so he can experience a tent revival for himself, so he can get a feel for the workings of how his presentation will fit in with the program as a whole. It’s a gas to see Willard pump Billy with science and Billy filling Willard with some old-time religion.


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Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 157

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 157

…it’s hard to keep a good man down…

Willard Libby himself has agreed to a sum for his part in the upcoming Billy Graham Crusades, apart from the others, with the understanding that he has complete scientific control over his part of the sin-smashing festivities. Even though he is but one of several featured guests, he feels it will be good way to get his message out — not to mention stretching his legs and ending his long disappearing act, i.e. institutionalization, death, funeral and all that good stuff.

He has been patiently and silently biding his time, ever since recovering from the effects of frostbite and catatonia. He continues to gain the strength and conviction to move forward.

“I have a exceedingly great need, one that is becoming ever more important to my ministries,” this imposing man of God from North Carolina has the skill of assessing the talents of people he comes in contact with, encouraging them to use their abilities to further God’s Kingdom.

“Mister Bannion, I won’t beat around the bush… well maybe I will… I am using some of that newspaper money to buy my ministry an airplane, to get me from place to place, including the crusades I have planned for London, England. Not only do I require help in picking one out, but I need someone to fly it. Would that be something that would interest a man like you?”

Ace looks over Constance to get a read from her. He is most comfortable with several thousand feet between his feet and the earth, she knows that. She also realizes that chaining him to the ground is counterintuitive; it’s hard to keep a good man down.

Her loving smile is her answer.

Martin Kamen is a voting member of the group and respects Ace’s freewheeling lifestyle, sticking his thumb way up.

“Reverend Graham, it looks like you found yourself an airplane driver.”


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Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 156

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 156

Chapter Fourteen

 … AND READ ALL OVER

Because of William Randolph Hearst himself and his fondness for a man he never met, the entire Hearst newspaper empire, all 28 papers from across America, are directed to “puff” Billy Graham and his 1949 Los Angeles crusades. Graham didn’t need too much puffing considering that his California alter calls had blossomed from a compact 3 week event to a full 8 week Holy Ghost revival, already making him a national figure. Rare was the day when he didn’t make the front page.

Video footage from these prayer meetings would make their way onto Sunday morning television, meeting the stations’ FCC religious programming mandate and providing shut-ins with a pseudo church service.

Here in 1951, with “The Old Man” of the American free press nearing 91 years old, he is determined to back a cause which has a far-reaching meaningful legacy. Hearst is rich by any measure and diverting several million dollars to a good young man who shares his patriotism and anticommunist views, as well as a passion for the youth of this nation seems like a natural step. So, despite the protestation of son William Jr., the funds are entrusted to a stranger.

Graham does not turn down the money, why would he, when it is being placed in the hands of a good steward. And he doesn’t forget his friends. His Evangelistic Association is now well funded (by a dying billionaire with a guilty conscience as well the gratefully saved plebeians) and he sees the needs of the people at the bottom of the Libby food chain, specifically Constance Caraway’s efforts on his behalf. (Not to mention Martin Kamen who has directed most of his own grant money to pay for CCPI’s services in the first place). So, he places $100,000 dollars of seed money in Caraway’s care, with the caveat that she distributes it fairly amongst her foot soldiers.


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 152

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 152

…Eddie D. has lost a lot of weight, along with most of that quaint enthusiasm which fuels all those stories he relates…

Get well-001Being tastefully prompt is a virtue and at 5:55 PM on this early March evening, three interested parties have meet in the lobby and ride the elevator to the convalescent floor of Saint Anthony Hospital. In the confined privacy of the hydraulic lift, Billy Graham lays out his vision of his latest campaign for convert souls for the sake of Christ. He has lined up an impressive list of champions of the faith, as well as this growing harvest field of scientific substantiation. This young lion of evangelism is well aware that it is the “logical” mind, which must see tangible proof before believing on anything, holds the key to the hearts and minds of the coming generation.

And one thing he knows well is how to assemble crowds, point-in-fact the thousands that are flocking to his Crusades. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has an extensive radio reach in its own right, but it is the support from media giants like William Randolph Hearst that helps push him over the top.

In the course of the lift up to the third floor, Constance and Ace receive the background info for how Willard Libby is going to present his carbon dating truths to the world (The Billy Graham Crusades). It is the fastest way to disseminate what he knows to the widest audience, as opposed to the 300 stuffed shirts and the editors of Popular Science Monthly, his original launching pad.

As for Eddie Dombroski himself, he is pretty much a slave to the ventilator that keeps him breathing and the intravenous tubes that supply his nutrients. He has lost a lot of weight, along with most of that quaint enthusiasm which fuels all those stories he relates. He knows there are people in the room, but cannot focus well enough to interact with them. No stories this day.


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Forever Mastadon


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 148

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 148

… “I want you to be a part of my next crusade.” Billy Graham has his sights set on revival…

 “I want you to be a part of my next crusade.” Without concern or compunction, Billy Graham has his sights set on revival. It has been 45 years since the last “Great Awakening” and considering the troubling direction of the world, the frequency of wars, the coming age of information, moral decay, etc…, the time has come for the next such amassing of God’s people. “I am gathering the world’s most influential leaders in their fields of expertise, and not just the blatantly religious. You, Willard Libby represent perhaps the fittest example of proving the case for Christ; your Carbon-14 findings will rock secular strongholds down to the quick.”

“I am flattered that you would consider me,” Libby’s modest style is what makes him so attractive to Graham, who is not seeking grandstanders, only defenders of the Word. “You are aware that the fantastic people who are working on my behalf (and Martin) believe they are having encounters with the Devil?”

“As a matter of fact, I have spoken to most of them, the CIA guy foremost of those; and I must tell you that it makes me shudder to think how bold Satan has become. But that is what I’m talking about: the world needs to know exactly what they are up against. When asked, 99% of people on Earth don’t believe that Satan exists, which is just the way he wants it.

“And you won’t hear about this stuff on radio news broadcasts or on television either. The truth needs to be told.”

“You can count me in, though the vehicle with which I tell the world about my half-life discoveries is not what I envisioned.”

“We don’t have the plan for our lives; God is the author of the world he has created with His hands, for His great pleasure.”

“When do WE start,” he puts his arm around Martin, anxious to escape his imposed imprisonment.

“Spring is around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere and we are in the process of securing venues for the crusade. We have to expect that the Lord will be sending a million seekers our way, with the hope of attracting a billion more!”

“I am into large-scale thinking, but you best leave the Bible thumping for folks who know what they are talking about.”

“Listen and learn, my friend,” the evangelist exhorts, “your job is to bend the ears of the technological intolerant.”


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Forever Mastadon


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