is responsible for this?" the pastor
asked. "I can't believe that no one has
taken care of it. I have been getting phone
calls for two days. I didn't know what to
longer than anyone can remember the old
Gospel Church atop the hill in Reddington
Valley served as a beacon for those who were
lost. Not just spiritually but even as a land
mark for giving directions.
down Main Street and head toward the
brightest star in the sky. You can't miss it,"
a traveler would hear.
see, on top of the old church steeple was a
big bright star. It was all one piece and
lighted by a huge light bulb. They actually
had placed it up there as part of a Christmas
display and never took it down.
two days ago the bulb burned out. The entire
town was lost without it. It seemed that the
locals were all turned about at night. The
confusion started when someone passing
through happened to stop the mayor to ask for
looked up and pointed to the star. It wasn't
there. Thinking I was facing the wrong way, I
turned around looking for it but couldn't
find it," he said. "I think that
guy is still riding around town."
the phone started ringing at the old Gospel
Church. People wanted to know what happened.
The problem was even the Pastor didn't know.
That star was just always there. He had no
idea who kept it lit or where the light bulbs
were. That is until the phone rang late that
I'm hoping you can help us," the man
said. "This is Chief Robertson. We just
got back from the Delaney house. We found old
Jim Delaney dead. It seems he's been dead
about two days."
sorry. I must tell you that I'm not familiar
with the man," the Pastor said.
"No one seems to be," the Chief
replied. "There are no known relatives
or friends available."
if it's a burial service you are looking for,
I'd be pleased to do it," said the
"That would be great. But there is
something else. I'd like for you to come by
in about an hour if you can. The house is up
the dirt road on Bishop's Hill across the
valley from your church."
be there," he replied. The Pastor
arrived just as Chief Robertson pulled in.
"What is it you wanted me to see, Chief?"
"Come inside. I think you'll need this
they entered the home you could see stacks of
unopened mail along with various books
here, Pastor. I believe this is for you."
There on the mantle of the fireplace was a
box with a small white envelope attached. It
said "From The Star Keeper to The Gospel
note inside it read:
"To whom it may concern:
Back in 1950 my beautiful wife Mildred became
ill. We could not afford to place her in a
home so for her remaining months on this
earth, I took care of her. Before her illness
she attended your church every Sunday. It was
so very frustrating for her not to be able
to once she got sick. But every Sunday I
would position her on the front porch so that
she could see the church across the valley.
It was that Christmas someone placed a star
on the steeple. Every night Mildred would say
her prayers while gazing out at that star. I
had just pushed her chair over to the window
that night. She was barely able to breathe.
As I pulled the shade up I heard her quietly
say, "The star. The star is gone."
As I turned around she slumped over with one
last sigh. The star indeed was not lit that
her burial I approached the Pastor and made a
deal with him. I agreed to keep the star lit
for as long as I am alive as a memorial to my
wife. So many people had loved that image
during the holidays that he agreed to it.
am near my journey's end. The church can sell
my property and all I own in exchange for a
favor. I have provided enough light bulbs in
this box to keep the star lit a few more
years. The key to the church door is inside
this envelope. Please find someone who can
take on the task of keeping the star lit
after my death.
loved my wife so very much. I want that star
to serve as an example of what love can be.
can say you love someone but it is not until
you show it that love is made visible."
did you say he died, Chief?"
"Two days ago according to the coroner."
"That's when the star burned out, Chief."
"Consider it done, Mr. Delaney,"
said the Pastor. "Consider it done!"
Used with permission © Bob Perks.
A special thanks to Bob Perks for use
of his writings.