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Chapter Twenty-one
Changes in the Wind

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
~ Proverbs 13:12 ~

Just like her father before her, Charlie woke up the morning after her conversion, excited. Now that she was saved, Charlie felt sure that everything would be all right; she would take care of her Daddy, fix the meals, clean the house, and do whatever else that needed to be done. She was positively glowing with hope. But before she had opportunity to share this good news with her father, the happiness of the morning was abruptly extinguished: for the first time, Chuck was unable to finish dressing himself.

"I'm here," Charlie said, soothingly, sitting her father down on the edge of the bed, and tenderly guiding his feet to the correct pant legs. Charlie wondered if she was dreaming-- maybe she was still asleep. Surely, this wasn't really happening! Charlie slipped Chuck's feet into the shoes and carefully tied the laces. Concerned, Vera hovered nearby, trying to help where Charlie would let her, for the girl was determined to care for him, by herself.

Chuck fretfully studied his shoelaces after Charlie had finished tying them, struggling to understand why he was unable to do it himself. The simple act that he had done for years without any thought, had suddenly eluded him. His face was flushed with frustration.

When Charlie looked into his eyes, she could see the depth of Chuck's confusion. It pained her deeply to see her own father so helpless.

Before they ate breakfast, Charlie said a prayer at the table, in the hopes that her father would notice. In her entire life, she had never prayed before eating. However, much to her disappointment, Chuck seemed oblivious of his daughter's sudden change of heart. The Alzheimer's Disease was doing this! It certainly didn't seem like the Daddy she knew.

This breakfast was unlike any other Charlie had known before. Chuck repeatedly asked for the salt and pepper shakers, each time forgetting that he had already used it. By the time Charlie successfully snatched the shakers from off the table without her father's notice, Chuck's eggs were inedible.

It was such a simple task; that's probably why it was so frustrating to Chuck. By the time he remembered that Christians should not frustrate the grace of God, he would become agitated that he had forgotten, and so on. Unless some outside influence interrupted this cycle, Chuck would continue to be confused and flustered.

Now was not the right time to share the news of her salvation. How could she, when she wasn't even sure that he was following the little that was said?

The fifteen-year old was astonished at how quickly her father's disease was progressing.

"Tomorrow will be better," assured Vera. "In the early stages, Arnold had more good days than bad. When he did experience an off day, the day after was usually a little better. Take heart, Pumpkin."

Charlie wanted to cry. She had hoped things would be easier, now that she was a Christian. But, instead of getting easier, it was becoming harder. Why? Why was her father so much worse today? Even the smallest things were unbelievably tedious. Charlie found herself repeating answers, over and over, even more than was usual.

"I don't think he's even trying!" lamented Charlie, appealing to Vera's experience.

"He is trying, Sweetheart," answered Vera. "Life is getting harder for him to cope with."

continued on next page...
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