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THE FINAL STRAW

I was about on my last leg when I finally hit the bars and started drinking myself into oblivion on a daily basis. I would arrive at the bar at 2 p.m. and stay until they closed at 2 a.m.

I never was much of a drinker, but after my 20-year marriage ended, I did not feel there was much of anything to live for. The marriage ended on a bad note, but in the end, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. Not only for myself, but for my ex-wife as well, who I am sure is much happier now living without the man who had to do it all and take care of everybody.

I had always been under the assumption that the duties of a father was to look after his family, to do whatever was necessary to protect them and to make their lives as comfortable as possible, and that is exactly what I did, which was evidently the wrong thing to do.

But the day finally came when I had to put my foot down and refuse to allow drugs to be used in my house, when my stepdaughter came to visit her mother, because she would not come to see us if she could not smoke pot. I finally refused to allow my other stepdaughter to continue to sell herself to old men and to take them for every dollar they had, not to mention cars, Christmas trees and anything else she could get from them for sex.

I refused to associate with my stepson, who kept large pit bull dogs in his house and allowed them to mess all over the new carpets, until it had to be cleaned up with a shovel. Then the carpets and wood floors had to be torn out and replaced.

This type of thing went on for more than 18 years. The end came in May of 1995 after my wife and I separated. She left the house, taking the stepchildren, grandchildren and our son with her. She then took my five credit cards, rented a U-haul truck so they could move to California and then maxed out the remainder of the credit cards leaving me with the $8,000 payments, which led to my filing bankruptcy within a year.

She also returned to the house with the moving van and the police, and was allowed to take anything and everything that she wanted. I refused her nothing, yet she still chose to go to the bank and totally clean out all the accounts. But that was not the final straw. She was a long way away from being done with me.

Several days later, I was visited by the police and told that a complaint had been filed against me for the rape of my 12-year-old granddaughter and that I would have to vacate the house immediately. I was furious and ready to strangle somebody, if I could.

However, one of my other step granddaughters, thank God, talked with the police and told them she overheard her grandma and her own mother discussing a plan on how to get me arrested so they could take the house. I called my son and he told me that my son-in-law had nothing to do with this whole mess, but that he had a gun and was told to use it if I showed up.

The next day, I went to the police station and filed a complaint against my wife and stepdaughter, and asked that they be arrested. When the police arrived at the house where they were staying, they had already skipped town and were headed for California. I tracked them as far as Metter, Georgia, but lost them shortly thereafter, which is probably just as well or I would have spent the remainder of my life in a prison or have been taken to the gas chamber or the electric chair and I tell no lie when I make that statement. Let there be no doubt about that.

I did see my ex-wife in court when she returned for the settlement on the property, as well as the one granddaughter who saved my butt. None of them have ever spoken a word to me in almost six years, but my granddaughter did manage to give me a secret wave in the courtroom and that meant a lot to me.

When it was all over, I ended up with about $6,000 out of a total of $55,000, plus $13,000 of debt.

I have now started a new life and am very lucky to be alive. Five years of drinking seven days a week and pushed into a deep depression, which followed that ordeal for almost six years.

It was a time that brought back many bad memories and a fear of having to return to the streets to survive. A time of once again returning to becoming an orphan with no one to care, including your children, your own flesh and blood. That was 20 years of my life that were lost for no good reason and it is a time that I wish had not occurred at all.

I have to say in all honesty that my fifth wife was a very good woman and has a very kind heart. She sits today, living with those same irresponsible children, moving from one state to another and has absolutely nothing left to show for all the hard work that she and I accomplished together in all those years.

This is a woman who stood beside me through my battle with cancer and in spite of our differences I will always have the highest respect for her. She is a woman who is very smart, intelligent, good and very kind. Yet she could have accomplished so much in her life had she let go of her children and started a real life of her own.



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